Spectrum News 1 meteorologists like Jack Durkin understand the importance of providing an accurate forecast.
“[It’s] not only getting you prepared, knowing what to expect coming forward, but getting you through these potentially dangerous and scary situations,” Durkin said.
The meteorologists work closely with the University at Albany, which operates a data system known as the New York State Mesonet, an advanced early warning weather detection network.
“It's really just a great tool to, across New York State, see what is going on other than just the major cities,” Durkin said.
It's comprised of 126 weather stations, 30-foot towers that measure temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, pressure, precipitation and more.
The data is collected in real-time every five minutes, feeding weather prediction models across the state.
“This is as accurate as you can be. This is a World Meteorological Organization standard,” said UAlbany Mesonet System Director Christopher Thorncroft said.
But this now five-year-old tower located in Belleville, in southern Jefferson County, is a little more special than most. It's one of 17 in the state known as a profiler, meaning it does a few extras, which in this area, includes tracking snow.
“That weather information is very important to get into the hands of decision-makers, be it emergency managers, managers or Department of Transport, for example,” Thorncroft said, adding that hydrologists, farmers, meteorologists and more rely on the system.
Because this profiler sits on the grounds of the Belleville Henderson Central School District, for the fifth anniversary of that tower's completion, there was a little celebration. UAlbany students launched a weather balloon into the sky for students to see and discuss.
“As the weather balloon is rising up, it's collecting data, and that data transmits back to us through the receiver. And right here, we have some of that data coming in in real-time,” UAlbany Student Erik Creighton added, pointing to his computer.