BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Albany said New York State's Mesonet is fully operational.

The governor spoke about the weather detection system during a press conference in Buffalo last week.

"It is night and day, our systems today from even five, seven years ago," Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, said.

There are 180 stations across New York. The sites are spaced roughly 19 miles apart across the state.

"Give an idea of what might be coming down, just an hour or two down the road. So it's useful in that respect," NWS meteorologist David Zaff said.

The system doesn't replace the National Weather Service in New York but works to compliment it. The data collected at the sites is readily available to the federal agency essentially providing a real-time look at the conditions in different parts of the state.

"Anytime you add an observation site, it's providing more information that will help us figure out exactly what's going on in any given place. In particular, one of the things we really like about it are the web cams that are available," Zaff said.

The weather service, utilizing technology like satellites, was able to forecast last week's winter storm in Western New York about a week before it hit. Mesonet does not provide that kind of information but Zaff said it was useful when the storm hit.
"They have some snow sensors to keep an eye on snow levels," he said. "Those are particularly useful. The wind speed, wind gusts are fantastic. The temperature sensors. You know, the typical things that you might call weather. Those are what we need and those are what we're watching."

The cooperative relationship is interesting, considering the governor criticized the National Weather Service forecast when seven feet of snow fell on Buffalo in 2014. At the same time he was launching the state service.

 "I made a mistake in one storm on commenting on the inaccuracy of a weather forecast and I was bombarded by weather forecasters across the country, so I'm not going to do that again," Cuomo said.