4A.4 Ground-based Hail, Rain, and Wind Sensor Networks Operating in Real-time

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 4:15 PM
Conference Center: Yakima 1 (Washington State Convention Center )
Shane Bussmann, Understory, Inc., Somerville, MA; and K. E. Willmot, E. Hewitt, N. Homeier, and A. Kubicek

Understory builds and deploys internet-connected weather stations that detect hail, rain, wind, and other weather events where the risk to life and property is the greatest – directly at the earth’s surface. Our stations are unique in that they provide real-time, industrial-grade measurements of hail momentum and impact angle. They also measure rainfall, wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, and pressure. Access to our data is free for academic researchers.

In this contribution, we give a high-level overview of the physics behind our technology, the technical capabilities of our stations and the accuracy of our sensors. In particular, we emphasize our unique ability to detect hail. Evidence from laboratory and field experiments demonstrates our success in detecting and measuring hailstone impacts separated by as little as 10 milliseconds. This measurement includes hailstone momentum and angle of impact.

We also discuss our deployment footprint, which currently includes micronets in Kansas City, Dallas, Denver, and St. Louis. Our deployments cover the highest population centers of these metro areas. Stations are spaced every one to five kilometers. Blanketing a metro area in this manner allows us to determine when and where hail fell and thereby assess the potential for hail-related damage from the storm.

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