Why Get a Home Weather Station?

Most people tune in to the local weather station on television or check the weather app on their phone to determine what to wear for the day or to prepare for a change in plans due to weather, but most don’t really know where the data that informs these forecasts comes from, and how the Tempest Weather Station differs from other personal weather stations.

A weather station is a collection of instruments and sensors that can measure atmospheric conditions. (1) These stations can be used professionally but there are also stations designed with the average consumer in mind. These handy gadgets can relay weather information in a way that is easy to read and suited for your specific preferences.

Tempest Weather System vs Other Weather Apps

Why would anyone invest in a smart weather station when they can just check the weather app that came on their phone? Weather apps are shells that display forecast data from single or multiple weather models. Most apps get their data from government-backed weather models like the NAM and HRRR. It’s simply too complex and expensive for most private weather companies to do their own modeling. Other apps simply purchase and repackage forecasts from big-name weather companies like The Weather Channel or AccuWeather. A very small number of apps have the oversight of professional forecasters and meteorologists to interpret the data from these models, and even fewer include actual weather observations in their forecasts.

There are dozens of weather models around the globe which are mostly run by various governments and big weather companies. Weather models are projected simulations of what the atmosphere might look like in the future. You may have heard of the American model and the European model that are often used to track hurricanes. American GFS and European ECMWF are the most popular global weather models for medium to long-term forecasts. For short-term forecasts, like whether you should take your umbrella with you today or not, local weather models tend to be significantly more accurate.

Models begin with weather observations from satellites, weather balloons, aircraft, surface stations, and other sensors which are fed into a complex set of mathematical equations based on atmospheric dynamics and physics. The more information we gather on the current state of the atmosphere, the better the forecast. One big issue is that there aren’t weather sensors every mile, or even every three miles. That means that weather models have to fill in the gaps by taking into account the nearest data points.For example, if you’re checking a weather app to get the forecast around Presidio in San Francisco, the data being used to formulate the forecast may be coming from a station several miles away, dramatically impacting the accuracy of your local forecast.

The future of precise local forecasting requires higher resolution data than the best grid models can provide. Simply put, a precise local forecast requires precise local weather data from a truly smart weather station. While many home weather stations display the weather conditions at your location, that data is not processed or checked for quality control and certainly is not used to inform your forecast.

With a one-minute refresh rate, the Tempest Weather System reports conditions at your exact location to WeatherFlow’s data science systems. Under the watch of a team of meteorologists and forecasters, the validated Tempest data is combined in WeatherFlow’s proprietary Nearcast Technology system with the best available models, including NOAA’s NAM, HRRR, and the highly acclaimed European Global Forecast Model (ECMWF), as well as their own in-house modeling suite. The same powerful machine learning techniques are then reapplied as new data comes in, resulting in a dramatically improved forecast that only gets more accurate over time.

What's the point of a smart weather station? Besides better forecasts, smart weather stations can roll local conditions into your home-automation scheme.(2) These stations are equipped with all kinds of weather sensors to give you the most accurate reading of atmospheric happenings near you.

Different Places Weather Stations Are Used

Although it is called a “home” weather station, these devices are able to read the weather anywhere they are placed, whether that be in your backyard, outside of your office, or near a vacation or rental home. Many people who invest in a home weather station are looking for data and forecasts specific to their location and needs, which is not something the local weather channel or even most weather apps can provide. For example, you can find Tempest owners using their devices in a variety of ways:

A bluetooth weather station streams data to your smartphone or other devices for accurate, on-the-go information from your backyard, easily accessible wherever you are.

What A Weather Station Includes

Weather stations are made up of different weather-reading instruments and sensors and present that information in a way that is easy to observe to everyday citizens. Typically, these include hygrometers, wind direction indicators, thermometers, rain gauges, and other instruments. These are usually connected to some sort of screen or app that presents the data.

The newer kinds of home weather station provide Bluetooth connectivity that can link to smart home applications and handheld devices such as phones, tablets, and computers. These stations vary in what instruments and capabilities they include, but the majority have the basic set as listed above, though some can even include professional-quality instruments that go beyond what the typical user would require.

Most home weather stations currently on the market do not include any sort of quality control or in-house forecasting capabilities. That often means that the data being measured or report is more likely to include erroneous readings or inaccurate measurements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best weather station to buy for home use?

The best home weather station for your location depends on your siting limitations and what kind of data you need. For example, if you live in an apartment and primarily want to know the temperature outside, a simple outdoor thermometer may be all you require.

One of the most most technologically advanced smart home weather stations is the Tempest Weather System, rated highly by reviewers because of its design and accuracy. It has the most technologically advanced equipment and precision-accurate instruments for reading weather. The device measures and reports outdoor temperature and humidity level, UVI data, air pressure, rain onset and duration, wind direction and speed, and more.

These are qualities that make it desirable for most at-home customers as these characteristics encompass any need present for reading present and future weather data. This is also a bluetooth weather station as it is enabled with Bluetooth connectivity for remote access from cellular devices, tablets, or computers as the need is present. With all of these aspects, who could resist such a weather station? It is reviewed very highly for its level of accuracy and the variety of data it provides.

It’s always a good idea to check home weather station reviews and FAQs online to ensure you get the best station for your location and requirements. For example, the Tempest may not be the best option for users living in an urban apartment complex where other large structures would block it from the wind, or for someone looking for a weather station to mount on a boat or vehicle. In addition, check the company’s return policy and warranty terms. And if you want to get a forecast you can count on, find out if the company making the system has any in-house forecasting or modeling capabilities.

Is a home weather station worth the investment?

This question encompasses a few others like the following: why exactly do we need a home weather station, what makes it different from the weather report on the news, and is it worth the investment to have this knowledge?

The home weather station isn’t anything new, but recent technological breakthroughs have resulted in more feature-stuffed models compared to what was available even ten years ago. If you are content looking out the window or checking the weather app that came with your phone, that's wonderful! You may not need to invest in a home weather system. However, if you think that home weather stations are just for weather geeks, think again. Even casual weather observers can benefit from this handy piece of technology.

How do you build a weather station in your backyard?

A quick online search will reveal a large number of tutorials for building your own weather instruments, such as a rain gauge, wind vane, or even a thermometer. Depending on the complexity of the tool you are aiming to build, there is a range from simple DIY crafts using items from around your home, to incredibly complex designs that require significant technical expertise.

Overall, DIY instruments are best suited as learning tools, as even the most advanced cannot show the forecast and will not be as accurate as a professional-quality weather station. Though we’ve seen some truly incredible things in our own Tempest community, constructing remote weather station home devices is a lofty goal, and one best left to the experts!

More About Weather Stations

Personal weather stations can provide a lot of information to benefit the user. Whether you just want to better plan your day, optimize your garden, or you just like tracking the weather, a home weather station can be incredibly useful. Weather stations are often purchased with curiosity in mind and make a fantastic tool for budding meteorologists, as a STEM learning tool, or for a number of hobbies for which weather data is critical.

If all you need is the daily temperature and humidity, a cheap and basic station may fit the bill, while more advanced weather stations can provide tons of data to sift through, and like the Tempest Weather System, even provide weather forecasts that are tailored to your exact location.