Tempest Weather System

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

Tempest is a meticulously designed personal weather system that delivers unmatched accuracy. Setup takes just minutes and the creative applications of Tempest data are endless! Here are some frequently asked questions about the Tempest to help you shop smarter:

You might not realize this, but most weather apps and even your evening news is based on public domain data — primarily on weather stations installed long ago at regional airports. Having a reliable weather station at your house can help you save money on heating & air conditioning based on the true environmental dynamics of your house, tell you exactly what’s happening in your backyard (not the nearest airport), and allow you to make automated decision with your smart home systems.  Need more info? Check out this blog post.

Yes. Once your weather station is configured (using the Tempest Weather App), you can view it online from any browser at tempestwx.com. Simply log in using the same credential you used to create/configure your station.

To set up your Tempest, you will need a smartphone or tablet running our iOS or Android app. Your smartphone or tablet must support BlueTooth Low Energy (BLE) — this is how your phone connects to the HUB. Download the Tempest Weather app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Then, launch the app and follow the step-by-step instructions to configure your weather station.

Yes and no.  Most people will locate their weather station at home and connect to a home WiFi network. Doing this will enable consistent weather data to flow into our servers and allow anytime data access. It is possible to operate a Tempest via your smartphone, however, data will only be reported when the phone is directly connected to the weather station (via BLE).

Nope! Setup is simple and can be done in minutes, but you do not need to immediately install it to start getting weather data. You can temporarily place it outside with a simple screw mount and make sure everything is working as it should be while you find the best place to put it and the right supplies to get the job done!

The device and software is not designed to support use on a moving platform. There is no GPS in the hardware, so the station location needs to be updated manually if the equipment were to be relocated. Wind direction is determined by aligning the device to true north. Rain readings are triggered by vibrations detected by the haptic rain sensor, so a moving platform, especially on the road or water, would cause false rain readings.

However, when you’re parked at a location, the system would still be a great asset for weather observations. The Hub (base station) connects to WiFi but it is not necessary aside from the occasional software update. A phone or tablet with a Bluetooth connection to the Hub is all you need to get current data from the Tempest device. The Tempest device transmits data over radio to the Hub. The Hub does need to be powered, requiring 1 A, 5v power supply.

The Tempest device communicates with the Hub via sub-gHz radio and can maintain connection up to 300 meters (1000 ft+) in an unobstructed, clear line of sight with no interference. Under normal conditions, the maximum range will be less where walls and other obstacles will reduce the signal strength. The Hub should be placed no farther from the router than any other wirelessly connected devices. Max range may vary with obstructions, wall materials, signal interference and power.

Yes! Your purchase of a Tempest System includes a 60 day, no questions asked return policy, an 8 month better forecast guarantee, 2 year manufacturer’s warranty and a 10 year limited lifetime warranty. These policies are automatically available with every purchase, no registration required, no extra purchase necessary. You can read full details here.

Product Features

Improvements are made to the local forecast as the machine learning (AI) ingests observations from your Tempest System and other observations in your area. We pay a great deal of attention to the quality of the observations coming from your Tempest and our Continuous Learning AI seeks to improve the quality of your unique observations. You will notice advantages in accuracy over other forecasts starting about ~60 days from the time of installation. You may notice additional improvements going forward as we learn more about your local weather.

We’re all about good data….because let’s face it, bad data is misleading. That’s why we have spent considerable effort sourcing and testing high-quality sensors for every device we produce. Combined with innovative technologies like our proprietary sonic anemometer and haptic rain sensor, our devices are every bit as accurate as scientific weather stations that cost 3X the price. See our sensor specs on the previous page.

Yes. You can view the map of all publicly reporting Tempest stations in the mobile app or in your web browser: TempestWx.com/map

Definitely! There are several ways to integrate your Tempest data into a website. If your website uses WordPress, you can use the beautiful Weather Station plugin. You can also link your station to Weather Underground or use the desktop software, Weather-Display. If you are an experienced developer (or know someone who is), you’ll want to check out our API (https://weatherflow.github.io/Tempest/).

You can use any connected device to view your weather data. iPad – yes. iPhone – yes. Android phone or tablet – yes. Computer – yes. Anything with a browser.

Siting

Proper siting is critical to get the most accurate weather data.

Ideally, the HUB should be plugged inside your house within range of your WiFi router to establish a reliable and solid WiFi connection. The  Hub has a wireless range of 1,000 feet.

There are many suitable places you can install your Tempest device, e.g. on top of a fence, wall, railing, pergola, post, roof, chimney, etc. Here are some basic requirements:

  • The Tempest device needs exposure to direct sunlight so its internal battery can recharge. Do not locate the device in a shady spot or it may eventually lose power.
  • Choose a location that allows as much exposure to the wind, rain and sun as possible.
  • Avoid close proximity to surfaces (buildings, walls, the ground) and unnatural moisture and heat sources (exhaust vents, central air units, active chimneys).
  • The structure used to mount the device needs to be sturdy and should not shake, sway or vibrate in strong winds.

Sure, but know that some of the data collected at this location will be heavily affected by the siting limitations. For example, wind speed and wind direction, rain readings and even temperature readings would be heavily influenced by the environment in which the Tempest device is installed.

There are two base attachments included with the Tempest kit, a flat base (standard 1/4″-20 thread & keyhole slot) and a pole mount (fits a nominal 1″ mast).

The pole mount is designed to fit a standard “one-inch” nominal pole (outer diameter = 1.315 inches, or 33.4 mm) as well as a 1.25 in (32 mm) outer diameter pole, and anything in between. You can find a length of mast at your local hardware store or order one online.

The flat base mount attaches to a horizontal surface via 1/4″-20 threaded insert (standard camera mount) or the keyhole slot over a screw or nail.

Your Smart Weather station is specifically designed to measure the unique environmental conditions in your immediate location. Where you choose to locate your sensor devices will make a significant impact on your weather data. Most of the time, your data will differ from other weather stations — because that’s in a completely different location and siting situation! A home station should measure the conditions at YOUR home, and allow you to make decisions accordingly.

Example: If your humidity reading seems high (or low) compared to nearby stations, remember that AIR is reporting hyper-local conditions. An accurate measurement may differ dramatically from other sources you’re used to. Remember, this is YOUR WEATHER, not the weather from the Airport that your phone or the TV news reports. Your yard has its own “nano climate” and will report the truth of the exact location where your AIR is sited: that means it will be wetter near things like trees, ground cover, wet decks, dryer vents, etc.

Apps

The Tempest Weather App is available for download at the Apple App Store or via Google Play. Search for “WeatherFlow” or “Tempest Weather”.

Absolutely! Available on iOS or Android before the products ships. Note: no Amazon app as Amzon does not allow publication of apps that run Google services.

Yes, the Temepst Weather app is required to setup and configure your device. The app also serves as your daily weather data viewer. Once set up, you can also view your data through or web app, as well as other integrated weather apps such as Weather Underground Personal Weather Station.

Most of them. WeatherFlow devices are compatible with all iOS and Android 4.3+ devices with Bluetooth Low Energy support for direct connection to the devices. If the device is connected to your home WiFi network, your data is pushed automatically to the cloud. Then anyone / any connected device can view the data via the WeatherFlow app or a variety of integrated weather and smart home apps.

We are adding new integrations every month. As of May 2017, you can view your WeatherFlow weather data on Weather Underground, weather34.com, Weather Display, and a couple others.

Technical Questions

Also see our technical support help pages for more detailed information.

The ultra-sonic anemometer is composed of 4 transducers housed in the top of the device. The Tempest measures wind speed and direction based on the time of flight of ultrasonic pulses between pairs of transducers. This allows for a high degree of accuracy especially in variable wind conditions. An ultrasonic sensor is very good at detecting light winds and has an advantage over mechanical sensors which require momentum to rotate their bearings. Tempest’s ultrasonic anemometer has an upper detection limit of 100mph (~160 kmph). Any wind speeds above this threshold may be outside of accuracy specifications.

Good question! Our proprietary sonic anemometer actually samples wind every 1sec, then reports the 3sec average to the hub. The hub makes the 3sec data immediately available to the app, via UDP multicast, and via BLE spec. The hub then calculates a 1min average (+ lull & gust) and publishes that data to our servers in the cloud.  This scheme allow us to sense and report detailed nuances in the wind field. We have been evaluating user-configured update intervals — but it’s not available in our software yet.

No, the haptic rain sensor does not reliably detect or measure snow. The impact of falling snow is too light for the sensor to pick up.

Yes. Tempest detects cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud lightning activity. The onboard lightning sensor detects electrical transmissions from lightning activity up to 40km (approx. 25 miles) away and gives an estimate of distance. While the sensor algorithm is smart enough to reject man-made signals such as microwave ovens and motors, it’s important to place the Tempest away from electrical disturbances for best performance. Lightning detection equipment can be very expensive and the best, most reliable data is provided by networks of interconnected hardware. Tempest provides access to the best lightning data available. See more on Tempest’s lightning detection.

Tempest uses a patent-pending haptic rain sensor housed in the very top of the device. Using a combination of pressure and capacitance, Tempest measures and counts each falling raindrop. The haptic rain sensor provides a new and alternative method of measuring rain that brings more value to rain data. It is a unique instrument that measures rainfall accumulation and rate and is also able to record the time rain began, the rain event duration down to the minute, and the relative intensity ranging from very light to extreme rainfall.

The Hub is not intended to be used outdoors, it should not be in an environment where relative humidity can reach 95% or more because water could condense on the circuits and cause damage.

The Tempest device’s operating range is from -35F to 140F.

The LTO battery in the Tempest device will continue normal charging down to about -67F. At or below this temperature, the battery should be able to keep the device powered for long enough until the temperature warms up to allow the battery to recharge.

Normally, your smart weather station will collect and send data to our servers. You can access this data through our app or our website, and you can export it in a variety of ways. But your stations will also collect and store data even when they are not connected to the Internet! First, the HUB will store a couple weeks of data if left alone. Then, once internet connection is restored either via WiFi or via smartphone, the data will automatically be updated. From there, you can view or export it as usual.

We use a marine-grade, UV resistant plastic formula for the device casings, which are designed to improve durability and keep the devices shining white for many years to come. No matter where you live; in the heat of Central Florida, the bitter cold of Canada, or across the seas, the Tempest won’t degrade after years of weathering.

Integrations

It’s easy to integrate your Tempest data with Weather Underground! Instructions can be found here.

IFTTT (If This Then That) offers up a universe of possibilities to put your weather data to good use.  See the WeatherFlow page on IFTTT for sample applets, or create your own based on triggers from your weather station.

To install the Smart Weather skill say, “Alexa, enable WeatherFlow Smart Weather”. Then link your Smart Weather account using the Alexa app or the Alexa website.  Once linked, you can ask Alexa things like: “Alexa, ask WeatherFlow how’s the weather?” “Alexa, ask WeatherFlow what is the temperature?”

WeatherFlow Smart Weather Stations integrate directly with Google Home / Google Assistant. To enable, just say “Hey Google, talk to WeatherFlow.”

You will be prompted to link your WeatherFlow Smart Weather account. Once your account is linked you can say things like:

“Hey Google, ask WeatherFlow: how’s the weather?”

“Hey Google, ask WeatherFlow: what’s the temperature?”

Update As of May 2017 —  the computer chip set required for Apple Home Kit was recently changed by Apple. We are monitoring the status, awaiting final spec from Apple on compatible chips and their rigorous certification process. In the meantime, we’re developing alternative integrations so that our weather stations will work with Siri. Stay tuned.

Update As of May 2017 —  we are in the process of developing an integration with Samsung Smarthings. Stay tuned.

Customer Support

We have telephone support voicemail. You are welcome to call and leave a message and a member of our team will call you back, or you can submit a support ticket here and one of our agents will be in touch via email soon.