The Florida Automated Weather Network is bigger than ever, with three new sites added in recent months. Stations added since April are in Citrus, Okeechobee, and Palm Beach counties, said Rick Lusher, manager of the UF/IFAS-based network. That makes 41 stations now in the network, built in 1998 to give the state’s agricultural producers the most current weather information possible.
Using sensors, the network stations collect weather data that’s updated by UF/IFAS every 15 minutes. Network managers at IFAS take data assimilated by the machines and put it on a website for growers to use.
It costs $15,000 to build a new station, according to Lusher. FAWN gets about 30% of its funding from UF and 70% from grants and sponsorships. That money could come from the Florida Department of Agriculture, various water management districts and occasional gifts from a dozen or so trade associations, private companies and individuals.
Lusher said there are no immediate plans to add more FAWN stations, but that can change, depending on funding.