The Baron Critical Weather Institute utilizes two initiatives to achieve its goal of a High Density, Real-time Meso Network: 1) coordinating already available instrumentation units and Webcams, and 2) working cooperatively with current and future partners who install additional instrumentation to “fill in the gaps.” The Institute is deeply grateful for the essential assistance provided by the organizations and agencies identified below.
The Alabama Meso-Net Map, “AL-Meso” depicts progress to date. This map will be continuously updated as more sensors and cameras are added to the network.
The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has made its Road Weather Information Service (RWIS) available to the Institute, and through a cooperative effort, those systems are now reporting data on a minute-by-minute basis. ALDOT has also provided live access to its Webcam network, such as the site that depicts the intersection of Highway 31 and Highway 20 on the north shore of the Tennessee River in Decatur. The Institute has not only added this access, but it also developing time-lapse video of the site.
ASOS (automated surface observation system), Huntsville Executive Airport. The Institute is coordinating minute-by-minute sensor data through a partnership with the FBO (fixed base operator) at Huntsville Executive Airport.
Data from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sites is currently unavailable but there are private ASOS at area airports that the Institute hopes to utilize. Those data updates can sometimes be irregular.
APRSWXNET—The APRSWXNET/Citizen Weather Observer Program is a group of ham radio operators and other private citizens across the country that have volunteered the use of their weather data for education, research and use by interested parties. The APRS IS (automatic position reporting system internet system) collects data transmitted from individual weather stations and forwards the data to a server, which organizes the data and makes it available for forecast systems laboratories at 15-minute intervals. This is identified as “BBOxx” on the Layers key.
Alabama Emergency Management Agency (State EMA)—the Institute has established an excellent partnership with Alabama’s county EMA offices. There will be a statewide effort (beginning in 2021) to install at least one instrumentation unit/camera system in all 67 Alabama counties. We have started by linking existing webcams and sensors, and those noted on the map in Etowah and Colbert counties are examples.
ALDOT’s sensor and cam unit in Moulton (Lawrence County) is a joint effort between ALDOT and the Institute. ALDOT would like to further develop the partnership with the Institute to include additional sensors and cameras on other roadways statewide. The sensor/camera until north of Florence (labeled TT001) is an Institute RWIS unit we are testing.
Huntsville Utilities—has committed to assisting in installing eight sensor/camera systems in Madison County. Those are found: slightly south of the airport in Jetplex Industrial Park; in Madison, along Highway 20; in New Market, and in Gurley. Additional assistance was provided by the Huntsville/Madison County E911 Center with a sensor/camera on Monte Sano Mountain. There are additional sites planned for Keel Mountain and yet-to-be determined sites in norther Madison County. When this pilot program is complete, the Institute expects to display data from 15 locations, with 10-second updating sensors and streaming/time-lapse cameras, which will make Madison County our first high-density county in Alabama.
Marshall County Gas—has purchased two sensor/camera systems for deployment on Wyeth Mountain and near Albertville with plans to add more sensors/cameras in the near future.
Etowah County EMA/911—has purchased 10 sensor units to be paired with the 10 cameras already in place. All will be integrated into the Institute system. This will give Etowah County a total of 12 units and will become our second high-density county.
WeatherFlow, Inc.—is a leader in the private sector weather industry, with more than three decades of experience in applying the latest in observational, modeling and forecasting technology to its clients’ most challenging problems. The Institute and WeatherFlow have an agreement that provides the Institute with use of WeatherFlow’s Tempest sensor pack, a solid-state instrumentation unit which includes rainfall and wind detection.
Alabama Power Company—the Institute