The use of weather stations is on the rise. They weren’t this popular, but as times changed and as people became more engaged in outdoorsy activities, the attitude to weather and weather stations changed.
There are two reasons why people do not use weather stations. One, they do not know about them; two, they do not think they are accurate enough. For those who do not know about them, this product review and shopping guide can help, and for those who don’t think weather stations are accurate enough, we have made a list of the best weather stations that you can use at home and even outdoors for none tedious weather operations.
So, if you are on the lookout for where to buy the best weather stations (including the wireless weather stations, solar powered weather stations, Wi-Fi enabled weather station and the best portable weather stations) we may be able to help with that and also inform you on what to look out for when you want to buy one.
How Weather Stations Work
Weather stations are sets of weather measuring instruments that can be installed in the home, office, or most cases in weather centers.
They can be small and portable like a personal weather station, or large for commercial use, but they perform the same functions, with the only difference being the variance in data gathering and the sensors they possess. Depending on the size of the weather station, some hold several instruments which can be used to measure a series of weather parameters.
Most weather stations have instruments like anemometers that measure wind (speed and, direction) and they usually sport other instruments like hygrometers and barometers that can measure pressure and many other factors such as, rainfall, pressure, dew point and relative humidity.
Other weather tools such as thermocouples, probes, and thermistors that measure maximum and minimum amounts of temperature could also be available.
A weather station’s sensors usually work by interacting with the environmental conditions and in the case of a weather station measuring the temperature of an environment. The resistance temperature detector probes (RTD), which are usually made from platinum, measures the electrical resistance, as it increases with every rise in environmental temperature.
This works in tandem with the thermistor and thermocouples which also measure temperature. In the case of the hygrometer, which is used to measure relative humidity, its dielectric polymer layer is water absorbent and causes a change in capacitance, which automatically causes a change in relative humidity that is measurable.
Some weather stations have between one and three cups each placed about 45 degrees from each other and a wind vane. While the wind vane measures direction by pointing in the direction the wind is coming from, the cups measure speeds.
Types of Sensors
Weather meters have different types of standard sensors depending on the physical quantity being measured. These sensors are listed as follows:
- Temperature sensors
Include thermocouples, thermistors, and an RTD probe. A weather station’s thermocouple is made by joining two different substances which are usually metals to create a voltage. The thermistor is usually made of a material which is thermally active to serve as a resistor. Such materials like metal oxides which are typically encased in epoxy or glass can be used. The RTD or Resistance Temperature Detector Probe is made of platinum or any metal. The trio make up the temperature sensor, which is used to measure the temperature of any environment.
Temperature is one of the first things people think of when it comes to weather, so having a thermometer built into a weather station kind of goes without saying. More advanced stations will record temperature data and be able to calculate it in different ways – variations over time, averages, along with the difference between inside and outside temperatures. These devices can work either on PTD probes, thermistors, or thermocouples.
Humidity can be incredibly important in how we perceive temperature and a station with a hygrometer will be able to calculate the level in the air. There will be many important data points derived from this such as humidity percentage, relative humidity, and absolute humidity.
There are a few types of anemometers but all of them do the same thing – measure wind speed and direction. This sensor relates data such as the fastest wind speed, average wind speed, and the direction it is coming from.
Large weather systems can influence atmospheric pressure, so being able to calculate it can be important. This is where the barometer steps in and its primary job are that it measures fluctuations in atmospheric pressure for your surrounding area.
- Rain Gauge
The description is in the name for this sensor – this device measures the level of rainfall that your area. Just like others, such as the anemometer and thermometer, the rain gauge can come in a few different forms that ultimately do the same thing.
- Lightning Detector
While the device has been around for some time, it has only recently been incorporated into residential stations. Many of these detectors are built to signal lightning strikes as far as 25 miles away.
- Rain and snow detector
Rain and snow detectors can also be found in many weather stations. They are mostly found alongside the rain gauge and are used for measuring the intensity of rain or snow respectively.
Best Home Weather Station Comparison in 2019
|Davis Instruments 6250||
|La Crosse Technology V40-PRO-INT||
|Davis 6152 Vantage Pro2||
|Ambient Weather WS-2902A||
|Ambient Weather WS-2801A||
|Holdpeak 866B Anemometer||
|Netatmo Weather Station||
|La Crosse Technology S88907||
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Weather Station
Purchasing a weather station, especially for private use, could be tricky but easy if you know the following factors and how to apply them.
Before spending on a weather station, either solar a powered weather station or a personal weather station, make sure to ask yourself the purpose for which your weather station will serve. The answer to this question will influence the qualities you will look out for. For devices that will mostly serve wind speed and wind direction measurement purposes, they must have very good wind vanes and anemometers. Same consideration should be taken for other factors.
- Look out for accurac
The most important reason to buy a weather station is not for its beauty, utility or durability but for its accuracy or nearness to accuracy. Most low –quality weather stations often give less than accurate values. Before you make your choice, look out for data report of the weather conditions and ask for a test if possible.
- Look out for Data collected (speed of update and transmission)
The data collected by a weather station is a very important factor to consider before buying one. The faster the speed of data updated, the faster the user can get new and updated values and readings. Before you purchase your weather station ensure that your weather station can update weather report every 1-3 minutes and transmit the readings as fast as the weather conditions change.
- Look out for Distance and Connection
When you go shopping for your weather station, there is one more factor to take into consideration before you pay. Look out for the transmission range. This is important because most outdoor weather stations are often installed many meters away from their sensors. They will have to transmit readings with obstacles on their path. The presence of obstacles and distance can affect the transmission, especially if the weather station is bad.
- Power source
Most devices always have at least two types of power sources which you must look out for before you make your purchase. Depending on the place of installation and proximity to the internal sensor, you should purchase the one that uses a battery or an AC output unit.
- Budget and warranty
Budget and warranty always top the list of most buyers before they make up their minds. Although it is important to know that expensive doesn’t necessarily mean good quality neither does cheap necessarily mean low-quality. Whatever the choice, make sure you purchase a weather station that has at least two years’ warranty and for the right price of course.
Weather stations will always be located outdoors, exposed to weather elements such as wind, rain, snow, and heat from the sun which can affect the external construction of the device and its internal function overtime. A good weather station must have a neat, solid, and sturdy external construction that can withstand the harshest of conditions for the most prolonged period. This quality is known as the durability of the device, and it is key.
- Look out for Upgradability
Good weather stations should be upgradeable, easy to calibrate, and re-calibrate, especially if they are personal weather stations. It should be noted that all weather stations should be able to measure both minimum and maximum values of their various readings, and the settings should be easy to sort out by the user.
- Ease of use
Before you buy a weather station ensure you are buying one that is easy to use by a beginner or even a little child. Sadly, some weather stations can be very difficult to couple together hence making installation difficult and tiring. Before you purchase a weather station ensure you lookout for a device that is easy to assemble, use and disassemble. N.B: Some high-quality weather stations always come pre-assembled, and they come with manuals that are easy to understand.
- Display and forecasts
Without a well-organized display unit, there is no need to purchase a weather display. A weather station that displays un-organized readings is messy for the user. Always look out for devices that can display data and readings that are succinct to read and understand. Some devices come with the ability to store data for several days: you should go for this kind.
The 10 Best Weather Stations Picked
We have selected the best of weather stations that sport the best of sensors. They possess thermometers that measure the minimum and maximum values of temperature and solid barometers which measure the atmospheric pressure alongside self-emptying rain gauges with all having the most accurate readings and sleekest of features from LCD screens, to cloud computing capabilities and much more.
- Tagged the overall best weather station, this weather station is a self-contained weathering system that contains an integrated sector sensor, LCD console, and a mounting area.
- The Davis weather station 6250 Vantage Vue can read current weather conditions both of dew point, rainfall temperature, barometric pressure, wind direction of indoors and outdoors.
- The console is beautifully designed in black, and it has easy-to-read features, backlight and a 4.375-inch LCD with glow-in-the-dark keypads.
- The Davis weather station updates every 2.5 seconds and wireless transmission of up to 1000 ft. The Console includes sunrise/sunset times, graphing of weather trends, weather forecast icons, moon phase, and alarms.
==>> Read Our review
- The AcuRite 02081M is known to users and experts as one of the Best digital weather station for home use and for beginners and experts alike.
- This digital weather station has amazing features in the form of an easy to read, colorful and animated jumbo screen and atomic clock.
- The digital weather station has a wireless display that extends up to 100 meters and transmits both indoor and outdoor data every 15seconds.
- The console is beautifully designed, and it comes in two modules of colored and monochrome LCDs, all of which have clocks which self-calibrates.
- This iconic device comes with an AC adapter pack and a battery backup.
==>> Read Our review
- The award-winning La Crosse Technology V40-PRO-INT is known as the best professional weather station with amazing features such as a Multi-combination solar sensor for rain and wind.
- It is made up of two different units: an outdoor unit which is fully fitted with multiple sensors and an indoor unit which is made up of a sturdy frame and LCD screen.
- The La Crosse Technology V40-PRO-INT Color Wireless Wi-Fi Professional weather station uses no wires, and it is only connected by wireless Wi-Fi.
- This device can measure the minimum and maximum values of temperature, pressure, wind speed, and direction, and it can transmit for up to 400ft.
==>> Read Our review
- The Davis weather station 6152 Vantage Pro2 is famous for being the Best weather station for solar purposes, according to experts.
- The device comes with a Standard Radiation Shield and colorful and large LCD Display Console, which makes reading the values easy.
- The Davis weather station 6152 Vantage Pro2 has two units: an outdoor unit which is fully fitted with a wind vane, two cup-shaped anemometers, a solar unit and an internal console unit which has a large monochrome LCD screen with several buttons.
- It measures 18 x 12 x 16 inches and weighs a very puny five (5) pounds.
==>> Read Our review
- The ambient weather advanced was awarded the best weather station for indoor and outdoor uses with an atomic clock that sets automatically.
- The console is made up of a solid frame which houses an easy to read, colorful LCD screen that has very colorful forecast icons.
- The Ambient Weather Advanced weather station comes in three different variants with each having one, two, or three remotes respectively.
- The Ambient Weather Advanced weather station has a wireless sensor that transmits up to 300 feet, and it has forecasting ability, which can predict the weather of 2-3 days.
- The device uses a 110V/60 Hz AC adapter for power purposes, and it uses a battery as back up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fall under the category of best weather station that measures wind speed.
==>> Read Our review
- The Ambient Weather WS-2902A is known as the best wireless station when compared with other weather stations in its category.
- The Ambient Weather WS-2902A can collate and measures solar radiation, temperature, wind direction, rainfall, UV, barometric pressure, both indoor and outdoor.
- The console is made up of a strong frame which protects a brilliant and easy-to-read LCD color display screen and the wireless display allows for data to be transmitted directly to a weather station database.
- It is easy to use and better to mount this wireless weather station with its bubble level for accuracy.
- This wireless weather station can measure wind speed direction.
- This is the best personal weather station to have .
==>> Read Our review
- The Holdpeak 866B Digital Anemometer is the best portable weather station with its easy to hold and easy to operate features.
- The device can measure average, minimum, and maximum values of temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind speed, and direction with alarming accuracy.
- It is a perfect device for outdoor activities like surfing, sailing, and kite flying as it is lightweight and can be attached to a lanyard.
- With its backlight, it makes it a perfect device for nighttime use, and the plastic covering makes it reasonably water-resistant.
- The Holdpeak 866B Digital Anemometer is extremely affordable and is powered by only 2AA batteries.
- This is a perfect personal weather station but may not be the best weather station for wind speed measurement.
==>> Read Our review
- The Netatmo Weather Station is known as the best smart home weather station with the finest, sleekest and the best design in its category. It is a high quality weather station.
- It is voice-controlled as it works with google’s Alexa and it is made specially for iPhone. The iPhone can access its sensors anywhere and anytime.
- The Netatmo Weather Station is the best device for measuring indoor CO2 concentration, temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, and sound.
- The device can be connected to several iPhones, and it can measure the amount of pollution in your room per time.
- It is easy to operate, and it is perfect for indoors but not suitable for outdoor use.
- It should not be confused with an indoor outdoor weather station.
==>> Read Our review
- The La Crosse Technology S88907 weather station is the most affordable weather station in its category with its easy to use features and its pocket-friendly size.
- This beautiful and affordable device can measure indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, heat index, and dew point.
- The console is made up of a shiny plastic frame which protects its full-screen LCD screen that shows the readings for temperature, pressure, atomic clock, and humidity.
- It comes with a controllable backlight, low battery icon and a time alarm with a snooze option.
- This device requires a 5.0V AC adapter for power purposes and 2 “AA” Alkaline batteries for backup.
- This is one of the best weather station which measures wind speed.
==>> Read Our review
- The Ambient Weather WS-1002-WIFI is the best WIFI weather station, and it is a very high quality weather station for the tech-savvy enthusiast.
- The outdoor device/sensor array is made up of multi-functional sensors which can record the values for temperature, pressure, relative humidity, solar and UV values for both indoors and outdoors.
- It is known as best WIFI weather station because of its full-color TFT LCD screen which displays all the readings and works well with WIFI.
- The sensor array is easy to mount, and you can view, share analyze, and store whatever data is captured on a specialized app which can be accessed on a mobile phone.
==>> Read Our review
Guide for Installing Home Weather Stations
The following lines contain details on how to install your home weather stations for maximum benefit. Different methods can be employed regarding the installation of a weather station, from mounting on a pole and hanging from a lanyard to mounting on a wall or placing on your lawn.
Rules Before Installing Your Weather Station
Before you install a weather station, it is essential to get a very good location. The best locations are situated in areas that are free of obstructions like buildings, trees, and machinery.
Situating your home weather station that comes with a rain gauge under an overhang or a tree will obstruct the weather station sensor and affect the data collected by the weather station.
If a weather station is placed in an alley, there could be an incidence of a wind tunnel effect.
Deciding where and how to install a weather station requires you to take into cognizance some of the following factors.
To properly install a weather station, you need to ensure that the thermometer sensor, which is part of the weather station sensor, is placed under a shade with ventilation.
Ensure that the weather station sensor for temperature is
- Shielded from direct sunlight
- Well ventilated and not obstructed from the wind
- Situated at least 50-60 feet from the closest paved surface
- If the thermometer is placed above a surface with grass, ensure it is placed 5 meters above the grass surface
To properly install a weather station which will measure humidity perfectly. Ensure that the humidity sensor is at least 50 feet away from the nearest water body.
To get the best from a home weather station that comes with rain gauge, ensure it is situated away from buildings. Also, see that the rain collector is placed at least 5-10 feet away from the obstruction.
Wind speed and wind direction
A properly placed anemometer should show the wind direction and wind speed, and it should be placed in a large field about 33 meters above the ground. If placed alongside other measuring instruments, ensure it is placed between 7-10 feet above the surrounding obstructing objects.
N.B: Rooftops work perfectly for installing anemometers.
Step-by-Step Installation Instructions
Now you can install your weather station by following the following steps:
Mounting on the roof
When mounting your weather station on the roof, ensure it is placed on the highest point of the building, you can try the chimney if it is not in use.
The weather station should be assembled, fastened with nuts, bolts, screws, and other accessory parts to ensure it is strong and sturdy. Ensure that the sensors are away from any obstruction whatsoever.
Mounting on the ground
When mounting your weather station on the ground, ensure it is done in an open space away from obstructions like buildings, machinery, automobiles, and other obstructions.
Ensure a pole or a tripod is used to prevent the sensors from touching the ground and elevate the station enough to collect data effectively.
Mounting on the ground has a little drawback because it allows the device to be vulnerable to tampering from animals, vandals or playing kids.
Mounting on a concrete floor
When mounting on the concrete floor, it is important to note that space is a major factor. Weather stations that will be installed on concrete floors need enough space that is devoid of obstructions of any sort.
After assemblage of the weather station, a non-penetrative mount made specially for flat rooftops should be used.
Either a cinderblock or sandbag can be used to create a very stable platform for the already mounted weather station.
The disadvantage associated with this is that this installation is vulnerable to wind attacks. But it is also a perfect installation choice for easy transfer.
Mounting on ships
When mounting on ships, it is important to know that Stainless and sturdy mounting kits are needed to ensure that the weather stations are high enough to detect weather changes and strong enough to prevent rust.
Mounting on a fence post
Weather stations can be mounted on the side of a fence or the side of buildings. This position exposes the weather station sensors to as much of temperature, pressure, and rainfall as possible. When mounting on a fence post, it is important to get a very reliable mounting kit that is strong and solid to hold up the station.
Mounting on your vehicle
Weather stations can be mounted on a vehicle for those who prefer to carry the sensors with them everywhere they go. To install a weather station on your vehicle, ensure it is located far away from doors and it is placed on the rooftop. Other places to install your weather station on are on the existing mast and pitched roofs.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have made a list of the most frequently asked questions that most buyers and users of weather stations usually ask that other weather station reviews may not be able to answer.
1. Can I assemble my weather station myself?
Yes, you can. Most weather stations can be assembled without any professional help by studying, understanding, and following the instructions on the owner’s manual.
2. Can my weather station predict weather conditions?
Yes. Most weather stations (especially the good quality ones) are designed to be able to forecast weather conditions for days, weeks, or even months.
3. Can my weather station be repaired?
Most weather stations can be repaired if the damage done to them is minimal such as a damaged wind vane or a bent cup anemometer. If you are finding the repair difficult, get a professional.
4. How often should I change my battery?
A lot of these weather meters come with batteries that can last for as long as two years (although this depends on how often the device is used). However, you can change your batteries as soon as you discover the sensor is weak.
5. How far away should I install my weather station sensor array?
The sensor array should be installed according to the instruction written by the manufacturer. Some weather station sensor arrays can connect from a long distance while others cannot.
6. Should I install my device on the ground?
Weather stations can be installed on any surface provided the surface is even, and the sensors are not obstructed.Weather stations can be installed on any surface provided the surface is even, and the sensors are not obstructed.
7. Can I cover my device with a trampoline?
No. Covering your device with a trampoline may damage sensitive sensors like the wind vane, anemometer, and other sensors on the array.
8. Is there a wrong way to mount my device?
Yes. There are several wrong ways to mount a device from mounting very close to the ground to mounting between buildings and much more.
9. Does the device come with a mounting pole?
It is very rare to see a weather station that comes with a mounting pole. You may have to purchase yours.
10. How frequent should I run maintenance checks on my weather station?
Maintenance checks should be carried out every 6-8 months.
11. Can I convert a home weather station to commercial use?
Not all home weather stations can be used for commercial or for extensive uses.
12. Can I take my weather station home after every use?
For all the uses of weather stations, it is better they are left at the site of use. It is not advisable to take a weather station home.
13. Are there weather stations that can serve indoor and outdoor functions?
There are a few indoor outdoor weather stations but they are better to stick to outdoor devices.
14. Where can I buy weather station?
You can buy weather station online and in weather shops around you.
15. What is the best weather station price?
Weather station prices vary from product to product and from store to store. So, we cannot say.
16. What is the best personal weather station?
The best personal weather station to get depends on the amount you have and the model you want amidst other factors.
17. Is an internet connected weather station better than others?
It depends on what you are doing. Not all operations require internet, so not all internet connected weather station are good for you.
18. How do different thermometers work?
All thermometers primary job is to merely take the surrounding atmosphere and put the temperature into an understandable format. In weather stations, they are often in both the outside sensor and inside the station itself so users can compare the differences. There are roughly three types of thermometers commonly in use:
- Thermocouples: One of the oldest and still widely used type of thermometers on the account of being inexpensive and being completely self-powered. Powered by joining two different metals and measuring the voltage based on the reference temperature, this thermometer uses one of the fundamental forces of the universe, that of electromagnetism, to function.
- Thermistors: Also called a “resistance thermometer”, this tool uses a resistor to measure the temperature. Depending on the type of thermistor resistance in the resistor may increase or decrease. Regardless, this thermometer is one of the most accurate but doesn’t work well in temperature extremes – making it ideal for more tropical climates.
- PTD probes: Think of this as a combination of the above two. Instead of two metals like the thermocouple, there is only one, usually, platinum and a temperature increase marks an increase of electrical resistance in the material.
19. What’s the difference between anemometers?
All an anemometer needs to do is measure both wind direction and speed. Like a thermometer, there are three types of anemometers that are commonly used.
- Propeller: The most picturesque type of anemometer as it looks like a sideways pinwheel that spins around. Usually, this comes with some sort of wind vane that pushes it around, allowing it to measure both wind speed and direction. The frequency of a rotation and the direction that it is pointed will be measured and then sent to the hub.
- Sonic: The most high-tech of the anemometers and while rarely found on residential weather stations can still be found from time to time. An antenna like protrusion goes up into the air with a set of tendril-like fingers on each end. Between each set of “fingers,” an ultrasonic wave passes back and forth. The wind that passes through the empty space upsets these ultrasonic waves, the difference being the wind speed and direction.
- Cup: Probably the simplest and most common type of anemometer. Working similar to a propeller variant, this tool spins around with a wind vane toward the direction of the wind and spins. The angle and voltage derived from the spinning are then transferred to a readable format.
20. What is Weather Underground?
The idea behind Weather Underground is simple enough – to allow everyone on the planet access to good weather information. A unique blend of expert meteorologists and a community of personal weather stations give the website a unique edge over other weather providers.
In order to ensure accuracy only certain residential weather stations are included in their calculations. Despite being so stringent Weather Underground boasts that they have 250,000 members sending them constant real-time data. A device that can connect directly to and get updates from this provider is ensured to be of singular quality.
21. What are some accessories that go with my weather station?
There are many accessories that can be used in conjunction with your weather station. Most manufacturers have a list of replaceable parts such as AC adapters, wind vanes, or mounting brackets. Radiation shielding can be used to block out sunlight so as to not disturb temperature readings. Most modern lower-end models work in conjunction with multiple sensor points along with other add-ons like soil, humidity, and liquid sensors.
Higher-end weather stations, on the other hand, have additional accessories like tripods and software. Other additional sensors can be bought to replace your old sensors or work in conjunction with them, feeding even more data to your hub. Programs that can be purchased are variable and can be anything from interfaces, alert modules, and other management software.
22. Limitations of Weather Forecasting and Stations
Many of the weather stations in this guide usually have some limitations based on how far out they can forecast weather. Even professional setups at meteorological stations are limited up to a certain point. The primary problem isn’t enough data collection but rather formulating the data in such a way to properly predict the future – even the smallest variable can have massive repercussions in a short amount of time.
Chaos theory is a branch of mathematics that studies the behavior of dynamic systems, the weather is one such system. Popular notions of how chaos theory operate are seen with the Butterfly Effect – this states that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings on one side of the planet can create a bad storm on the other. This means that farther out a forecast is the more likely it is to be inaccurate.
This doesn’t mean that weather stations and forecasting are without merit – quite the opposite actually. Observations can still be had but relying on these systems too much can create awkward miscalculations. That’s why it is important to understand and look at how weather systems and phenomena function.
Observing Weather Phenomena
To fully take advantage of your weather station and overcome its limitations you’re going to need to understand a few things on how weather phenomena are observed, how it is measured, and what to look out for.
Climate and Temperature
There are roughly twelve different climate zones, each with their own set of idiosyncrasies. In the continental United States there are temperate, arid, semi-arid, oceanic, continental, and mountain. Knowing which climate zone you are in will give you hand on what you need to look into when it comes to a weather station for you.
The extent of the differences between these climate zones is beyond the scope of this buying guide, but you should know is that these areas vary greatly in temperature, season length, rainfall, and so forth. An arid area has little to no rainfall making a good hygrometer fairly useless – yet an oceanic zone will find this highly useful.
The atmosphere is in constant flux – this is what causes most weather phenomena. Prediction is difficult but still possible within a certain margin of error. Atmospheric instability is when complicated weather prediction becomes even more difficult. Instability marks a large exchange of air vertically, resulting in variable weather patterns.
One such way this form is through a large pocket of warm air rising into higher up colder air, causing a massive swirling of air currents. This convective instability often results in storms if there is enough humidity in the air – that is how areas of warm water often have more storms.
Even dry areas can have weather problems from atmospheric instability, creating small scale dust devils that can fling dirt around. An intense enough wildfire can create something called a fire whirl which can cause the fire to spread even more.
A weather station that is able to calibrate based on your environment will be able to signal these atmospheric stabilities faster than those that can’t. Measurements of atmospheric pressure can only go so far though, and sometimes just looking outside your window can give a better picture then what all the raw data says.
Fog, Sand-Storms, and Smog
While similar in how they obscure vision, fog, sand storms, and smog have many different principles for which they operate and form. Fog, for instance, can be considered a type of low-lying cloud and is composed of small water droplets. These form when there is a sufficient temperature difference between the air and the dew point. Varying conditions can create different types of fog such as advection, steam, or freezing.
Sand storms are also called dust storms and form in desert regions when there is a sufficient enough wind to whip up the sand into the air. These storms can get up to 130 feet or more. Smog, on the other hand, is a form of artificial fog that results from heavy industrial pollution and tepid air conditions. Usually found in low lying cities, smog that gets thick enough can lead to the death of some people.
Home weather stations, unless sufficiently advanced, won’t be able to measure this type of weather accurately or predictably. It’s good to know what your area is more prone to and during what time of the year.
Thunder and Lightning
Given the right conditions, lightning can strike just about anywhere but often are found around tropical and subtropical regions. The reason for this is simple, as lightning and its byproduct thunder flourish in large storms, specifically those made from cumulonimbus clouds. Differences in temperature in the clouds create pockets of negatively and positively charged particles, turning the cloud into a giant battery.
Lightning detectors are only now starting to become part of weather stations. They are able to detect these differences in charged particles between the bottom of the cloud and the ground – it’s in these circumstances that lightning is most likely to strike. Because lightning heats up the air so fast – around 54,000 F in less than a second – it results in the air expanding and creating a shock wave in the form of thunder.
The Beaufort Scale
Also called the Beaufort wind force scale, this measurement is used to have a basis for which to relate wind speed with observed conditions. Before the creation of this scale wind conditions was largely subjective – it was Francis Beaufort who standardizing these experiences on empirical data. Originally used in comparison to the frigate, then the most common of the Royal Navy’s ships, it has been modified since then to reflect the times.
Measured on a 0 to 12 scale, with 0 representing calm and 12 representing hurricane force winds, this system is either measured in knots, meters, or miles depending on measurement system used. While just about all residential weather stations incorporate wind speed into their measurements, not many give a relative understanding to us. The Beaufort scale can be used to properly understand how the outside wind speed will affect you and your home.
The Safir-Simpson Scale
When wind speeds get too powerful that even the Beaufort scale won’t be able to fully reflect it, and that’s where the Safir-Simpson scale jumps into the picture. Developed in 1971 by Herbert Saffir and Robert Simpson, this scale jumps from 1 to 5, with higher the number associated with a more powerful hurricane. Based on the average top speed over one minute, the scale starts at 74 mph and goes upwards to 157 or more.
Needless to say, such instances are considered highly dangerous and variable. More than likely a weather station that isn’t of quality construction or installed correctly can be damaged or blown away. In addition, but because of the odd quality of how hurricanes and cyclones operate (unusual wind patterns, little relative rain, storm surge, etc.) a weather station might not be able to properly signal the dangerousness of one of these approaching storms.
This isn’t just finding funny shapes in the clouds, but observing certain patterns in the clouds and predicting what the weather is going to do based on that. This is of course not a foolproof method but can be surprisingly accurate once you know what to look out for.
- Cirrus: These white wispy clouds stretch across the sky and usually indicate fair weather – a fast movement of these and the direction they are pointed can show what direction a weather front is moving through.
- Cirrostratus: These are sheet clouds that cover the entirety of the sky, usually mark the presence of rain or snow in the next 24 hours.
- Cirrocumulus: These clouds are actually large groups of streaks that seem to be well organized. In most climates these mean there will be nice weather; however, during the hurricane season for tropical climates this may mean an approaching storm
- Altostratus: These grey and blue clouds can cover the whole sky and are usually indicative of a storm approaching soon.
- Altocumulus: Large fluffy sheets that are white and gray, completely eclipse the sun. If seen in the morning it usually means there will be a thunderstorm in the afternoon.
- Stratus: Low-lying clouds that look like fog in the sky, often results in a small bit of rain or snow.
- Stratocumulus: Extremely lumpy and low lying grey clouds that look similar to mountains, don’t usually bring any precipitation.
- Nimbostratus: The quintessential rain cloud – looks like a large dark gray sheet stretched across the sky.
- Cumulus: Sometimes referred to as cotton ball clouds on the account of them looking like cotton. If they are laying low that usually means good weather if they start to grow upward though it might be indicative of a large storm.
- Cumulonimbus: Super-charged cumulus clouds that have a distinct anvil shape. Known for bringing powerful wind, rain, and lightning. These clouds are considered highly dangerous.
Measuring and predicting the weather is the hobby of many people, but even if you aren’t passionate about the subject you can benefit from getting a weather station. Overall these machines take a large range of measurements and translate it in a way you can best understand it.
In order to use these machines to their full potential make sure you are familiar with how weather phenomena operate. Picking the best weather station for you is a matter of getting one that fits your climate and what you want to get out of it.