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01/19/2018

Proposed Budget Cuts Could Mean Less Weather Data in Kentucky; What it Means for YOU

Summary:

Kentucky could lose dozens of weather stations that The National Weather Service uses to warn you about things like tornadoes and flash floods. There is a current proposal to cut the $750,000 annual budget for the Kentucky Mesonet at Western Kentucky University.

What is Kentucky Mesonet:

This program includes 69 monitoring stations across the Commonwealth. The automated monitoring stations measure weather conditions every 5 minutes and report the data to meteorologists across Kentucky, including the WDRB Weather Team, The National Weather Service in Louisville and many more.

Meteorologists rely on this system to prepare forecasts day to day, for snow events and for severe weather. It is used to issue any weather warning you can think of: tornado, flash flooding, wind chill, etc. And this would likely impact that process. There are  other weather stations in our area, but they are not considered official, they are not calibrated and therefore the data is not as reliable for warning purposes. 

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What this means for you:

Below is an example of one of our graphics that you have likely seen before with data across various cities and counties in Kentucky. 
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This is what it would look like if the proposed budget cuts to Kentucky Mesonet became a reality. 

Our area would lose almost all of the monitoring stations south of the river. Rural areas of Kentucky would be left with no weather stations and by extension any data. This would include the cities of E-town, Brandenburg, Hardinsburg, Leitchfield, Hodgenville, Munfordville, Campbellsville, Lebanon, Shepherdsville, Shelbyville, La Grange, and Carrollton in Kentucky. And that's just the cities in our viewing area. 

*One thing to note is that Bardstown, E-town, Campbellsville would be able to get an alternate source of data. 

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Rob Rothenburger, a state representative, from Shelby County said he hopes to work with the governor's office to prevent the program from closing. To learn more about Kentucky Mesonet click here. If you have an opinion on this topic, either for or against, you can have it heard by your local and state officials. 

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-Katie McGraw 

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