NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Earlier this week in Texas, we saw the severe flooding in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, where over fifteen inches of rain fell in some sections.
During the event, the National Weather Service and emergency management officials in Dallas were able to monitor over 50 rain gauges that gave readings every fifteen minutes — a great help with issuing warnings and pinpointing where rescue operations may have been needed.
So, wouldn’t it be nice if Nashville had a system like that?
Well, there are some professors at Tennessee State and East Tennessee State that are working on that.
“We are proposing through a Department of Energy grant to build what we would call a ‘micro-net,’ a series of weather stations in Davidson County to drastically improve our flood monitoring capabilities,” explained Dr. Andrew Joyner, ETSU Professor and Tennessee State Climatologist.
“We don’t need to have a national and global view,” added Dr. Jianwei Lei, TSU Associate Professor Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “That’s a large scale. Helpful, but we want to benefit the Nashville residents.”
Kentucky has a statewide “mesonet” that was instrumental in warnings for the recent flooding there.
“With the flooding in eastern Kentucky, they were getting five-minute data,” Dr. Joyner said. “They were sending that to the National Weather Service who then could use that to more specifically create their warnings, say ‘this specific road at this specific area.'”
Dr. Lei feels that this project will also help bring many experts together.
“In our proposal, we have five or six local organizations and government agencies,” Dr. Lei said. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity if we are selected. We can do a fantastic job together for the city.”
He also feels that research from the data this new network would bring would benefit many minorities who live in underprivileged areas.
“As an environmental scientist, I feel that I have the responsibility to take care of the city where I am living, where my children are living,” Dr. Lei exclaimed.
In addition to the real-time usage of the data this system would provide, research will be done with it.
“There will be modeling efforts and things of that nature that Tennessee State and Vanderbilt will be doing, bringing in and ingesting the data that we’ll be collecting with these stations and working with the Army Corps of Engineers and emergency management to better understand the climate risks and flooding risks for Davidson County,” Dr. Joyner explained.
They hope to know whether their grant has been approved for the project by this fall.
Meanwhile, Dr. Joyner is also pushing for a statewide Tennessee mesonet.