Ever wonder how and where The Weather Channel gathers its local weather reports?
It’s with the help of people like Melinda Tucker in Waveland and Darryl Melton in Diamondhead who monitor rainfall, temperature and other data with their backyard weather stations and supply the info to The Weather Channel.
“We have approximately 51,000 stations in the United States and close to 200 stations in Mississippi,” said Andria Stark, communications manager. “With our Personal Weather Station Network, we’re able to fill in the reporting gaps between official stations across the globe, allowing us to provide users with the most localized weather information possible. Also, the more data that we ingest, the more accurate our forecasts can be.”
Melinda, an attorney and part-time city prosecutor, got interested in weather watching to help protect her outdoor plants and pipes under her house from freezing.
“I have a huge yard with all kinds of plants and I needed a more accurate temperature reading than I got from the local weather. Dragging plants in freezing temperatures is not my favorite activity,” she said.
She wanted to figure out how the weather at her house compared to what was reported on TV because “a couple of degrees can make a difference in terms of pipes and plants freezing.”
She bought the mid-priced equipment in 2011 and named her station Sadie’s Weather on Jeff Davis after her dog. “I wasn’t sure it was going to work. Now I’m sort of addicted to it,” she said of the rain and wind gauges, barometer and other equipment.
A couple of years ago she decided to hook up her 24/7 weather station to The Weather Channel which also owns WeatherUnderground.
When she’s traveling, she can check the weather in her yard online “and call somebody to bring in my plants.”
Darryl Melton’s Diamondhead East weather station is a source for TV stations in Biloxi and New Orleans. He’s been a weather hobbyist since 1992 when he ran into WWL chief meteorologist Dave Barnes in a mall and introduced himself.
Barnes said he was looking for a weather spotter in Diamondhead and asked Darryl if he was interested. The station sent him a rain gauge and then starting calling every afternoon for a report that was used in the nightly weather segments.
Darryl eventually upgraded to a wireless weather system that automatically checks temperature, rainfall, wind speed and other variables. He has branched out to providing info for the Biloxi TV station, NOAA, the National Weather Service in Slidell and on Facebook where he has built up a following with his twice-a-day weather reports. “People rely on it because a lot of them don’t have time to catch the news. I do have a lot of people follow me really closely during hurricane season,” he said.
The New Orleans native said he’s always been fascinated by the weather and wishes he had more free time to pursue his hobby. “I’m hoping to get more into it when I retire,” he said.
Additional information about The Weather Channel’s Personal Weather Station Network go to www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/overview.asp.
Follow Melinda’s PWS here:
Follow Darryl here: