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Oklahoma Mesonet Oral History Project
Welcome to the Oklahoma Mesonet Oral History Project
The Oklahoma Mesonet has become very important in Oklahoma for farmers, storm forecasters, emergency managers, and citizens of the state. The Mesonet officially "went live" in 1994 as a collaborative effort between Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. With at least one weather observation site in each of Oklahoma's seventy-seven counties, the interconnected system records such mesoscale events as thunderstorms and dry lines as well as precipitation measurements. This project aims to help document the history of the Mesonet through the stories of people involved in its development and use. We invite you to explore this web resource and to check back often as new interviews are added.
About the Collection
The year 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of a very successful statewide collaboration, the Oklahoma Mesonet. The Oklahoma Mesonet has been referred to as the "gold standard" for statewide weather and climate networks. The Mesonet system measures a large variety of environmental conditions from numerous sites across Oklahoma and that data is used by a variety of people from farmers to firefighters.
Back in 1987, Oklahoma State University agricultural scientists joined forces with scientists from the University of Oklahoma meteorological community to design the system. In 1990, members from the two universities sought funding for the Oklahoma Mesonet Project from Governor Henry Bellmon, who was known for his interest in agriculture and for his encouragement of collaborative efforts between the state’s institutions of higher learning. With funding from the governor and from each university, the team of scientists set to work and in January of 1994 the Mesonet officially began gathering data.
Today much of the data is accessible through the website www.mesonet.org and many Oklahoma citizens have the Mesonet’s weather app on their cellphones. This oral history project is an effort to document and preserve the history of this excellent example of collaboration.