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COVID-19 Updates: Stay Informed

South Dakota Mesonet Weather Network Remains Operational During COVID-19 Pandemic

South Dakota Mesonet weather and soil station locations
South Dakota Mesonet weather and soil station locations.

The South Dakota Mesonet weather network and its website, mesonet.sdstate.edu, continues to provide South Dakotans with crucial weather information during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Dakota Mesonet is considered critical infrastructure for two reasons, explains South Dakota Mesonet Director Nathan Edwards. "A very visible role of the South Dakota Mesonet is the delivery of real-time data to the National Weather Service to improve forecasts and warnings,” said Edwards.

The weather system serves as a resource for flood forecasting, drought assessment, severe weather warnings and other purposes.

“South Dakota's Mesonet plays a vital role in our ability to monitor ever-changing weather conditions,” said James Scarlett, National Weather Service Meteorologist in Charge in Aberdeen, South Dakota. “The availability of this data in real-time is critical to our mission to issue forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property. The South Dakota Mesonet data plays an even more important role as we move into the upcoming severe weather season.” 

The South Dakota Mesonet is also considered critical infrastructure for its role in supporting the state’s agriculture industry. As the state’s agricultural weather network, the South Dakota Mesonet is adhering to presidential guidance that places special responsibility on those in the food supply chain.

“Whether it’s our soil temperature map, the Livestock Stress Tool or the Spray Tool, we are dedicated to continuing our support of South Dakota agriculture as our farmers feed the country during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Edwards.

The South Dakota Mesonet’s Spray Tool has helped the state’s pesticide applicators make the most of limited spray time while at the same time be among the safest in the country.

“The South Dakota Mesonet is essential infrastructure for agriculture, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tom Gere,  Assistant Director of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture Agricultural Services Division. “The tools provided by Nathan Edwards and his team are accessible to every producer when making pesticide applications in South Dakota, for example. Better information available to producers reduces the potential for drift and off target movement of pesticides.”

About the South Dakota Mesonet

The South Dakota Mesonet is the state’s weather network serving the public, agriculture, emergency managers, forecasters and researchers. Operated by South Dakota State University with the support of local station sponsors, the South Dakota Mesonet’s 29 stations report weather and soil conditions every five minutes. Live and archived data reports are available at mesonet.sdstate.edu.