MARSHALL CO. — In just a few months, Marshall County residents will be able to access real-time local weather information from their home computers.
Marshall County Emergency Management Agency director Clyde Avery will be using Indiana Department of Homeland Security grant money to purchase weather station equipment for use by the EMA office and the general public.
“The closest weather station is in Starke County, and that’s where we get our National Weather Service information from,” said Avery in an interview Wednesday.
Avery sends NWS weather alerts to Marshall County residents using the text message and web-based Nixle system. With the new weather station, he will be able to get local weather information quicker.
“A lot of the issues that we deal with in emergency management that can cause problems for the community are weather-related,” said Avery. “We could have used this equipment in situations such as tornados and flooding that occurred several years ago, as well as in the blizzard of 2011.”
Avery said that he does not have the authority to issue NWS weather warnings, but he has notified the NWS that Marshall County will soon have the new equipment.
“They could have that information available to them, and they can make the decision of what they want to do with that information,” said Avery.
Part of the equipment includes a point, tilt, and zoom camera that will allow Avery to monitor the severity of storms on the way to the Marshall County area. Avery also said that equipment will include a rain gauge.
Once the station is set up, which Avery expects could be shortly after the first of the year, county residents will be able to access the data online. Funding for this is possible through a $4,054 IDOH grant that the EMA department received by exceeding the number of performance points in 2011.
In addition to the weather station, Avery will also use the grant money for educational materials.