TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida is known for its unpredictable weather. Sunny days can turn menacing in an instant. Then there are the afternoons when it's pouring rain and a few streets over, it's bone dry.
"The variations in weather over very short distances make it so there is some value in having a hyper-local source of weather information," explained Ed Mansouri, the owner of Tallahassee-based WeatherSTEM, which makes weather stations that are placed around the country.
The stations pick up wind speed, wind direction, rain rate, temperature, humidity, UV radiation and solar radiation. Mansouri says they also have lightning detection and are capable of updating weather data in an instant.
"Ours is updating at 8/10 of a second. So if the wind changes, you instantly see that," he explained.
WeatherSTEM weather station
The information from these stations informs a variety of decisions, including at sporting events. The stations are used at high school athletic fields and college football stadiums, like Florida State University, the University of Florida, Clemson, and Penn State to keep players and fans safe.
"You are able to see the proximity of lightning to all these systems. How far away, when was the last bolt, and what direction it was," explains Mansouri.
The University of South Florida has one too. The data is used by university researchers and emergency management.
WeatherSTEM weather station at FSU
"We noticed after Hurricane Irma that having available weather data specific to our campus would be incredibly beneficial. It would help us to determine when it was safe for golf carts and vehicles based on wind speed," explained USF director of emergency management Jen Fleischman.
And they're not just for emergencies. The city of Largo has one at each of its six fire stations.
"Helps us to understand the heat index. So we don’t want our fire crews to be training when it’s too hot outside and it gives us a real-time picture of what’s going on around our different locations at our fire stations," said Largo public educator Summer Mahr.
Ed Mansouri says the hyper-local weather information can also be shared with people who live in the area.
"The information from those weather stations drives a website, a mobile app and a whole social media platform that’s used by emergency managers. It’s used for education. It’s used for scientific research," he added.
LINK: To learn more, visit weatherstem.com.
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