Weather Stations Tips

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Why is my digital weather station not working?

Storm Interference

You were so excited when you bought your Davis digital weather station, but the only way you can tell if you'll get rain showers this evening is to look out the window. Your digital won't do diddly-squat.

Some tips to keep in mind before you trot down to the store to return your home weather station:

* Aluminum siding or aluminum covering your roof will block wireless signals between your outside hygrometers and your digital home unit. You're better off with a cabled system.
* While many digital weather station systems will work with your computer, some won't, especially if you have a Wi-Fi laptop. Too much signal interference will prevent your weather station from working.
* Make sure the batteries are fully charged. Invest in a battery recharger.
* Make sure your indoor station is positioned within range of the outdoor wind/temperature sensors and hygrometers.

Now you don't have to look out your window to watch the wind...unless it's a beautiful evening and you want to gaze outside.

Should I buy a digital or analog weather station?

Digital vs. Analog

You haven't thought digital versus analog since they invented the first computer wristwatch. For you, it's been digital all the way. But you like the look of old-fashioned weather stations with the rich wood and gold trim. Also, you just moved to an aluminum house.

Lest you think that digital means severe and impersonal, there are plenty of stylish digital weather stations. Oregon Scientific has several stylish weather stations, as does RainWise. Not all of them have the charm of the mercury thermometers and barometers, but with wireless, that's changing.

If you can't use wireless, you don't have to go analog unless you want to. There's something to be said for the ease of reading digital weather station displays. Plus, you're living in a wired world and you couldn't imagine life any other way!

I'd like a stationary weather station, what are my options?

Wall Weather Stations

One more handheld gadget to keep track of and you think you'll just lose it. Here's one idea that will leave you thunderstruck...or, thankfully, not. You can combine a wall clock with weather sensors. Choose a digital wall clock that has a built-in weather station.

Like all weather stations, a wall clock/thermometer combo measures the barometric pressure, even through stone, stucco or adobe. It can be quite stylish with optional wood finish, and in any case, will look cool in your home...better, at any rate, than you look trying to juggle your PDA, cell phone, remote, and baby monitor. Some tips:

--Always place clock weather stations in areas without too much electronic interference, such as hallways and rooms without computers and television sets.
--Make sure the area is well lighted and the display is easily readable.
--Don't hang too many paintings or posters near the weather station or the wall will look cluttered.
--Place wall sconces on either side of the weather station to enhance its LCD glow.

Above all, don't mistake the remote control for your TV remote or GameBoy. Consider getting a remote or handheld caddy.

Why do I need a digital weather station with an atomic clock?

Atomic Clocks and Digital Weather Stations

You just got used to setting the digital clock on your computer. Do you really need an atomic clock included in your weather station? Just what is an atomic clock anyway? It sounds like the title of a disaster movie of the week.

There's nothing disastrous or frightening about atomic clocks. they synchronize via radio signal with the local time. Most atomic clocks sold in the US are designed to pick up signals in the US and display Central, Eastern, Mountain or Pacific time as well as the calendar day. The atomic clock in your digital weather station never needs updating, unlike the clock on your computer.

What does this mean? It means that at 9:18 a.m., you can record the humidity level (nonexistent), and later at 3 p.m., you can record it again (bad hair day level). Or you can check the breeze (NW, 30 mph) and check it again (gale force, better bar the door).

If you want to keep track of weather trends with a journal, an atomic clock is ideal. That way, should you find yourself in your very own disaster movie, you can utter the line of every Movie-of-the-week beleaguered hero or heroine: "I knew the storm of the century was coming, but did you listen to me? Get inside before it's too late!"

Will my digital weather station know when to empty the rain bucket?

Rain Buckets and Digital Stations

“Hey, don't you have enough sense to empty the rain bucket?” Have you been hearing this a little too often?

It's not that you don't know about emptying the rain bucket for your digital weather station, it's just that hectic modern life has caught up with you. It's on your to-do list next to “clean out file drawers” and “climb Everest.”

Before you set out to find a Sherpa guide to clean your rain bucket, read your product manual. The rain bucket will automatically empty itself thanks to the digital sensors. Once the rain bucket collects enough precipitation so the rain gauge can tell you whether it's raining cats and dogs or just dogs, the rain sensor activates and the rain gauge empties itself.

Now when you search for the Sherpas, you'll be seeking their rappelling services. Just remember to come in out of the avalanche.

Should I buy an outdoor or indoor weather station?

Outdoor vs. Indoor

Your weather vane looks a trifle old-fashioned in a neighborhood full of DirecTV dishes, so you bought an outdoor weather station such as the WeatherHawk.

However, you hate going outdoors to check your weather're hardly the one-with-nature type. In that case, an indoor weather station is for you. Even combination outdoor/indoor weather stations such as the Oregon Scientific Complete Wireless Weather Station will work if you can bribe your spouse or kids to maintain and check it for you. Now you can get back to watching the Discovery Channel.

If, on the other hand, you don't mind the weather vane clashing with your satellite dish, you can build your own analog weather station with a mercury thermometer and rain can that you clean yourself. If you love high-tech, you can install the digital weather station and enjoy your backyard sanctuary.

Your climate and lifestyle may decide the issue for you. If you're not in good health, if you're not often home, or if the climate is perpetually rainy/snowing/too hot, an indoor system is your best choice. And yes, you can keep the weather vane.

How can I know if tomorrow will be humid?

Digital Weather Stations and Humidity

You may be ignoring the signs of humidity. Your hair has curled into Shirley Temple chic at ten o'clock at night. The lettuce you just bought today has wilted…in the crisper. The cat's fur is frizzy. To top it all off, you have the air conditioning on.

Weather stations can measure humidity each day, and outdoor digital thermo-hygrometers can send data about the humidity outside to your home digital weather station before your hair starts to look like Michael Jackson's from the 1970s. Since humidity tends to repeat itself, especially in damp climes, you'll be able to compare percentages every day—and know how much mousse to use.

Hot Tip: You might also want to use a stand-alone handheld digital weather station, which provides weather forecasts. You can read it from anywhere in the house, and place it where it's most needed...namely, your bathroom in the morning.

Why would I need a home weather station?

Why a Home Weather Station?

You have weather reports online—great, yet another bit of information to overload you. You have the newspaper, and let's not forget the Weather Channel. What would anyone need with a home weather station, other than the “isn't it cool” feeling you get when you order a digital weather station out of, say, the Sharper Image catalog?

We all know that weather affects us in ways we can't measure. Here are some signs you might need a weather station.

* You put sweaters on your tomato plants just in case there's a drop in temperature.
* You have allergies and you sneeze even before the pollen count rises.
* You wonder whether your uncle's arthritis can predict the weather, but frankly, your uncle falls asleep too much to be useful.
* You have kids. Enough said.
* You have a medical condition such as fibromyalgia that's makes you sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.

Unlike the latest news about Brad and Angelina, or depressing news about the latest forbidden food or plane disaster, weather is news you can use. You can't change the weather, but you can choose not to wait for your uncle's foot to tell you when it's going to rain.

If I live in California or a hot climate, do I need a weather station?

Hot, Hot, Hot=No Weather Station?

It's 90 degrees and sunny...again. Your local weatherman is scanning the trades for a job in Minneapolis. What's a weather enthusiast to do when the weather doesn't change?

Actually, in hot or mostly frozen/rainy climates, weather stations can be of great use. You don't just use weather stations to keep track of unpredictable weather. Some uses for weather stations in climates that don't vary:

* Predict humidity for those “dry heat” areas
* Predict snowfall so you can decide when to make a run to the store
* Let you know when the rain will let up (Seattle, are you listening?)
* Detect variations in dewpoint, which can signal changes in weather
* Keep track of cooler days and nights so you know how often to water plants in hot climates and how to regulate your automatic sprinkler system (don't waste water!)
* Measure pollen counts for the allergy-prone
* Detect wind changes (in the California desert, blowing sand can be a problem)

While you're at it, pass on this information to the local weatherperson...after all, always-warm weather isn't such a terrible fate, is it?

Will my weather station work outside the US?

International Weather Station

As if you didn't have enough to contend with abroad. Lost luggage, a case of the runs, lines at the airport, plus difficulties with electrical appliances...

You've been transferred to Australia or you have a fancy to live in Hong Kong. Most weather stations will work internationally. However, it may be wise to find a local substitute for your US radio-controlled or wireless product. Weather stations with atomic clocks in your host country will set themselves according to the local signals.

Other tips for staying wired to the weather abroad:

* Make sure there is a wireless weather tower where you live. If possible, research the country coverage.
* Buying from a local supplier makes sense, since you don't want to always order from the US. You don't want to deal with surcharges, customs, and mail delays.
* Choose an international antenna adapter, e.g. American International.
* Have local suppliers install your digital weather station. It's always good to have help when you need it!

Now if you could just get your cat or dog out of quarantine and be sure you won't insult anyone with your command of the language, your international worries will be over.

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Guru Spotlight
Susan Sayour