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Anchorage Mesonet Info

The Mesonet was established in the Anchorage area to supplement an already established network of weather stations located at airports. It consists of a network of weather stations provided by local businesses, fire stations, schools, and private homes. These automated observations are essential to forecasters at the National Weather Service Anchorage Forecast Office, provide a service to the community, as well as offer a unique educational tool to area schools.

The obvious benefits from the Mesonet are evident at the NWS Anchorage Forecast Office every day. Meteorologists are on duty 24 hours a day monitoring weather conditions over our 640,000 square mile forecast area. The Mesonet is an essential part of the local weather watch. Forecasters utilize the network to add understanding to the very complex local weather patterns. Although Anchorage has four airports that report local conditions, the additional weather observations located at area schools, businesses, and private homes help forecasters understand micro scale conditions such as the Turnagain Arm and hillside wind as well as localized cold pockets on clear, calm, winter nights. This knowledge serves as a foundation to making a more accurate forecast taking into account these local effects.

As the Mesonet has expanded to the MatSu Valley and the Kenai Peninsula so has its many uses. In the past, the network of stations in the MatSu Valley has provided state and local agencies critical data regarding the fire potential during the summer months. Two weather elements that are essential to an accurate fire weather forecast are relative humidity and wind measurements. Local observations with these elements provided by the Mesonet will insure the proper agencies can monitor the potential hazard for the surrounding communities. This information will continue to be invaluable to time critical decisions regarding the fire hazard.

The benefit to schools is one of the most important reasons the Mesonet exists. Educators can use the data collected from their stations or sites close by as an educational tool for students. Different elements can be graphed to depict seasonal or diurnal changes and can add valuable visual aids to an educator's lesson plan.

How do I join the mesonet?

Is your weather special? Do you think weather at your house or school is unique to the rest of Anchorage or the Mat-Su Valley? You're probably right! The mesonet was designed to supplement some of the more well-known and older weather observation stations with local stations supplied by private homes, businesses, and schools. As our mesonet continues to grow, we encourage everyone who already has the equipment necessary to share their weather information with us at the Anchorage Forecast Office and in turn help the forecasters make time critical decisions regarding the local weather.

Unfortunately, the National Weather Service can not supply everybody with their own weather equipment. The most important item that you'll need to join the mesonet is a weather station that comes with instruments like a thermometer, anemometer, and a rain gauge. Weather instrument packages can be purchased online for prices ranging from $150 to $1000. There are many manufacturers of these weather stations including Davis Instruments, Peet Brothers, Oregon Scientific, and La Crosse Technology.

If you are interested in purchasing a weather station, be sure to find one that will fit your needs and budget. Also if your goal is to be apart of the Anchorage area mesonet, take into consideration the parameters that we would like to see from your house or business. Temperature and wind speed/direction are the most critical to our weather watching needs. Others that are important and we would like to see as well are relative humidity (calculated from the temperature and dew point), barometric pressure, and precipitation.

If you would like to share your data with us, the weather station will need to be able to communicate to a computer or phone line. Most weather station packages will come with some sort of software that will allow you to do just that. We will help you set up the software so that you will automatically transmit data 24 hours a day to our secure server which will in turn be placed on the mesonet homepage.

The process is relatively simple and we'll be happy to assist in any way we can. Send an email to Dave Stricklan (link at bottom) if you have any questions or are interested in joining.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the mesonet, please email Dave Stricklan


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Anchorage Forecast Office
6930 Sand Lake Road
Anchorage, Ak 99502
(907) 266-5105 M-F/7-5pm
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