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SLU Provides KTVI-TV, Area Organizations With Local Weather Data for Detailed Forecasts

SLU's Earth and Atmospheric Science department has partnered with local organizations to provide up-to-the-minute meteorological data to be used for educational purposes. That data is collected from more than 51 sensors throughout Missouri and filtered into a program that can download and present that information in a variety of models. This allows for extremely specific and hyper-local weather data, creating accurate and detailed forecasts for the St. Louis region.

Everybody likes to think they’re an expert on the weather. Saint Louis University is doing their part to ensure that at least some of those people are correct. 

SLU’s Earth and Atmospheric Science department has partnered with local organizations to provide up-to-the-minute meteorological data to be used for educational purposes. That data is collected from more than 51 sensors throughout Missouri and filtered into a program that can download and present that information in a variety of models. This allows for extremely specific and hyper-local weather data, creating accurate and detailed forecasts for the St. Louis region.

A SLU weather sensor sits on a tripod in a field to collect data to share with local organizations.

Saint Louis University has more than 51 weather sensors across Missouri to provide localized, accurate weather data to organizations such as the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Parks Division, Ferguson-Florissant School District's STEAM Academy and KTVI-TV. Photo by Jacob Born. 

“If I'm going to worry about where thunderstorms happen in the Saint Louis metro area, I need to know information about what the weather is like in Saint Louis, not nationwide,” said Bob Pasken, Ph.D., associate professor of meteorology at SLU. “I want information that's local to the Saint Louis metro area. To get this, we have weather stations that we’ve built in areas across the state, where thunderstorms may happen, where heavy rain and high winds may happen. And then we collect that data, input it into SLU’s weather prediction model, and share that information to provide the community with better forecasts.”

Three of those organizations benefiting from the weather data are Missouri Department of Natural Resources Parks Division, Ferguson-Florissant School District’s STEAM Academy and KTVI-TV, commonly known as Fox 2 in St. Louis. 

In an effort to provide the most accurate and up-to-date weather information, KTVI will use SLU’s weather data when creating their weathercasts, both when displaying real-time temperature and precipitation and when forecasting what the region will see in the days ahead. 

STEAM Academy will also have access to this data as a way to grow and cultivate the next generation of weather enthusiasts. By partnering with SLU, STEAM Academy will allow their students to do the work that meteorologists do: deciphering weather data into forecasts, comparing historical data and being able to learn about the extremely varying weather of the region. 

“It's always been a dream of mine to have students be able to work with real data,” said Bob Shaw, a seventh grade teacher at STEAM Academy. “I teach science, climate science and earth and atmospheric sciences. I’ve been really trying to get real data into the students’ hands. They live here, so we want to have data from here. It's nice to have students be able to look at data, interpret data, then do some forecasting as the weather comes across the state, and all of that data be local. We have SLU to thank for that opportunity and we really are grateful.” 

Pasken and his SLU team first started building the data collectors in 2008 and ever since then, have been eager to share weather information with those who wish to use it for educational purposes. 

“This is a community service project,” Pasken said. “If I can do something for the community by providing them with a better quality forecast or more information to make better decisions, I'm all for it. It's Saint Louis University's mission of higher purpose, greater good.” 

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