Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the things we're most commonly asked about the Maryland Mesonet project, along with some information we think it's important to share!  Feel free to browse all the questions, or select from one of the general topic sections in the dropdown menu below:

What does "mesoscale" mean?

In meteorology, "mesoscale" refers to weather events ranging from 1 to 150 miles in size. These mesoscale events last anywhere from several minutes to several hours. Thunderstorms, wind gusts, derechos, heat bursts, refreezing, frontal boundaries, and the inside structures of tropical cyclones are all examples of mesoscale weather events.

So a "mesonet" is...?

...a network of automated weather stations built specifically to detect and monitor those mesoscale events, yes! "Mesocale" + "Network" = "Mesonet"

Our mesonet will be made of a set of high quality, closely spaced (~10 miles apart) weather monitoring stations and data collection systems that take samples rapidly (about once every second!) across the state to give a detailed, granular picture of events in real time. This data can then help improve lead time on weather alerts and advance emergency preparedness.

How many mesonets are there in the U.S.?

The country currently has 28 other mesonets! They're especially common in Midwest and Great Plains states, serving as tools for helping predict severe weather in "Tornado Alley."

The National Mesonet Program can be reached via its website ( )

Who are the partners involved in developing our mesonet?

The Maryland Mesonet is a partnership project between the University of Maryland College Park, the Maryland Department of Emergency Management, and the Maryland Environmental Service.

What is the goal of the Maryland Mesonet?

The Maryland Mesonet aims to develop and operate a world-class atmospheric monitoring system to
deliver reliable, timely information to residents and enhance critical public safety decision-making. By doing that, our broader goal is to improve the state's emergency preparedness by improving the regional weather forecast and increasing the lead time for emergency weather preparation.

Example:  If we expect a heavy rainfall event, and we're concerned about potential flooding, we can check our hydrologic sensors in these towers. If they tell us the soil is already saturated and not likely to absorb much more water, then the Maryland Department of Emergency Management can issue a flood alert much more quickly than they could without such precise information.