While it’s great to get a video door system and smart locks in place to unlock the home remotely once you see who has arrived, that’s only the beginning of what’s possible. Looking beyond the essential smart home technology, it’s easy to overlook some useful ones that aren’t always included. The personal weather station is one such clever bit of tech that comes to mind.
What is a Personal Weather Station?
A home weather station is a device that can provide readings relating to the weather and other external factors. The information can be delivered to a smartphone app for review whenever you need it, but it also can be shared with the broader network to allow for more accurate weather reports.
Weather stations come in various shapes and sizes depending on the selected model. Many are freestanding whereas others might be affixed to something. When set up correctly, they can provide readings on the weather, precipitation levels, local low-level radiation from solar power, humidity readings, barometric pressure, the amount of ambient light, air temperature, and a host of other bits of useful information.
These devices are substantial, but they provide far more information than a typical indoor/outdoor temperature monitor for people with the budget for them. Anyone who has even a passing interest in weather conditions and likes to keep a personal eye on things will be impressed.
How Are They an Improvement Over Airport-based Systems?
National weather reports used to rely primarily on weather information collection systems situated at regional airports supplemented by satellite images of the Earth. This was fine if you were planning to fly out that day but given the distance between the airport and local residents, the weather predictions and current atmospheric readers were entirely different near the runway to outside your neighbor’s home.
Generally speaking, it contributed to unpredictable or distorted weather reports which eventually led to a significant percentage of the population beginning to ignore them. Seeing the problem, WeatherFlow was founded in 2000 to create a local network of weather stations to deliver more meaningful data to government agencies, the military, the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard too. This helped to bridge the gap from national to regional.
Moving into the Personal Weather Station Space
In 2016, WeatherFlow used a crowdfunding campaign to enter into the personal weather station space. Their idea was to allow homeowners to monitor the weather and other environmental factors local to them to both offer more accurate readings but also to feed those readings into the national weather prediction services to further improve their accuracy. It was only a few years ago that the cost of manufacture for weather stations allowed for smaller, personal ones to be produced at a price point that made sense for hobbyists.
Working from Home or Time Off at the Weekends: Can Weather Stations Be Helpful?
A weather station at home removes the guesswork out of planning your day.
Changing Plans Due to Rainfall
When you can see that the first drops of rain have begun to fall, the sensors will pick that up before they even hit the side of your windows. Their intensity, the accumulated rainfall, and its duration are all tracked from home. If you were planning to go out to a meeting this afternoon or even to run an errand during a lunch break, this information may force you to change your plans. For the weekends, the same information may suggest pushing the lawn mowing to Sunday or next weekend if the ground will be too mushy underfoot.
Wind Measurements and Lightning Strikes
Wind measurements including both the speed and direction can create some unexpected difficulties with the internet connection if any part of the service is affected by heavy storms. The power supply may also get cut if storms cause disruption. Also, if there’s a lightning strike, this can be picked up and the distance noted from the personal weather station in your backyard.
Combined, these types of measurements enable you to plan around potential power cuts and loss of the internet which could affect your business activities that day. If the kids are home from school, they may also need more time to keep them calm with your day’s work deferred to another day and excuses made to your clients (or just to forewarn them that disruption may occur today).
What if a Personal Weather Station Seems Like Overkill?
When you believe that a personal weather station is too much or it’s beyond your current budget, but you’re still interested, what can you do?
If you want a way to monitor your local weather at home but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a personal weather station, consider buying an indoor-outdoor thermometer instead. Unfortunately, you won’t get smart home features with an indoor-outdoor thermometer, but you will get your own personal view of the weather. To find a suitable model for your home, see this article with the best indoor outdoor thermometers.
Some of the devices simply provide the indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity levels using strategically placed sensors. Others go a step further by adding weather information as well. While they’re not as sophisticated as a weather station, they’re far better for people with smaller homes or apartments with no backyard access.
Can Weather Stations Be Automated?
It’s possible to use online automation tools like IFTTT to create an increased degree of automation. For instance, IFTTT can be used to integrate into a WeatherFlow weather system to perform set actions based on specific reading levels. This may be useful if you’re outside the home and can receive an SMS alert to your phone or an email to your loved ones to remind them to close the windows when rain is expected.
If you have pets that sometimes like to roam outdoors, then expected lightning or bad weather could prompt a reminder to go find them and secure them inside because these events will scare them, and they could run off and get lost.
Smart homes are great, but they can benefit from a personal weather station to get more accurate weather alerts and predictions compared to depending on the national weather forecast. Also, it’s good to have the option of an indoor/outdoor thermometer because they have their uses too.
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