MnDOT to add 6 new weather stations across southern Minnesota

A look at what the weather stations look like on the MnDOT 511 webpage.
A look at what the weather stations look like on the MnDOT 511 webpage.(MnDOT 511)
Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 9:36 AM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - There are two seasons in Minnesota, winter and road construction. There are a variety of road projects underway across south central and southwestern Minnesota this year, but one is grabbing the attention of meteorologist. Starting June 21st, 6 new Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) will be installed in Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Martin and Rock counties. RWIS stations can tell you three types of road weather information: atmospheric data, pavement data, and water level data.

Atmospherically the stations can read air temperature and humidity, visibility, wind speed and direction, precipitation type and rate. These are the most common found on RWIS across Minnesota but according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration these systems could have the ability of identifying cloud cover, tornadoes and/or waterspouts, lightning, storm cell and track, as well as air quality.

As for pavement data, the sensors can identify pavement temperature, pavement freezing point, pavement condition, and subsurface conditions. If near a river or lake the system can go a step further gathering water level data.

Each station will also be equipped with a set of cameras to give a visual feedback of ongoing weather conditions and current road conditions. These 6 new stations will allow meteorologists the ability to track day to day weather conditions but also track hazardous weather that could impact travel and communities across southern Minnesota. These new RWIS stations are expected to be completed by the middle of September with another 30 plus stations added statewide by December of 2022.

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