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Madison County unveils Weathernet to improve storm, tornado warnings

A new weather system is being put in place to provide improved weather detection of severe storms and tornadoes across Madison County.

The Baron Critical Weather Institute High Density Weathernet was unveiled by Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong at a recent news conference. The commission provided funding of $100,000 for equipment to put 14 sensors and cameras across Madison County.

Chairman Strong said the Weathernet is part of an innovative alert system developed in Madison County. “Huntsville and Madison County are leaders in technology throughout the nation. The Baron Critical Weather Institute Weathernet will provide 10 second updates of critical weather information and images of the sky across the county.”

Strong said the institute will benefit many people including the Madison County Emergency Management Agency and Madison County E-911.

STEM programs in 3-D printing at The University of Alabama in Huntsville and The Boys and Girls Clubs of North Alabama are assisting the Baron Institute in production of the sensors and cameras. The network has had substantial usage by first responders during the past two winter events.

The network consists of nine sensor and camera locations: Cummings Research Park, the Huntsville International Airport, Madison, New Hope, Gurley, New Market, Monte Sano, as well as Green Mountain and Rainbow Mountain. An additional five sensor only locations are located throughout Madison County as a part of a cooperative arrangement with Alabama Department of Transportation, Madison County Emergency Management Agency, and Madison County E-911. Huntsville Utilities partnered with the institute in site selection, installation, and maintenance.

The High Density Weathernet is part of the Institute’s effort to develop the Baron Institute Alabama Weathernet across Alabama. Live views of both data and images are available to the public at no cost on www.baroninstitute.com or on the Alabama Safety-Net app.

Bob Baron, CEO of the Baron Institute, said it’s committed to installing at least one sensor for free in each Alabama county. However, it wants other counties to cooperate to create a weather network and help the community really benefit.

“The Weathernet is a continued effort to make sure Madison County has the best technology possible,” said Chairman Dale Strong. “This is about economic development, because when we bring young professionals and new people to the community, we want to give the best tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings that we possibly can. This right here is a nominal investment to make our community a safer place to live.”

Ray Garner is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News.

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