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How to Make a Mini Weather Station

Updated on June 14, 2013

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.

Copper Weathervanes

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

La Crosse Technology WS-9611U-IT Wireless Sun/Moon Forecast Station with Oscar Outlook
La Crosse Technology WS-9611U-IT Wireless Sun/Moon Forecast Station with Oscar Outlook

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.

Ambient Weather WS-2080 Wireless Home Weather Station
Ambient Weather WS-2080 Wireless Home Weather Station

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.

Weathervane Polished Finish 4.4ft L*W*H 23.6"*18"*53.15"
Weathervane Polished Finish 4.4ft L*W*H 23.6"*18"*53.15"

This is an iconic simple weather forecasting implement. I love functional art.

Making a Copper Weathervane
Making a Copper Weathervane

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.

Ambient Weather WS-1090 Wireless Home Weather Station w/ Data Logging & Atomic Time
Ambient Weather WS-1090 Wireless Home Weather Station w/ Data Logging & Atomic Time

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

My Mini Weather Station
My Mini Weather Station
the rain gauge at the base of the ten foot conduit.
the rain gauge at the base of the ten foot conduit.

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.

my phone
my phone

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.

Simple homemade barometer
Simple homemade barometer

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Cast your vote for Making a Homemade Barometer With the Kids

the bones of cirrus clouds stand out like ribs against the sky - an angel is stretching

John Geddes

Do You Have Any Weather Comments?

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    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      @iamraincrystal: With a mini weather station and a but of learning you can save electricity and your brain and keep the TV turned off.

    • profile image

      storytimesam 4 years ago

      Really enjoyed your info. You did a great job. Thanks for sharing.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 4 years ago from Europe

      I'm thinking of upgrading our 'Oscar' for next winter, we have the basic one, which is great, but the more advanced version looks better.

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 4 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Weather news is one of the main reasons I keep track of daily news. ^_^ Cool lens!

    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      @IMKZRNU2: Thanks. I just remember what I liked when I was a kid.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Very cool!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Great information. Thanks for sharing. SquidAngel blessed, as well! ;-)

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Very nice lens. I love that you included things for kids to do.

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      Great lens. I like watching the skies.

    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      @mbgphoto: You are most welcome. Thanks for visiting

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great topic! I love watching weather, though sometimes I'd prefer to hide under the covers to escape it. I have the Accuweather app on my Kindle Fire and really like it. Oh, and I really want a rooster weathervane! Thanks for all the great information!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 4 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Excellent information...I've always wanted to know more about clouds. thanks.

    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      @Kim Milai: Awesome. Kids learn better when they are having fun. Make it fun for them.

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      This information is great, I'm going to try some out with my kids.

    • ViolaSuSi profile image

      ViolaSuSi 4 years ago

      Useful and helpful tips. Enjoyed reading your lens.

    • JeffVilcinskas profile image

      JeffVilcinskas 4 years ago

      Very cool, this actually looks like a neat project to do with the kids. Thanks for taking the time to create it!

    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      @lisln: Thanks for visiting and commenting. It's always nice to know

    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      @PhilVardy: Thanks. I have always taken an interest. Just knowing empowers you.

    • lisln profile image

      LorLinda 4 years ago from Denver Colorado

      This is so sweet I never knew all this. Very interesting lens thanks for sharing this with us.

    • PhilVardy profile image

      PhilVardy 4 years ago

      Nice lens; more people need to be in tune with their natural surroundings - including climate! Spread the love!