Elmira, NY(WENY)-- Cornell University is developing and planning a hyperlocal forecasting system meant to improve the response time for rural areas during a winter weather emergency. 

"The rural communities are more vulnerable to extreme weather," Max Zhang said.

Zhang is a professor of mechanical engineering at Cornell University. He is also the lead researcher on a new project aimed at improving rural communities response times during winter storms.

"This specific topic we are working on right now for this pilot phase is how we can monitor and also predict the rural surface temperatures," Zhang explained.

This type of forecasting is called hyperlocal. According to Zhang, this means forecasting on a street-by-street basis. He says this will allow for better planning in rural communities.

"These hyperlocal services can help the highway department prioritize, and have a better decision-making process," Zhang said, "and more real-time response to those winter weather conditions. I think that's where we can make a difference."

Zhang also says that microclimates play a role in hyperlocal weather, making it matter even more.

"We also have microclimates, even within very short ranges. that's why hyperlocal is very important," Zhang said.

Zhang says this is a community-based project, so if anyone has suggestions or ideas, he can be reached at [email protected]