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New S.D. Weather Station Comes Online

Sioux Falls lawn water use is focus of new automated data gathering site.

A new weather station in South Dakota is going to be used to help Sioux Falls reduce the water its residents use to keep their lawns green.

The station, located along South 57th Street in Sioux Falls, is part of a two-station project

"There's not much lawn watering going on now, but this station is in operation, collecting data regularly for anyone to use, anytime," says Dennis Todey, state climatologist for South Dakota. "It's of particular use to people on the south side of Sioux Falls who are farther from the National Weather Service station at the airport."

Todey and fellow SDSU faculty member, professor Todd Trooien, are working with the city on a project funded by USDA. When the second automated station is in place, the two assemblies will help estimate lawn water use.

Using an equation, Todey and his staff can determine lawn water evapotranspiration starting this spring. But since the station is in operation, people can use its data, which is archived on the state climate Web site.

"The project with the city of Sioux Falls will help home owners track lawn water use and provide guidance on lawn watering amounts," says Todey. "The goal is to allow for green lawns while reducing overall water use."

The station -- along with more than 30 others around the state -- collects data every five minutes, including temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, solar radiation and rainfall. Todey said the operating station currently does not collect snowfall data.

"The official data for Sioux Falls is still collected at the airport, but as the city expands, this will help residents on the south side of the city," said Todey. "Sometimes conditions can vary across the city."

The second station will be up and running later in the spring. The exact location of that station still is being determined.

See the state's climate information at the Web site: climate.sdstate.edu/climate_site/climate.htm. To view information from the new station, click on the link in the lower right that reads "Recent automatic station's data."

Source: SDSU AgBio Communications

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