Madison County Going High Tech With Observing Weather

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The old saying goes, "If you don't like the weather here in Texas, wait five minutes and it'll change," and change is coming to Madison County.

The county is adding some equipment that will help residents track incoming severe weather even better.

From heavy rains, to severe drought, extreme weather is a familiar sight in the Brazos Valley.

In coming weeks Madison County residents will be able to keep a closer eye on the skies via the internet as the county installs a $7,600 weather station on top of the county courthouse.

Steve Ervi raises cattle in Madison County and like many here at Standley Feed & Seed, depends on the weather for his livelihood.

"Especially the hay growers and stuff they are constantly on the internet checking weather and if there's rain in the area we've got to know where is it and when's it going to be so we can get the hay baled. Whatever time we get done there," said Ervi.

The new weather station will not only provide real time data from the Madison County Courthouse but will also give a bird's eye view of the area, which could be crucial information during tornado and hurricane season too.

Shelly Butts, the Madison County Emergency Management Coordinator said the weather station will be a part of the WeatherBug network system, which reports conditions from more than 35,000 locations worldwide.

"This will give us an immediate estimate of rainfall. It helps our county judge plan for our burn bans and that sort of thing and helps us to prepare for emergencies period," said Shelly Butts.

Just a few miles west down Highway 21 North Zulch ISD installed a similar system several years ago.

"It's very useful for that tool and some of our science classes use the information that comes off of it for running statistics and stuff like that and weather events and things like that so it comes in really handy," said Jack Dacus, North Zulch ISD Technology Director.

"Yeah it'll benefit us a lot," said Steve Ervi.

The new weather station is expected to be up and running just in time for springtime storms.

Madison County Commissioners are still reviewing the contract and FEMA will perform an environmental and historical preservation review before the final go ahead is given on the project.

A Homeland Security grant is paying for the program.

While the county isn't out any money for the initial setup optional weather analysis software would cost $1,500 a year after a free year trial period ends.