A new Missouri Mesonet weather site is up and running at the North Central Missouri College Barton Farm Campus of Trenton. The site was installed in October through a partnership with the University of Missouri and NCMC.
Department Chair of the NCMC Agriculture Program Rustin Jumps is the Barton Farm Manager and an Agriculture instructor. He says he talked a little more than a year ago with John Travlos with the University of Missouri Extension and Missouri Mesonet.
They wanted to get a weather site going at Trenton, and equipment was purchased. It was intended to be running in April or May 2020 to be used last year by the growing community, but COVID-19 hit.
Travlos explains why the site was installed in October but just went live.
Travlos describes a mesonet as a network of automated weather stations set up on a mesoscale to cover an area. He says there are also microscales and broader scales.
Every weather station in the Missouri Mesonet has basic sensors.
Travlos says the Trenton site also has a precipitation tipping bucket for rain, which is measured from midnight to midnight. It does not measure frozen precipitation.
Jumps says the National Weather Service has access to the information gathered and will use it to track storms and predict the weather.
Travlos explains the Barton Farm Campus was chosen as the location for the weather station because there was not a weather station in Grundy County. There also needed to be an open site to take good wind measurements.
Jumps says having the site at the Barton Farm Campus works well with it being a demonstration site.
Travlos says new sites can cost almost $20,000 to install, and there is maintenance.
Jumps explains he worked with the administration to secure funding through a federal grant program.
Jumps has a budget he can work with to provide funds for yearly maintenance.
Travlos mentions the sites have to be visited at least four times a year. Persons working with the Missouri Mesonet usually visit them 10 to 18 times a year.
NCMC students helped install the Trenton site and will be allowed to help maintain it.
Travlos says the Missouri Mesonet is done without a big budget, and there is no line item from the state. The program’s budget is what it can come up with from grants and partnerships.
Travlos comments that each state has a mesonet of automated weather stations. There are expected to be 42 sites in Missouri by the end of April, which he says is about average for a state.
He notes the coop weather site at the Trenton Water Plant will still operate. That site includes snow depth measurements done by hand.
Jumps and Travlos both say they are excited to have the weather site at the Barton Farm Campus go live to the public.
Information on real-time weather can be viewed for free at this website.