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Your Participation In VA Tech Mesonet Project Can Save Lives

My name is Zach Behl, and I am a Virginia Tech student volunteering for the National Weather Service in Blacksburg. I am a second year Meteorology major with a double minor in GIS & Geography who joined our Mesonet Project in 2019. Simply, our mission is to contact personal weather station owners and ask them if they are willing to share their data with the National Weather Service so we can better predict forecasts in their locality.

Our team started back in the fall of 2018 after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle and brought life-threatening flash flooding to Virginia and the Carolinas. During a heavy rainfall event, many tools that are used by the National Weather Service to predict potential rainfall amounts rely on the ingest of real-time observations from these personal weather stations. Having a greater span of data from different locations in a specific area, allows forecasters to make more accurate decisions when issuing warnings or emergencies to save life and property.

Danville, Virginia, was a prime example during this hurricane because the southwest side of the city got hit with drenching tropical downpours. Luckily, three Mesonet stations that the National Weather Service at access to were in this area and all reported extreme short duration rainfall amounts until power failed throughout the city. Forecasters immediately issued a Flash Flood Emergency and warned areas to the northeast to prepare and get to safety. Those weather stations saved lives during that event and demonstrates are mission in a nutshell.

Zach Behl

So, if you have a personal weather station (PWS) in Greensboro or any surrounding area, connect it! All you have to do is go onto this website and sign up: http://wxqa.com. Your data will automatically be put into our systems afterwards and signing up is free. This will be extremely helpful to the forecasters at the National Weather Service and your data has the potential to save a life! If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected].

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