Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
November 28, 2006
DeKalb, Ill. — Just in time for the approaching winter, NIU’s Department of Geography has launched a new weather-related Web site that features reams of local historical weather data as well as real-time conditions at locations on campus and in the DeKalb area.
The NIU Cooperative Weather Station Web site can be found online at http://climate.niu.edu/.
“We expect that this site will be interesting and useful to numerous audiences, including commuters, campus visitors, farmers, business owners and schools officials who have a need for current weather conditions or historical trends,” said Andrew Krmenec, geography chair.
NIU operates another weather Web site, www.weather.niu.edu, which provides current radar, weather bulletins, forecasts and more. Between the two sites, NIU faculty, staff and students who work to gather and produce the information have the weather virtually blanketed.
The new site features four weather stations that provide up-to-the-second information on temperature, humidity, wind chill, wind gusts and precipitation, along with sunset, sunrise, moonset and moonrise data. The stations are located at Stadium Drive and Annie Glidden Road, near First and Taylor streets, at the DeKalb Airport and at Peace Road and Route 23 in Sycamore.
“Since the Stadium Drive station is close to Huskie Stadium, we think it will be a valuable resource for sports fans trying to decide what to wear on game day,” Krmenec said.
The Web site was created to speed up the dissemination of climate and weather information that was already being collected by university meteorologists and students. The National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Site permanently moved from Sycamore to NIU in 1966. Since 1993, students have compiled daily weather data and monthly climate information for the National Weather Service and nearly 100 other users in the community.
“Now users and other interested parties can simply log on to the Web site at their convenience to obtain historical records and current weather information,” said NIU Geography Professor Walker Ashley, who is manager of the Web site. “Since we have four weather stations, you can see how weather varies across the DeKalb region. Sometimes it can be quite substantial.”
Nine NIU meteorology students currently volunteer to gather the raw data.
“It’s not only a service for the community but also a learning experience for the students,” Ashley added. “It’s critical for them as meteorology students to learn where weather observations come from and how these raw data are collected.”