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Campus Gets Weather Station

Brittany Pickett
Around Campus Editor
Photo by Brittany Pickett
Remote Automated Weather Station - Located behind the Science Center, the new Remote Automated Weather Station monitors and records weather around the state of Arkansas.

   The temperature for the University of Arkansas at Monticello read 77 degrees Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. This reading came from the new Remote Automated Weather Station on campus.  

   According to Answers.com, RAWS is a system a network of weather stations run by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and monitored by the National Interagency Fire Center. It mainly serves as a system to observe potential wildfire conditions.  

   Robert McFarland, from the board of registered foresters for Arkansas, began working with the UAM staff in late 2006 to get a RAWS system placed on campus.  

   “The Arkansas Forestry Commission has installed, operates and maintains five identical stations at as many locations in Arkansas,” McFarland said. 

   However, the southwest region of the state presented a gap. To fill it the site would need to meet certain government requirements to qualify for the system. According to McFarland, some of the sites prerequisites included:  

  • Must be government owned property;
  • Located at least 100 feet on the windward side of any roads or parking lots;
  • Located several hundred feet from any irrigated lawns, pastures gardens, lakes, swaps or rivers;
  • Avoid any extensively paved or black-topped areas;
  • Must be at least equal distance as the height from any single tree or structure;
  • Must be a least 10 times distance of the average height from a wall of trees;
  • Avoid any abrupt changes in topography.

   The university grounds met the requirements and in early January, the RAWS was put on campus. Located in the field behind the Science Center, it measures temperature, dew point, relative humidity, wind speed, wind gust and visibility. 

   McFarland said the RAWS station consists of a 20-foot aluminum pole used as a mast and three sets of guide wires that are spread 120 degrees apart and extend 15 feet from the base to hold the mast. A set of enclosed sensor instruments hang from the mast. 

   The station requires no external power; it is self-contained by solar power. The RAWS records the weather information and sends it via satellite transmission to the National Fire Danger Rating System and the National Weather Service. 

   UAM Division of Agriculture Chair and Director of the Southeast Research and Extension Center Kelly Bryant said the Forestry Commission services the system and UAM provides a place to keep it. 

   “We are excited to have such an accurate piece of equipment that is automated,” he said.  

   Anyone with Internet access can view current weather for their region of the state by going to the RAWS site at http://raws.wrh.noaa.gov/roman/.


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ŠThe Voice 2006
10/29/2007 04:51:42 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/organizations/thevoice/4_18/weather.htm