New weather station benefits ag, aviation and public safety
Aviation, agriculture and public safety got a boost recently when a new weather station went online at East Kansas City Airport in Jackson County.
The station is the newest of 45 Missouri Mesonet weather stations operated by University of Missouri Extension and the MU College of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources. It is a collaboration with the Pleasant Hill National Weather Service office and one of four sites co-sponsored by Lincoln University.
The weather station updates every five minutes with airport weather, including wind velocity and gusts, as well as forecasts.
The web and mobile versions help pilots of the 150 airplanes at the Grain Valley airport make sound flight decisions, says Dan Williams, a pilot and airport manager. “We thought it would be a great opportunity for the East Kansas City Airport to support MU Extension’s mission to support the farming community,” says Williams.
The real-time tools and services aid farmers and agricultural businesses in making decisions in their daily crop and livestock operations, says John Travlos, co-director of Missouri Mesonet.
“The weather station helps the agricultural community get timely information for planting, spraying and a myriad of other on-farm decisions.” says Travlos.
The Grain Valley location also fills a gap in the Kansas City-area reporting system.
“This location was chosen to improve the spatial coverage of weather observations in west-central Missouri, and the Grain Valley location is approximately 30 miles closer to downtown Kansas City than any previous station,” says Zack Leasor, MU Extension state climatologist and director of Missouri Climate Center.
In addition to the aviation and agriculture communities, the weather station also provides a valuable service to improve the safety of area residents, says Leasor.
“Weather data from the Mesonet are available to the public and provide valuable observations for weather forecasting and research,” he says. “The weather data from the Grain Valley location will help to keep communities safe and provide critical information for decision-making during severe weather, flooding and drought events.”
Ryan Cutter, observation program leader with the National Weather Service, says the new station gives meteorologists like himself another set of high-quality data to make forecasts and record historical data. The weather station gives continuous information that complements weather observations and precipitation reports he receives daily from citizen scientists.
Missouri Mesonet weather stations now serve 32 counties.
Access real-time data from the new weather station at http://agebb.missouri.edu/weather/realtime/grainvalley.asp.
For other Missouri Mesonet stations, visit http://agebb.missouri.edu/weather/stations.