Updated: 08/21/2014 10:24 PM
Created: 08/21/2014 9:47 PM KSTP.com
By: Tim Sherno
A new weather measurement tool will soon include the impact of sunlight on the heat index.
Chris Franks, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, says the new instruments will make it possible to make the strength of sunlight a factor in determining and reporting safety and comfort information.
Franks says the data will be included in heat index formulas, "Seems obvious. An important component would be whether the sun is beating down on you or not, whether it's cloudy. That's a big part of the equation of how warm it feels."
Hennepin County is working on the project with the National Weather Service.
Sarah Stalker, a meteorologist with the Hennepin County, says the data will be valuable and useful.
"Weather is the number one disaster we deal with. If we're going to communicate preparedness to people, we need to give them the information so they can be prepared," she said.
Stalker adds there will be a total of six of the instruments in the county, "A couple in Minneapolis so we can have a good gage down there, we're going to install one at the Minneapolis Airport, we have one here at Chanhassen at the Weather Service, and we'll have one at our office in Medina."
Franks says the installation will not be complete this summer season, but expects the new information will be used in forecasts next summer.