Weather stations to be installed in county

Published 2:28 pm Friday, August 19, 2011

Six weather stations are being installed at various points in the county to give emergency personnel a better idea of the weather during storms.

David Moore, Communications Officer with the Pearl River County Emergency Management office, said the stations were purchased with a $10,500 Homeland Security grant and will be installed at the Amackertown, Cross Roads, Southeast, Henleyfield and Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Departments as well as the Picayune Central Fire Department.

Placement of the stations on the west side of the county is due to the fact that most severe weather systems come from the west, Moore said.

Each weather station will be equipped with a radio transmitter to transmit weather information back to a central point in the county. Those points will be the EOC office in Poplarville, Picayune Fire Station and the jail in Millard, Moore said.

For the most part the weather stations will monitor weather conditions and send information back to those receivers once every 30 minutes. When wind speeds reach 30 miles per hour or more then the stations will begin to transmit every minute, Moore said.

The stations will run off of electricity from each fire station, but when power is out the stations have a battery back up that is good for 24 hours under constant use.

These weather stations will allow the county and any other entity that is interested to keep up with weather situations in the county via an as yet unannounced web site. The information collected by the stations can also be used by the National Weather Service in Slidell, La., Moore said.

Information gathered by the stations will include wind speed and direction, temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure and rainfall amounts, Moore said.

“This is going to provide us with a lot of useful information that we can pass on,” Moore said.

That information could be used by schools to plan bus routes during storms and also give the EOC information they can use to better determine when to activate the severe weather sirens.

All six of the weather stations should be installed within the next six weeks, weather permitting, Moore said.

Moore said as part of the effort to keep informed of weather in the county he is looking for weather spotters, which are citizens in the county who are trained to observe and report severe weather conditions. The time and place for the training will be announced at a later date.