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Posted on February 13, 2013

San Luis Obispo County: PG&E Helps Elementary Students Learn About Weather

By Tracy Correa

A roof-top electronic weather station captures wind, rain and other information at Creston Elementary School in San Luis Obispo County. (Photos by Tracy Correa.)

CRESTON – Creston Elementary School now plays an important role in local weather forecasting.

The school has a new, Davis Vantage Vue electronic weather station – including an anemometer, temperature and humidity sensors along with a barometer and rain bucket — on top of the school office for collecting local weather data. The PG&E-funded equipment has turned the school into a weather station that will track information used for developing and distributing local forecasts.

But the weather station also serves another purpose: Teaching students about the science involved in weather. “We are hoping this provokes excitement in science,” said Julie Davis, principal at Creston Elementary School.

On Tuesday (Feb. 12), third- through sixth-grade students at the small, 95-student school celebrated the launch of their weather station with PG&E’s John Lindsey who will be relying on the Creston’s station for weather information. Lindsey, an external communications representative based in San Luis Obispo, writes Weather Watch, a column for The Tribune  and broadcast the PG&E weather forecast on KVEC 920 AM each morning.  Lindsey also issues a Diablo Canyon daily weather forecast emailed to some 5,000 subscribers.

PG&E’s John Lindsey enlists the help of Creston Elementary School student Isaac Medina for an experiment that showed how weather is affected by air pressure.

Lindsey told the students how important the station will be to his forecasts, discussed weather terms and captivated them with hands-on demonstrations to teach them about climatology.

“Is anybody here interested in weather?” Lindsey asked as a show of small hands went up. He talked to the students about atmospheric pressure and even showed them how he could light up a piece of cotton in a glass cylinder with sheer pressure – it was quick flash that generated excitement from the audience gathered in the cafeteria. With a 2-liter soda bottle and a little air pressure, Lindsey also demonstrated cloud formation.

“I think the weather is pretty interesting,” said 11-year-old Lindsay Zillig. She said she’s concerned with how the weather affects the ocean because she wants to be a marine biologist.

Bailey Doherty, 11, said that having a weather station at her school is fun, “Because now we can look and see what the equipment is recording online.”

Creston Elementary School students pose for a photo following a visit from PG&E’s John Lindsey to celebrate the launch of a new PG&E-funded weather station at the school.

PG&E provided $550 to pay for the school’s weather station that includes a console in the school office that is read by students daily and accessed electronically by Lindsey for his weather forecasting.  Another Central Coast school – this one in Big Sur – also will have a PG&E-funded weather station installed soon.

“This is so exciting, the fact that he [Lindsey] will use our information for his forecasts. We are so grateful for the PG&E grant, especially with school budget cuts,” said Davis.

Click here to view data from the Creston Elementary School weather station.

Email Tracy Correa at




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