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New TID weather stations offer more local data

POSTED January 20, 2012 9:04 p.m.

Ask the National Weather Service for the local conditions in Turlock, and you might be surprised what you see.

The nearest NWS-tracked weather station is nearly 15 miles away, at the Modesto City-County Airport.

But now Turlockers have a new option for local weather conditions – a state-of-the-art weather station, installed atop the Turlock Irrigation District's 333 Canal Dr. headquarters.

“You don't get any more local to that,” said Herb Smart, TID spokesman.

The high-tech station records 27 different weather variables, from wind speed to barometric pressure and rainfall. Readings are relayed directly to Earth Networks and its clients – including WeatherBug.com and the NWS – every two seconds.

WeatherBug previously offered Turlockers information from just a Denair Middle School site. In all, Turlock was home to one full-service weather station, installed at Turlock High School and tracked only by Weather Underground.

The Canal Drive station and a new, sister weather station at TID's Don Pedro Reservoir in Le Grange were installed at the end of December as part of a new district initiative, which also includes a weather-tracking website.

“The purpose of the project is to pull together current data and forecasts into one credible location so people have a local weather resource with up-to-date information,” Smart said.

The site, located at ww.tid.org/news-resources/weather/ collects links to both TID weather stations, NWS Doppler radar, forecasts, and other weather information. According to Smart, the links were chosen based on TID analyst's recommendations and customer requests for information.

The information is valuable to all TID customers, Smart said, ranging from farmers looking for rain to urbanites planning weekend getaways. And the data will be invaluable for analysts as well, he said, who can use the information to help manage Don Pedro Reservoir operations and the TID canal system.

Weather data will be viewable both online and in the TID lobby, where a flat-screen monitor rotates displays of the current conditions, Doppler radar, and weather advisories.

Both stations, and a live-streaming high-definition camera currently being installed at Don Pedro, cost the district a one-time $15,000 fee. TID's own information technology and maintenance employees installed the stations.

To reach the Turlock Irrigation District's new weather page, visit www.tid.org/news-resources/weather/

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141

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