First Maryland Mesonet Tower Installed

University of Maryland and state government officials joined Monday to hoist a 30-foot tower into place in a farm field near Ellicott City, Md., activating the first piece of a statewide system that will speed early warnings about the kind of dangerous weather that twice in recent years took lives and destroyed buildings in the city’s historic downtown.

The Maryland Mesonet, a partnership between UMD and the state Department of Emergency Management (MDEM), will feature 75 towers dotting the state at approximately 10-mile intervals and is scheduled for completion next year. Every minute, they’ll send local information on temperature, wind, precipitation, soil moisture and more, augmenting National Weather Service data collection and allowing state emergency personnel to stay abreast of rapidly developing storms.

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