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How to Make a Mini Weather Station
How To Read The Clouds
I have always loved a warm weather day with a bright blue sky. I love trying to find shapes in the clouds. I learned the different types of clouds and what they meant for the upcoming weather early on. It helps knowing the weather, especially here on the western prairies of Canada where "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes" is the common saying.
Now with the term "Global Warming" being passed around so freely, it's good to have an understanding of the weather and see for yourself the changes that are happening, because or in spite of, global warming.
How To Read The Clouds - Types of Clouds
Clouds on a Hill
I remember standing on a hill overlooking a vast wheat field watching the clouds roll in. They were big and black and ugly but they were special. I had ridden my bike for about 5 miles to catch this special moment.
On the right was a beautiful blue sky polka dotted with fluffy white cumulus clouds. On the left was the ugliest set of black cumulonimbus clouds I had ever seen ( except once but that`s a different story). I was standing on the top of the hill watching the rain plow a line through the wheat and I was standing waiting. It came and I could feel the rain in one hand and sun on the other. What an awesome day that was.
Riding back I stopped again in time to see the brightest double rainbow I have ever seen. I have still to this day 40 years later have yet to see a better one.
The most simple weather station instruments is the weather vane. It just tells the direction of the wind. They are found all over the country on top of barns and out buildings. Some simple stamped metal to very elaborate copper works of art.. I love the copper vanes of roosters.
When you learn to read the clouds and know the prevailing winds you are well equipped to forecast the local weather quite easily. It is a beautiful display and I love functional art.
Knowing when the wind is blowing from a certain direction could mean clear skies ahead or storms coming. This type of forecasting relies heavily on experience. Learning the weather takes a little time but it has a lifetime of benefits.
Start with the simple things like knowing the clouds and the prevailing winds of your area. Noticing what clouds bring the rain and what type of clouds foretell a good day to fly a kite is as easy and learning how to read the clouds.
From weather vanes and experience you can graduate to enjoying a full weather station.
Get A Weather Station For Home
Start with something simple with temperature and humidity and a simple graphical display and you'll soon want more. That's a good thing. This one is fun for young kids because the graphic changes clothes depending on the weather. They can see without knowing all the details. With some explaining the details will come together.
I had a weather station like this one for years until a freak accident blew something up that connected with the weather vane and broke it off. I was surprised to find the company would replace the part at a very reasonable cost even years after the warranty ran out. I upgraded my model to one with data logging instead and made sure I mounted the instruments higher this time. I loved this model because I could see the wind speed and it would calculate wind chill which is a must here in Canada.
This is an iconic simple weather forecasting implement. I love functional art.
Learn to make your own. Copper art is easy to do and not as expensive as one would think. And they last getting better with age.
I think this is a good choice for those that wish to track and record the weather locally. The data logging features let you store information on your computer and analyze it there. Take your hobby beyond the weather vane.
My Mini Weather Station
How To Make A Mini Weather Station
My mini weather station detects the wind speed and direction, measures temp (inside and out) as well as humidity (inside and out) and barometric pressure. Using these sensors it displays the stats on a wireless monitor and shows the windchill factor which is so important on the Canadian prairies where the wind is always blowing.
I mounted the anemometer high up on a ten foot piece of 3/4" EMT electrical tubing that I strapped to the railing of the deck and ran the wires down the tubing to the sending unit tucked up out of the weather under the deck.
You can see the rain gauge strapped to the railing as well.
My first unit I just strapped to the side of the railing and a piece of carpeting from the deck blew off during a storm and flew up and snagged one of the arms on the anemometer breaking it. This one I put higher and it give a truer reading of the wind as well.
I just mounted the units as suggested in the manual. Put the batteries in and followed the step by step instructions and instant weather data on the monitor I mounted inside.
Now the only trouble I can foresee is they use the 2.4 GHz signal for wireless and that was the same as the wireless phone system in our house but I upgraded to a better phone system before that runs at 5.4 GHz. The even better phones now run the DECT 6.0 at 1.9 GHZ so that wouldn't interfere with the wireless monitor either.
I was up and running within an hour and most of that time was spent trying to fish the cable down the ten feet of conduit. So don't be put off with a little extra effort to make it safer and clearer for you.
There's an App For That
I use an Android phone so I can only speak from experience for those.
The first weather app I used on my first Android which ran 1.5 was the Weather Channel App. It was fine for the phone but when I moved up to my present phone I changed to AccuWeather for Android 2.2 and above. Well worth the change. With the live wallpaper installed I don't even look at the app half the time.
You can find the AccuWeather App on Google Play Store here.
You can find the Weather Channel App on Google Play Store here.
You can get AccuWeather for iPhone on the iTunes here.
Knowing the weather can tell you the days you may need to take it easier or stocking the pain pills. It is proven that some people are sensitive to the changes in the barometric pressure. I know when it is time to make a chiropractor visit when my hip and knee "feels the weather".
Having a simple barometer will let you know why your "weather knees" are aching.
- mason jar
- large balloon
- soda straw
- glue or tape
- notepaper sized card
- rubber bands
- Cut open a large balloon and loosely stretch it over a wide mouth jar like a mason jar. Use the rubber bands to hold the balloon down tightly sealing the jar. Make sure the rubber is smooth on top.
- Glue or tape the end of a straw to the middle of the balloon. Sit the jar on the window sill or shelf and tape the card up behind.
- On a day that the weather is normal (find a reading from the local weather station or news channel) you can reset the barometer by lifting the balloon to equalize the pressure inside and out.
- Watch the movement over the next few days and mark the highs and lows on the card, using the end of the straw to point at the level.
the bones of cirrus clouds stand out like ribs against the sky - an angel is stretching