Birmingham Fire Station 2 installs the city’s second weather station

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 23, 2022

 The Birmingham Fire Department has installed a weather station on the roof of Fire Station 2 that helps provide more timely and accurate weather updates.

The Birmingham Fire Department has installed a weather station on the roof of Fire Station 2 that helps provide more timely and accurate weather updates.

Photo provided by the Birmingham Fire Department

BIRMINGHAM — There is now a second weather station in Birmingham that will help monitor updates and trends in weather.

Last year, the Birmingham Fire Department bought a weather station to try out on top of Birmingham Fire Station 1, and Chief Paul Wells said they were happy with the results.

They decided it will be beneficial to add an additional weather station on Birmingham Fire Station 2, which was recently installed.

Both are KestrelMet weather stations that monitor wind, temperature and rainfall, and they cost the city about $1,400 each.

“With recent weather patterns and unprecedented rain events, it is more important than ever to monitor wind, temperature and rain in real time so we can alert residents and track severe weather events,” Birmingham Communications Director Marianne Gamboa said via email.

These weather stations have several features that improve their productivity. For instance, they are battery-powered with a solar panel to charge them.

Since they have their own cellular device, they send Wells the data every 15 minutes. The public is able to see updates on the free Ambient Weather app. Not only can the public see weather updates, but they can view weather data that the weather station has tracked.

Data can be analyzed over the course of a day, a week, a month or a year. Other custom settings are also available.

Wells said he has it set up so that it will text him no matter what time of day or night if it goes over a certain amount of rain per hour. This way he will know the city is getting hit with a lot of water when he is at home.

“It is amazing to get that information in real time,” Wells said. “You can’t get that anywhere else.”

One way the two weather stations have benefited the city already is by identifying the parts of Birmingham that are being hit by a storm the hardest.

As small storms have popped up more and more frequently, Wells said, some areas get hit with a lot more rain than others just a half-mile away.

A recent rainstorm showed that Station 1 and Station 2 had a half-inch difference in rain, even though they are less than two miles apart.

Wells said he also has the system set to alert him when there are high winds. High winds can lead to more calls to the department for certain emergencies. This notification allows him to make calls to bring in more people to work if needed, even if he is not at the station at the time.

“We are just trying to be more prepared,“ Wells said. “We are always trying to do our best for emergency services, and I think this is information that the public can find useful as well.”

Wells reminds the community to stay inside during high winds or any kind of storm event that happens in their area.