Our Weather Station

Updates

Updates and information regarding our station are posted on our Facebook and Google+ Pages. You can also find our Facebook posts on our Facebook Feed page.

Location

Our weather station is located on Ruby Ave in St. James City, FL, on Henley Canal.

Weather Station Site

Data Quality

Data Quality Checked by CWOP!

Our station is a member of the Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP) and it's data is quality checked by comparing our readings to a predicted value based upon an analysis of the data from other local weather stations. If our values stray too far from this predicted value we are notified. Our current quality status can be viewed by clicking the graphic at the left or by going to CWOP Information for CW3181.

One of the difficulties of ensuring quality data encountered by nearly all personal weather station operators is locating, or siting, the sensors used to gather the data. As with most suburban neighborhoods, our location presents some real siting challenges particularly with regard to taking wind measurements. These challenges include:

  • Height of the house and other surrounding structures such as a covered boat house.
  • Cable length limitations of the equipment itself.
  • Large trees and other vegetation.
  • Aesthetics.

To address the issues affecting wind measurements, our anemometer has been mounted ~25' above ground level. The anemometer and transmitter are mounted using a tripod system, with an 8' mast. The mast is stabilized using guys wires and is mounted on the roof of a boat house on Henley Canal. This mounting system places the anemometer ~10 feet above the peak of the roof it is mounted on.

The main sensor suite (temp, humidity, rain) is located over grass at a height of 7', ~10 feet off of Henley Canal.

Water temperatures are measured in Henley Canal at a depth of ~3' below mean sea level.

Soil temperature and soil moisture sensors are located at a depth 5" below the surface and ~3 feet from the main sensor suite.

Station Hardware

Our hardware consists of the following equipment:
Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 Wireless Console with datalogger

Davis Instruments Integrated Sensor Suite with 24 hour FARS (Fan-Aspirated Radiation Shield) which includes:
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Rain (measured in .01 inch increments)
Davis Instruments Wireless Anemometer transmitter which provides:
  • Wind speed
  • Wind direction
Davis Instruments Wireles Soil Temperature/Moisture station with the following sensors attached:
  • Channel 1 Temp: Water
  • Channel 2 Temp: Soil
  • Channel 2 Moisture: Soil
PC
  • Dell Optiplex 740, 2G RAM
  • Windows XP Pro SP3
  • APC BackUPS RS1500 UPS

Software

Software has been the biggest issue we've had to deal with in setting up our station. It has been impossible to find SW that is stable, provides the level of data that we want, is configurable enough on all levels, and has the right price. To optimize the site, we make use of several different popular weather SW products.

The PC that runs our station is dedicated solely to that purpose. No other applications run on it. Here is our current software setup:

Station Pictures

You can see pictures of our weather station on the Pine Island Weather Facebook Page. We also use our Facebook page to keep our users updated on current weather situations, station downtime, etc.

Additional Credits

The following folks have also contributed to our site:
  • Our Supporters
    Our generous users who donated funds to make our recent station upgrade a reality.
  • Ken True @ Saratoga-Weather.org
    Ken's contributions in the PWS community are approaching legendary status. Ken is just an all around helpful guy and has written a bunch of really nice scripts that I've used as references in my own scripts. In fact I've switched over to some of his scripts because he is always on top of things and gets things working again quickly when the NWS makes changes that impact the scripts. The forecast and advisories are currently handled by Ken's scripts.
  • Tom at carterlake.org
    Tom provided the original php scripts that provide the NWS forecasts and advisories. The scripts have been extensively modified from the originals but none of this would have been possible without his contribution.
  • Dan Masters
    The current site design is based heavily on Dan's Beach House Wordpress Theme. After installing it for my Wx Blog, I decided I liked it enough to redesign the site around the layout and look. The layout is all Dan's with some minor modifications to widen the layout so some of the graphics would fit a bit better. I've also added some stuff, removed some stuff and and tweaked some stuff to meet my specific needs.
  • Kevin Reed at TNET Services, Inc.
    Kevin created the CWOP logos.