The weather in Northeast Ohio can be capricious.
Chardon can get two feet of snow and Mentor, a light dusting. Even within the city of Mentor, the weather can vary. A flash flood in the headlands can be a trickle by the time it reaches farther south.
"Because of our proximity to the lake, we sometimes see strange weather patterns," Mentor City Manager Kenneth Filipiak said.
To better monitor local weather and -- more importantly, to better know how to respond to it -- the city has installed weather stations on the roofs of .
"Because our fire stations are fairly well distributed, it lets us know how the weather is affecting different sections of the city," Filipiak said.
Two of the city's fire houses had satellites for a few years already, Mentor Deputy Fire Chief Robert Searles said. They were the brain children of .
The stations provided information that helped the firefighters decide how to address certain emergencies.
"If we're at a (hazardous materials spill) or a fire, we're going to approach it differently if we know rain is coming or if it's going to be very windy," Searles said.
Searles added that the more local and specific the weather information is, the more helpful it becomes.
"At the beginning of my career, we depended on weather information from Cleveland Hopkins and the circumstances can be very different between there and here," he said.
The Mentor government has since decided that several city department -- not just the firefighters -- can benefit from the weather information. Consequently, these new weather stations provide wireless information that can be shared instantly.
The two older weather stations needed to be upgraded, so the five new stations cost the city about $15,000, Filipiak said.
The city manager also said the weather information will be useful for the city's future plans.
"(They) will help us record data over time," he said. "All of that helps un in the long term with the planning process for the future.