Maryland Mesonet Aims to Bolster State and Local Critical Infrastructure, Preparedness

Partnership Between State of Maryland and University of Maryland Will Build World-Class Atmospheric System of Weather-Observing Towers to Provide Real-Time Monitoring to Improve Responses to Weather-Related Disasters

Governor Larry Hogan announced a groundbreaking partnership between the State of Maryland and the University of Maryland to build and operate the Maryland Mesonet, a state-of-the-art network of 75 weather-observing towers across the state that will provide real-time community-level monitoring and improve situational awareness during rapidly changing weather conditions.

The state has committed $4 million to the Maryland Mesonet, providing state and local emergency management officials with data and analysis to enhance public safety, reduce community risk, and apply for disaster relief programs. It will also provide high-resolution meteorological observations to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, helping improve the regional weather forecast and better protect residents and businesses.

The project will also support the development of mesonet-data-based applications for state and local agencies, the NWS, Maryland school systems, farmers, fishermen, water managers, air-quality monitors, wind and solar energy producers, transportation professionals, and the media.

“This partnership means that Maryland residents and visitors will receive better forecasts and earlier lead time for severe weather warnings, like severe thunderstorms, tornados, and flash floods,” said Maryland Department of Emergency Management Secretary Russ Strickland. “Through continued monitoring, threshold alerting, instant verification, and post-event analysis, the Maryland Mesonet will provide more data to our emergency management team to continually improve planning and processes and set a roadmap for a more weather-resilient Maryland.”

Maryland is one of only five states where emergency management is a department led by a Cabinet-level secretary. As previously reported on Conduit Street, SB 658 established MDEM as a forward-facing, Cabinet-level entity. The bill also transferred the 9-1-1 Board to the Department.

MACo supported the bill, as MDEM is now better able to work directly with county emergency management offices to develop scalable, flexible, and adaptable concepts and better align critical roles and responsibilities when disasters strike. This partnership will ensure the continuity of government in the face of an innumerable number of catastrophic events.

Read Governor Hogan’s press release for more information.