man in smart home reading a tablet

When WeatherFlow’s new Tempest Weather System launched on Kickstarter in early November, the campaign was fully funded in less than three hours. It quickly became the most popular tech campaign on Kickstarter, and the momentum only continued when Tempest carried forward on Indiegogo this month. With production in full swing, one thing is clear–people have A LOT of questions! Here, we break down the most common questions we receive about the soon-to-be-released Tempest:

1. When can I buy one?

Tempest will be available for retail purchase in the spring of 2020, but you can pre-order a system at a significant discount right now on Indiegogo.

2. How does Tempest compare to other weather stations?

We’re biased, but it’s hard to compare the Tempest with any home weather station, since the weather station is just one component of the system, along with the app, data science and forecasting technology. We designed the hardware to be reliable and user friendly, with no moving parts or fees for accessing your data.

WeatherFlow has a full forecast modeling team that combines data from your Tempest with AI-powered technology. The communications infrastructure is included in the Tempest system, as opposed to having to buy additional equipment.

3. Do I need WiFi to use a Tempest?

That depends on the Tempest model you choose. The three systems available include:

  • The Tempest Complete System: Utilizes WiFi to enable full performance. This ensures consistent weather data flow into our servers and allows remote data access, and the network-based AI forecasting. Our HUB also broadcasts data locally over UDP and BLE, allowing you to access the raw data without internet connection.
  • Storm & Fire Ready System: Ideal for those who don’t have WiFi or prefer to have a system that is not dependent on it, this system comes with a Tempest outdoor sensor, a pro hub and battery backup. It also includes a mobile / cellular communication fail-over during WiFi outages and a prepaid data plan for continued data streaming during WiFi outages.
  • The Remote Kit: Comes with the Tempest Weather System with Pro Hub, battery backup, weatherproof enclosure and solar power for your Hub. Allows fully autonomous operation in remote areas – no power or WiFi required. Battery backup provides power for up to seven days without sun. Includes a prepaid data plan for at least two years of standard data upload.

4. How does the sonic anemometer work?

Tempest measures wind speed and direction based on the time of flight of sonic pulses between pairs of transducers located on the underside of the roof over the gap near the top of the device. This technology allows for a high degree of accuracy, especially in variable wind conditions.

5. How does the haptic rain sensor work?

Located in the top of the device, the patent-pending haptic rain sensor measures and counts each falling raindrop. This allows Tempest to report the instant rain begins falling, the current intensity, and the total rain accumulation over time. Accuracy compares to a tipping bucket, but without malfunctions caused by accumulating leaves or debris.

6. Can Tempest integrate with Amazon’s Alexa?

“Alexa, enable WeatherFlow Smart Weather.” It’s as easy as that! You can easily and instantly view your Tempest data on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer or virtually any device with a web browser. Tempest is compatible with Siri, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant for your data.

7. Is Tempest hard to install?

Not at all! From taking it out of the box to accessing your weather data takes less than five minutes (we timed it). Tempest comes with two mounting base options. One is designed to mount the Tempest on top of a standard 1″ pole. The second mount is a flat base with both a standard 1/4-20 thread (common camera tripod standard) as well as a simple keyhole slot to attach to a screw head.

8. Does Tempest come with a dedicated display?

Not yet. We found that the vast majority of current customers and beta testers did not want one, preferring to use their phone or tablet. However, in the future we plan to offer multiple display options, from simple digital displays to high-end wood & brass displays.

9. What’s wrong with my current weather app?

Most weather apps (even your local news) are based on public domain data that is very limited. If you are looking at a display of current conditions at your location chances are the data is from a NOAA station located at an airport that is not all that close to you. Having a reliable weather system installed around your home comes with a host of benefits, such as:

  • Smart home automation capable of saving you money on heating, air conditioning and water costs. Tempest can be integrated to disable sprinklers when rain begins, adjust the indoor temperature to reflect fluctuations outside, or lower your blinds when the temperature spikes.
  • Plan your day better with real-time knowledge about weather conditions in your location. No more wondering ? if you need to reschedule the pool party or cover your plants overnight.

10. What is the WeatherMatch Fund?

Contributions to the WeatherMatch Fund go directly to our university partners who are working to deploy weather systems in data sparse regions of the world such as Africa and South America. Through WeatherMatch we also provide equipment at less than our total cost. We’ll be expanding this program over the next year, so stay tuned!

Your Weather Data Does Good

Tempest data, along with all our real-time useful data, is part of data sets which are shared with the National Weather Service (NWS-NOAA) and other national met agencies across the world, supporting their mission of predicting dangerous weather and warning the public of potential risks. As forecasting becomes more difficult and weather patterns increasingly unpredictable, each Tempest helps contribute to a better global forecast.

Have questions about Tempest? Check out our Indiegogo campaign.