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Alabama Power partners with BCWI to expand weather sensor network for improved forecasting

Alabama Power and the Baron Critical Weather Institute are partnering to create a network of sensors and instrumentation throughout the state to enhance real-time weather data for more comprehensive forecasts.

Weather sensors like these are coming throughout the state thanks to a partnership between Alabama Power and the Baron Critical Weather Institute. (Dennis Washington / Alabama NewsCenter)

The Baron Critical Weather Institute (BCWI) operates world-class instrumentation consisting of webcams and weather data sensors in partnership with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Alabama Department of Transportation and the University of South Alabama.

The result of this partnership is Alabama WeatherNet, a free website available to the public that provides continuously updated data analysis and video as reported from advanced weather instrumentation.

BCWI recognized a partnership with Alabama Power would offer greater access to infrastructure for installing more instrumentation to expand the collection and analysis of real-time weather data for more comprehensive forecasts. The announcement of the partnership comes as government and private sector emergency managers are also recognizing National Preparedness Month.

“This partnership provides us with a wonderful opportunity to enhance safety and reliability for our customers during severe weather,” said Alabama Power engineer Meredith Morgan. “Safety is our No. 1 value, and this innovative weather forecasting system helps us better plan to protect our customers and our crews and maintain the reliable service our customers deserve.”

The instrumentation provides a low-cost, high-density network that focuses on conditions at the boundary level (below 3,000 feet) and tracks changes instantly.

RELATED: Alabama’s innovative weather data network growing

Alabama Power is helping BCWI broaden its network to benefit public safety agencies as well as meteorologists at news outlets. By the end of September, more than 12 additional weather data sites are expected to be installed in Alabama Power’s service territory. By the end of 2022, the company expects to have 30 weather data sites completed.

“Our partnership with Alabama Power is a game-changer for the state in forecasting severe weather and keeping residents safe,” said BCWI President and CEO Bob Baron. “With Alabama Power’s support, we’ll double our instrumentation by year’s end and position Alabama to be a leader in weather instrumentation.”

A tower crew installs a webcam and weather sensor atop an Alabama Power tower in downtown Tuscaloosa in 2021. More sensors are coming throughout the state thanks to a partnership between Alabama Power and the Baron Critical Weather Institute. (Dennis Washington / Alabama NewsCenter)

In addition to helping Alabama communities stay safe, the additional technology will also provide Alabama Power with enhanced weather data to support its mission of providing customers with safe and dependable electric service.

BCWI, a nonprofit organization, was established in 2018 to research how weather affects transportation. It has evolved its focus into world-class instrumentation supporting public safety, educational outreach and economic development.

To see weather data and video from BCWI, visit and click on “View Map.” Download the free Alabama SAF-T-Net on your smartphone for alerts on impending weather risks up to 15 minutes before a storm hits. The app also provides current conditions year-round, forecasts and an easy-to-use weather map with radar, satellite imagery and more.