This week, the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) and the University of Maryland (UMD) proudly unveiled the first of more than 70 Maryland Mesonet towers. The historic event marked a significant step forward in advancing weather prediction and ensuring the safety of Maryland’s residents and visitors.
A Mesonet (mesoscale network) is a network of automated weather observing infrastructure designed to take frequent and reliable atmospheric measurements. The data is transferred wirelessly to a central server, where it can then be displayed on a user-friendly website with visualizations, maps, charts, and archives, as well as disseminated to stakeholders.
The Maryland Mesonet is a collaborative project between MDEM, UMD, Maryland Environmental Service (MES), NWS, and other State agencies to develop and operate a world-class atmospheric monitoring system to deliver reliable, timely information to residents and enhance critical public safety decision-making.
The Maryland Mesonet will provide state and local emergency management officials with data and analysis to enhance public safety, reduce community risk, and apply for disaster relief programs. The Mesonet will also support agricultural, economic, and transportation operations.
“The unveiling of the first Maryland Mesonet Tower signifies a significant stride towards enhancing public safety and protecting Marylanders,” said MDEM Secretary Russ Strickland. “The improved accuracy and lead time for severe weather warnings will be one of the most important benefits for our people. This groundbreaking initiative will revolutionize weather prediction, and I’m proud of the partnership between MDEM and the University of Maryland.”
According to an MDEM press release:
The press event, held at the University of Maryland’s Central Maryland Research and Education Center in Clarksville (Howard County), celebrated a remarkable collaboration and a promising future for weather-related emergency management. The unveiling ceremony featured prominent speakers, including elected officials, who offered their valuable insights and enthusiasm for this transformative project.
“The Mesonet will protect Marylanders from extreme wind and water harm by advancing emergency preparedness and the accuracy of regional weather forecasts. With an active State Climatologist Office and a fully deployed Mesonet soon, the University of Maryland will provide Marylanders insightful information on severe weather and climate variability and change that will benefit the state’s agriculture, tourism and transportation sectors, among others.” – Sumant Nigam, Director of the Maryland Mesonet; Professor and Chair of UMD’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science; Professor in UMD’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center.
A Game Changer for Maryland
- Serving All Corners of the State: The Maryland Mesonet is strategically positioned to impact all regions of the State, particularly underserved communities vulnerable to climate change and sea-level rise.
- Faster, More Accurate Data: The Mesonet provides rapid, precise data for risk communication, ultimately saving lives.
- Data-Based Applications: The project supports the development of Mesonet-data-based applications for State and local agencies, NWS, Maryland’s K-12 education, farmers, fishermen, water managers, air-quality monitors, wind and solar energy producers, transportation professionals, and the media.