Weather Journal for Gracewood

Last update: 14 Dec 2017 04:40

16-Apr-2016 19:26:33
Received admin email that Station 3 battery failure. This is the temp humidity station at Manor Creek. Replace the battery this evening. Had expected it to drain down in February or so. Got a few extra weeks out of it. Previous new battery was Nov. 14, 2015 - it lasted five months, one month longer than the one over the summer. Wonder if warm weather drains the battery more than colder weather.

Installed updated WeatherCat 2.3.0 build 86. It was available a couple of weeks ago. Just now noticed that.


14-Nov-2015 16:25:45
Replaced the temperature/humidity sensor in the Manor Creek weather location. Fortunately it was cold enough that the wasps building a nest in the baffle were too cold to come out and sting me. I was able to crush them and remover the nest without problem. I wonder if the propolis that was around the sensor might have caused it to malfunction. That seems doubtful as there wasn't much propolis and the sensor malfunctions back in the spring well before the wasps would have started building a nest.

I also replace the battery as the console had ceased recording any signal earlier this week. The Console has received the transmission from the new sensor and the humidity reading is consistent with the hilltop humidity. This battery was last replaced July 3, 2015. It lasted four months.

The replacement of the sensor is timely, not just because it was too cold for the wasps to sting me, but also because tomorrow morning temperatures will be in the thirties for the first time this season. I always like to monitor the cold to see if I record a new low.


10-Oct-2015 22:36:45
Manor Creek Temperature/Humidity station has been reporting erroneous humidity readings.Humidity data records start to be misreporting on May 11th! They are way to low. Called Davis Instruments. They are going to replace or repair it.
Installed new build of WeatherCat 2.2.2. There have been problems with it running on El Capitan. I'm still running Yosemite.


05-Oct-2015 18:54:53
With new Mac OS El Capitan being released WeatherCat has been updated to run properly on El Capitan. I haven't upgraded yet to El Capitan. WC is having some problems. Journal system is now restored.

Lots of rain the last week or so. Parts of SC have had 15 inches for rain. Bad flooding is the result.


03-Jul-2015 12:45:37
Late July 1, 2015 the Manor Creek temperature quit reading. Data stopped with a 75º temperature at 11:40 PM. Noticed yesterday afternoon. First thought perhaps a tree branch knocked it over as we had strong wind gusts (30 mph). Then figured perhaps the battery drained down. Today, a quick check confirmed the station was still intact. Next probable problem was the battery. Replace the battery short while ago. Console picked up the signal a few minutes later. Temperature/humidity sensors down by the creek at now operational. Battery lasted four months plus a few days - not particularly long. It doesn't get much direct sunlight down there so the solar panel is not much use; the station probably runs off of battery most of the time.


22-Feb-2015 15:36:19
New auxiliary temperature/humidity station is working well. Haven't calculated yet how much below the hilltop station the Manor Creek sensor is. Need to do that.
Meanwhile, the comparison between the two has been interesting. The Manor Creek sensor shows higher humidity almost always. If the humidity isn't higher it is equal to the Hilltop humidity. Haven't seen the Manor Creek humidity lower than the hilltop location. That makes sense as the small creek flows continuously down there and the sensor location is in a marshy area. It isn't puddling but the sand is quite wet with water just under the surface.
The temperature differences vary a noticeably but the most I have seen is 3º colder at the Manor Creek location. That appears to happen during the cold still nights; probably the cold air settles into the creek area. The other night, however, when it was cold and windy, temperature on the hilltop dropped more quickly than the creek sensor. Differences between the two thermometer occur mostly in the evening when things are cooling off and in the morning when it is warming up.

I like glancing at the differences and thinking through why the two temperatures are different. As mentioned above, the largest difference has been only 3º.


12-Feb-2015 22:50:01
Learned of a firmware update to the VP2 Console. A few algorithms are improved, apparently, as well as "more efficient code." Not sure how that all will help make the Console and data collection any better but I decided to go ahead an update. I'll probably never observe any noticeable difference in the equipment as a result.

Rebooted the weather server into Boot Camp running Windows XP. Downloaded the firmware updater for version 3.15 and ran it. The update went smoothly. Weather server was back up and running in under 10 minutes.

Older Consoles lose the internal sensor readings with the new firmware so they should not be updated. The latest firmware version the older consoles run is 1.9.

New auxiliary temperature/humidity station is functioning normally. It is named the Manor Creek Temperature station. Comparing the data between the Hilltop station and the Manor Creek station is interesting. The two data sets track along almost identically much of the time, but then I'll notice one or the other will get colder quicker or warm up faster.


10-Feb-2015 13:27:28
The auxiliary temperature/humidity station checked out well along side the main weather station sensors. The auxiliary station, I discovered, only increments at 1º F while the main station increments at .1º F. Thus there is a lag between the two stations. The main station, drops .6º or more before the auxiliary station drops 1º. But the two temperature readings track along very well within 1º of one another. The humidity readings also match up well. The auxiliary station may show a % or two less, to be expected with a slight temperature difference showing; the two stations are always within 1% - 2% RH.

So, time to place the auxiliary station at its permanent location down by the creek. The site is 290 feet from the house (measured to just in front of the study window) and I estimate it is 25 to 30' lower. Console is receiving the signal and now recording the auxiliary station temperature at its permanent site.

In order to prevent confusion between the two temperature/humidity stations the main temperature and humidity station is now designated as the Hilltop. The auxiliary station is tagged as Manor Creek.


08-Feb-2015 20:37:18
Been having fun tweaking the Gracewood Weather Station. The weather cam, situated in front of the house with a view of the bird feeders and the sunrise, needed resetting after I tweaking it. So I changed the setup. The cam now functions as its own server directly connected to the Internet. It streams live to the parent web site and FTP's an image every few minutes to Weather Underground. Have had a ball looking at the pictures and the live stream, including audio. Still need to make some adjustments to the location and electrical hookup; meanwhile, this temporary siting is working well.

The alternate temperature & humidity station arrived. Have set it up at the main station site in order to compare temperatures over time and see if the main temperature reading and the alternate are consistent. Once I assess the accuracy/consistency, I plan to permanently locate it down where the creek flows through the property. Am expecting temperatures will be cooler down there and humidity higher. We shall see. Not sure if the wireless transmission will reach the home console. May have to use a re-transmitter to bridge the distance.

Am noticing that the alternate temp/hum station doesn't increment in tenths of a degree. That is disappointing but not too big a deal.

Graced Weather Station running well.


21-Jan-2015 18:22:01
New webcam at the Gracewood Weather Station, after one glitch soon after it was set up, has now operated over a week without any problems. Watching the various images that come up throughout the day is fun. It catches a bird perched on the feeder from time to time. The sunrise always provides special gleams, glints and glances of light that one normally doesn?t notice when just watching the sunrise. All in all, having the weather cam has been fun.

The Weather Underground site wasn?t updating the image consistently. An email to their tech center brought a response suggesting that the upload frequency be lengthened somewhat and to double check ftp settings. The last two days or so the image seems to be updating consistently, but I haven?t been watching it closely.

Not sure if anyone else enjoys looking at the webcam images. Hopefully it is a fun, perhaps interesting, addition to weather hobbyists around the world.


14-Jan-2015 21:36:32
Am pleased to report that I have installed a weather cam with my weather station here in Gracewood. Purchased a D-Link DCS-2330L. The camera is considered a high definition camera and is certified for outdoor use. Currently it is setup on the side of the house facing eastward through the camellia bushes and looks out over the yard with the bird feeders in view. The image updates every 2 minutes. The high quality image and the fact that it is sited outside is a big improvement or the GWS original cam that was an USB cam placed in front of a room window. This new cam is much better.

Last night the cam went down. I don't know what happened. It required a hard re-boot which meant bringing it into the house and starting all over with the configuration. If it shows itself prone to locking up I will be sending it back and trying a different type of camera.

Also started rebroadcasting the local weather radio, WXK54. Six months ago I ceased that service. Decided to pick it back up. Weather underground receives the data and makes it available on the Internet.

So, the Gracewood Weather Station is back to full service. Perhaps I can continue to develop it some more. We shall see. Thought about adding another temperature/humidity sensor down in the bottom land to see how the temperature varies between the low lying area and the hilltop where the station is currently located.


03-Jan-2015 18:48:47
Setup a new webcam for the Gracewood weather station today. Actually had it operational late last night and worked with the settings and configurations throughout the day today.

Am using a D-Link DCS-2330L which is a HD (720P) cam rated outdoor use. The wireless feature allows it to be sited almost anywhere just so it is within range of the WiFi network. Additionally, it has Infrared capability so it can be used at night. The IR range, however, is only about 15 feet.

Placed it viewing to the north on the the east side of the house with a bird feeder in view. All in all it is working quite well. Electricity is currently (pun) run with an extension cord. Eventually I will need to put in more permanent electrical source for the cam when I decide whether or not to keep it.

Picture is uploaded to WeatherUnderground. From there I grab the image for two other websites which I have configured.


02-Jan-2015 16:59:23
Have been examining the weather data to make corrections. Back-filled in rain data for March, April and May when the rain gauge was not functioning correctly. Used Bush Field rain data to supplement what the Gracewood station recorded.

Also edited the wind data in WeatherCat for June 16, 2011. At that time I recorded a 97 mph gust which could not be corroborated by the nearby weather stations. I note also that my transmitter box under the anemometer had flipped over, allowing the electronics to get wet. So, using the new WeatherCat data editor, I deleted the 97 mph wind gusts. That leave the 52 mph gust on the day before, during the same storm, as the station high wind speed.


01-Jan-2015 10:44:32
Happy New Year - 2015!

Last night I updated all the server components.

Installed WeatherCat 2
Installed Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10
Installed USB to Serial Driver 3.1

Have not yet tried to update the Console Firmware. I may or may not. I don't know if I want to mess with it.

Today's weather looking great - sunny, cool, refreshing.


21-Jul-2014 10:41:57
Gracewood rain gauge has been malfunctioning since early March. Equipment now is functioning normally. A comparison of rainfall data from nearby NWS stations Bush Field and Daniel Field indicate that from March 1, 2014 through May 31, 2014 the Gracewood station underreported rainfall approximately 10 inches.

The gauge problem prompted a look at rainfall variation over the CSRA. Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a fair amount of variation of rainfall amongst the stations even though the stations are in local proximity.

For 2013...
Gracewood PWS station reported 57.47"
Bush Field NWS station reported 55.67"
Daniel Field NWS station reported 59.91"

Month by month rainfall comparison (inches) for 2014...

Month Gracewood Bush Field Daniel Field
Jan 3.35 2.48 2.48
Feb 3.11 3.73 3.76
Mar 1.13* 2.56 2.68
Apr 0.16* 4.59 4.24
May 0.96* 5.50 5.59
Jun 3.49 2.27 4.23
Jul (20th) 1.18 0.62 0.56

Total (YTD) 13.38" 21.75" 23.54"

*Gracewood rain gauge malfunctioning periodically during this month


30-Jan-2013 19:55:51
A serious cold front coming through this evening! Temperatures on the warm side this afternoon were in the upper 70's. On the cold side afternoon temperatures were in 40's and low 50's.
Front is creating quite strong winds. Peaked this evening at 43 mph.

The NWS weather radio piped through the Gracewood Weather server had 25 listeners at one time; that is the first time I have seen so many listening at once to the feed.


02-Aug-2012 09:28:48
The CSRA had a slight reprieve from the heat that last few days. Cloud cover and thunderstorms helped moderate the high temperatures, not to mention increasing the humidity.

Am setting up new version of the weather station software. The developer of Lightsoft Weather Center suspended development but has built a newer version of the of the program which he has named WeatherCat. So the best features of the old software are being rolled into the new version. WeatherCat is now running the weather station at Gracewood and has had no problems after 24 hours.


23-Jun-2012 20:19:16
Having retreated to air conditioned room to beat the heat and surf on the web I discovered a newly developed weather station server software named WeahterCat. Plan to switch to the new server software later this summer.

Had a station driver failure this morning which required a forced shut down of the server. Once restarted the station has been functioning normally.

A fellow weather station manager called earlier to see if I had noticed that his anemometer wasn't showing wind speed. A quick inspection out on site revealed a spider web had secured the wind cups keeping them from rotating! That is a first, though a while back I read a report of a guy's rain gauge not working. Similar cause, a spider had anchored the tip bucket so it wouldn't move.

Remember, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Enjoy the hot weather by being a weather watcher. By the way, there is a low developing in the Gulf of Mexico which will surely grow into a tropical storm if not a hurricane.


11-Dec-2011 15:46:21
As noted in the last journal entry, I discovered that the directional component of the anemometer has been non-functional for a number of weeks. The replacement circuit board arrived from California a few days ago; I removed and replaced the old circuit board this afternoon. That has fixed the problem. The directional indicator for the wind is now reading on the console.

Am going to take the weather station off-line for an hour or so in order to backup the system and data.


23-Nov-2011 15:32:47
Time for a belated update on the Gracewood Weather Station.

Discovered a few days ago that the directional component of the anemometer has not been working. Checking the data back through the weeks on Weather Underground, I surmise that the last day the wind vane was working was August 5, 2011. I guess my weather eye pays closer attention to the wind speed than the wind direction. Would have thought I'd notice a dysfunctional instrument sooner than three months after it quit working!

Called Davis Instruments for help on troubleshooting the problem. The diagnostic cable which Davis supplied enabled me to pinpoint the problem to the transmitter board of the anemometer rather than the wind vane itself. This is a good thing, because the anemometer is on the top of 40 ft mast which would require renting a lift in order to service it. The transmitter is at the bottom of the mast and easily reached on a step ladder.

Have ordered a replace transmitter circuit board and hope to have the problem resolved in a week to ten days.

Meanwhile, weather this day before Thanksgiving is delightfully clear, windy and a balmy 68º F. Very nice. Peak gust today has been, so far, 25 mph.


28-Jun-2011 15:20:58
Took weather server offline for about an hour this afternoon for routine software updates. Installed build 1813 for LWC. Updated computer software as well.


24-Jun-2011 15:43:54
Gracewood Weather Station was offline for about 30 minutes this afternoon for system maintenance. Installed system upgrade to the weather server, a Mac Mini running Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Systems are now back up and running normally.


22-Jun-2011 11:51:53
During the past seven days the CSRA has had numerous and severe thunderstorms three evenings. It started on Wednesday, June 15th. A front moved across the area with winds strongly out of the northeast and knocked out power all across the CSRA. As mentioned in an earlier blog entry the Gracewood weather station recorded a new high wind gust speed of 52 mph during that storm and Bush Field NWS shows a 67 mph gust.

Then late evening thunderstorms developed on Saturday, June 18th which, again produced gusts above 50 mph and rain. Finally, last night, Tuesday, June 21st, brought additional severe storms from the southwest quadrant with high wind gusts in addition to the heaviest rain amounts so far. GWS recorded 1.88 inches of rain overnight compared to .37 inches last Wednesday and .68 inches Saturday night.

I mention for curiosity's sake that during the storms last Wednesday, in the area of the GWS a large tree was blown off vertical by about 10º - 12º. The root ball was pulled up resulting in large raised area of ground off of one side of the trunk; but the roots didn't pull out of the ground. Last night's storms which came from the opposite direction reversed the damage! The tree is now nearly vertical again and the raised ground around the trunk is level. Curious what the wind will do sometimes. With the tree now weakened, I wouldn't be surprised to see it completely toppled after the next northeaster comes through.


21-Jun-2011 23:36:42
Storm overhead! Winds gusts in the 40 mph range. Rain rate reached 6 in/hr. Pretty nasty thunderstorm. Am monitoring live to key and eye on things here at the Gracewood weather station. The worst appears to have passed by now.


21-Jun-2011 23:24:50
Was away this evening when a thunderstorm passed through. Power was out for a little while. Caused strong winds and over 1.25 inches of rain. Other stations in the area show no rain or very little in comparison. Had a wind gust of 34 mph. Lots of tree debris on the roadways in the area. More storms beginning to roll through now though radar shows the storms passing Gracewood to the west of us. More rain just now starting.


19-Jun-2011 20:16:09
Observed yesterday that the anemometer was no longer sending data to the Console. Checked on the setup. While the wind cups and wind vane high on the mast looked fine (fortunately - because the only way to service that equipment is via a lift which is expensive to rent) the transmitter mounted lower down on the mast had flipped upside down. Evidently the winds pulled loose the top screw, which, I recall, I had not tightened particularly well when I installed it months ago. The whole unit rotated upside down. This exposed the ports on the bottom and rainwater leaked in. Certainly this caused a short in the electronics somewhere which cause the unit to fail.

It was last night's storm that resulted in the failure of the anemometer system, but perhaps it was the previous storm that cause the transmitter to flip over and cause the erroneous data of a 106 mph gust about which I wrote earlier. I don't know for sure, but it seems plausible.

I fixed the transmitter mounting and reset the unit but it still wasn't sending a signal. Decided to leave the housing door open to see if drying out might help, though dampness wasn't particularly noticeable. Later this afternoon I ran the transmitter test by turning on the fourth dip switch. That showed no problems. Closed the housing and checked to see if the Console was now getting a signal which it was. The problem is fixed.


18-Jun-2011 22:26:43
Lost power this evening about 8:25 PM. The backup battery system kept the weather station operative for approximately 30 minutes. Then I shut it down. Power came back on at 10:25 PM.

Have noticed that that the station receiver is no longer receiving a wind speed signal. Something may have happened to the anemometer during the storm gusts. Will have to check on that tomorrow.


16-Jun-2011 12:42:17
In the previous journal entry I recorded information about the GWS new record wind gust of 52 mph. That record is easily substantiated by weather data from other stations in the area, notably NWS at Bush Field. However, another bit of data isn't corroborated!

At 1 AM this morning, June 16th, the Gracewood weather server captured a 97 mph wind gust. The station Console which feeds the server actually shows a 106 mph gust. Something isn't right, obviously. If 106 mph is correct, then the all time official wind gust record of 74 mph in the CSRA was surpassed by a wide margin! A brief investigation into the data quickly indicates that such a wind gust cannot be substantiated.

By 1 AM in the morning the storms had already passed through the area, which, in itself, casts doubt on the accuracy of the data. Secondly, none of the surrounding weather stations give any indication of such strong winds at that time. Thirdly, wind data from the Gracewood station, itself, before and after the erroneous gust, doesn't support the skewed number! It can't be correct.

I called the manufacturer to see what might be up. Their tech support says that, while not common, such a misread is possible. Electronics can encounter problems with grounding, surges. etc. My station is well protected electronically, but the only feasible explanation for the erroneous reading has to be something with the electronics.

While such a high wind gust would be pretty exciting to brag about, I think I am just as glad that it didn't occur. We don't need the damage to property and lives that can occur with such high wind speeds.


16-Jun-2011 12:19:37
Wow! last night's storms that came through the CSRA packed a strong punch. Here at the Gracewood weather station, a new wind gust record was recorded at 52 mph. The former high wind gust was 49 mph. The gust wasn't an isolated puff either. Several gusts reached 50 and 51 mph and steady winds were easily in the forties. Quite a storm indeed.

Nearby Bush Field station from the National Weather Service corroborates the Gracewood data. Bush Field recorded a high gust of 67 mph at the time. This gust approaches the all time record 74 mph at Bush Field. Downed branches, lots of tree debris and a few entire trees laying over also point to some pretty strong winds out there last night.

Am pleased to note that the Gracewood station functioned admirably during the storm even with several power outages. The battery system kicked in and kept the station online throughout the storm.


14-Jun-2011 22:55:54
Installed build 1812 which, apparently, brings a slight improvement/correction in the humidity calculation.


14-Jun-2011 10:52:36
Testing of the weather server software continues with an installation, today, of the latest developer release of Lightsoft Weather Center - LWC 2.1 B.1811. Each of the releases addresses a bug in the software or offers a user interface refinement. Nonetheless, the program runs very well and has been trouble free for months. The developer is very conscientious; he follows up quickly to questions, receives suggestions with interest and loves the the weather hobby as well. I guess one must love following the weather to be motivated enough to develop software as complex as a weather server.


31-May-2011 18:00:38
Updated the firmware of the Console of the Vantage Pro 2 station. Tried to do this last night but the update failed and left the Console non-functional. Thus the station has been down the last 18 - 20 hours - to my dismay! A call into Davis Instruments tech support resulted in the instructions to simply retry the firmware updater. Retried a short while ago and it worked this time. Console is now working with the updated firmware.

Former firmware was 1.82
New firmware is 1.9

No other changes were made.


23-May-2011 20:00:52
Today's high temperature of 98.9 degrees is the highest May temperature on record here in Gracewood. However, in the interest of full disclosure, the records only go back to early 2007. Nonetheless, May is proving to be a warm month.*

Unfortunately, temperatures are only going to get warmer! No one will be surprised. In the last four years, the highest annual temperature occurred once in June, once in July and twice in August. The August, 2007 high of 108.61 degrees also sets the record for the highest temperature ever in Augusta, a fact confirmed by National Weather Service data from Bush Field.

With all the hot weather, I finally capitulated and turned on the A/C yesterday.

*Just noticed this official posting from Weather Underground:

"... Record high temperature tied at Augusta regional Bush Field GA...

the high temperature reached 99 degrees this afternoon at Augusta
regional Bush Field GA. This ties the old record of 99 set back in
1941."


16-May-2011, 10:00
This morning's low temperature sure felt refreshing after a spat of low temperatures last week that barely dipped into the sixties. The low this morning was 52 degrees. Memories, like mine, being short, I checked to see if that was the lowest temperature of the month. It is not. Back on the 5th, the morning low was 43 degrees. Nonetheless, the cool refreshing morning was most pleasant.

By the way, the 43 degree low was the lowest May temperature of the past five years here at Gracewood.


29-Apr-2011, 20:00
A hefty storm front came through last night. News reports tell of numerous tornadoes. While no tornadoes hit the Augusta area, the Gracewood weather station did tie its all time wind gust at 49 mph. The station first recorded a 49 mph wind gust in March of 2007. Unfortunately, the April 28, 2011 wind gust was recorded only by the station console, not the recording software. So, none of the web sites had a 49 mph gust uploaded. Instead, a gust of 34 mph just previous to the 49 mph was captured in the software and recorded to the online data sites.


06-Mar-2011 21:56:53
LWC software developed put up another development release of Lightsoft Weather Center. Installed it this evening; it appears to be working correctly.

Have had just shy of a 1/2 inch of rain which isn't all that much. Winds have been pretty good today. Had a high gust of 32 mph. The high wind so far this year is 34 mph. With spring fronts coming through higher winds are possible. The record high wind at the Gracewood Weather Station is 49 mph back in 2007.


22-Feb-2011 12:17:05
Examining Micro-climates
Personal Weather Stations provide a look at the area weather in finer detail than is possible via National Weather Service data alone. Comparing the weather data from nearby personal weather stations one can detect subtle changes in weather that reflect micro-climate conditions. The National Weather Service regional data misses these subtleties.

A couple of days ago the weather enthusiast operating the Milk Way Dairy Weather Station pointed out that the station picked up an unusual warming in the early morning hours. The change was dramatic, 7 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 minutes! The abrupt rise in temperature coincided with a change in the wind from calm to an easterly breeze which suggested that a frontal system was entering the area at that time. However, the data from the other personal weather stations in the area (Southern Richmond County Station and Gracewood Station as well as NWS at Bush Field) did not show the same abrupt increase in temperature - strange.

Temperature Comparisons

I was stymied in my search for an explanation, thinking perhaps the frontal system stalled over the Burke County area for a while and didn't reach a few miles north into Richmond County. But that didn't make sense because the wind data for all the stations was nearly the same, i.e. an easterly wind began at 4:30 AM that day. Only the Milky Way Dairy Weather Station showed the sudden temperature rise.

The explanation for this puzzling weather data inconsistency was to be found in a little detail concerning the micro-conditions of the Milky Way Dairy Weather Station, a detail, I might add, which was withheld until I was totally flummoxed by the situation. :-) The Milky Way Dairy Weather Station is just west of a field upon which was laid decomposing silage the day before. Through the night, the decomposing silage noticeably warmed the still air above the field. When the wind began to flow gently from the east at 4:30 AM, the pocket of warm air above the field moved over the weather station causing the abrupt rise in temperature seen on the graph.

I doubt that NWS guys in Columbia, SC even took notice of this micro-climate phenomenon. One thing is clear, though. It obviously shows man-caused "global" warming is real.


16-Feb-2011 22:08:27
Last September, the anemometer for the Gracewood Weather Station was installed on a higher and more stable mast. The new height is 42 feet, 7-8 feet higher than the previous installation and makes it less sheltered from the surrounding trees. Presumably the new height and stability will enable the anemometer to more accurately record the wind data. Alas, there is so much variation in the wind that determining whether or not the data is more accurate seems nearly impossible, at least at the level of my statistical abilities. However, when I examined the station wind data the weather software tabulates, I noticed data to which I had not previously given any attention - wind run. The table of data is below...

Wind Run(Miles)
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Annual Tot.
2011 1900.0 420.1 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 2320.09
2010 1805.6 1884.0 1917.1 1217.1 963.5 877.8 750.5 640.0 1026.8 1170.0 1197.0 1813.2 15262.52
2009 1622.0 1309.8 1728.2 1642.7 1470.1 1038.2 1009.6 689.1 1023.3 1059.2 1233.1 1566.9 15392.20
2008 1814.2 2023.8 2482.9 1654.5 1618.7 1323.5 1132.4 1417.3 1501.7 1650.2 1319.1 1560.6 19498.79
2007 798.8 2104.9 1642.0 1752.3 1704.4 1233.9 1145.0 1178.0 1446.6 1375.5 1482.9 1569.1 17433.34


Wind run is basically an accumulation of the miles that the wind has blown each day, week, month and year. The data allow comparisons year by year of how much wind has blown by during that period. A comparison of September, October, November and December of 2010, the months during which the new anemometer was active, with the same period the previous year gives a hint that the new installation is capturing more wind because three of the four months under comparison show a larger wind run than the previous year. Of course, there is no way of knowing if the increase in wind is the result of more accurate measurement or simply more wind. Oh well, after all the work that went into installing the new anemometer mast, I like to think it is measuring more accurately as one would expect.

Anemometer on "natural" mast

Anemometer1


New mast (anemometer not yet installed at time of photo)
Anemometer2



04-Feb-2011 22:24:37
Installed a new release (2.10) of the weather station software, Lightsoft Weather Center to test its stability for the developer. Doubled checked the settings and data collection. Seems to be operating without problems.



17-Jan-2011, 21:08
Augusta weather sure has been cold and wintery this season. Well, so has the rest of the USA. NBC reported recently that 49 of the 50 states has snow on the ground. Only Florida had no snow this past week.
Snowfall and winter precipitation last week filled up the rain gauge. So last week's precipitation slowly dripped as the snow in the rain gauge bucket slowly melted. The rain gauge is now clear of snow and ice and nicely measuring today's rainfall normally.


01-Dec-2010, 23:12
Ah, December has arrived. The cold temperatures of the day, and even colder forecast for the morning of the 2nd, surely indicate that the battle of the seasons, fall versus winter, has, inevitably, been won by winter.

Weather patterns are curious phenomena. When day to day patterns are compared more closely, interesting variances are discovered! For example, the typical temperature profile during a twenty-four hour period is gradual cooling overnight with the low reached just before sunrise. As day dawns, temperatures slowly warm and reach a high during the afternoon. Then, as evening progresses the temperature begins to cool again. A common variance of this profile might be temperatures begin to cool late in the morning instead of mid-afternoon due to a cold front passing through. Or heavy thunderstorms cool temperatures off drastically for a short period in the afternoon. And then warming begins again.

This week I observed an unusual variance of the typical daily temperature profile; at least I had never noticed one like this before. Beginning on Sunday, November 28th, the Gracewood thermometer reached an evening low of 42.5 degrees at 10:42 PM. Then the temperature slowly crept higher all night, all the next day and continued to move higher throughout a second night; finally, it peaked on Tuesday, November 30th at 3:12 PM with a high of 75.4 degrees. For 40.25 hours, the air temperature gradually warmed with drops no greater than 1 degree during that period. While we expect temperatures to rise during the day and occasionally through the night, to see the temperature continuously rise through two nights and nearly through two complete daytimes seems very unusual. The 40 hour gradual rise of temperature was from 42.5 degrees to 75.4, equalling 32.9 degrees of steady rise - less than an average of one degree per hour. I don't know if records of this sort of profile variances are kept, but I am inclined to think this was a rare event.


27-Nov-2010, 17:20
Thanksgiving, 2010 has moved into the past. Weather was unseasonably warm, but allowed for nice walks with visiting family. Have had a bit of rain as well, marking the arrival of a cold front and the promise of colder temperatures. This morning's low of 33.7 degrees was a surprise! Had expected high thirties. Forecast is for upper twenties tonight which would be the coldest temperatures since last March. A fire in the fireplace will be most welcomed.

The weather station has lost communication with the server, once yesterday morning and again this afternoon. Fortunately, I caught the lapse of service fairly promptly and restarted the server which restores the system. Not sure what caused the loss of communication; it is probably the driver for the hardware.


18-Nov-2010, 17:47
Routine maintenance today on the weather server. Updated the system software and security updates. Weather station has been running consistently and without problems.


09-Nov-2010, 11:05
The Augusta valley was almost crystal clear this morning. On my way to work, the visibility across the valley from the Tobacco Rd. ridge top to the North Augusta towers was as clear as I have ever seen it. Yesterday morning, a "sea" of fog hugged the valley floor but was shallow enough to allow a clear view across to North Augusta. Such panoramas sure provide uplifting thoughts in their beauty and tranquility.


21-Oct-2010, 20:41
The south Augusta weather team got a real "lift" today. Had to rent a construction lift again in order to service the PWS anemometers. All three weather stations had the same type of bird guard to keep birds from perching on the anemometer - think blue birds and mocking birds. Soon after being installed, the wood dowel rods shrunk which loosened the right angle PVC fitting; this allowed the horizontal perch to droop. It drooped enough to block the wind vane from rotating 360 degrees. So, we went in together to rent the lift in order to get to the top of the masts and replace the bird guards. The new design uses conduit bent into a right angle. Holes for the wire "barbs" were drilled and the wire put in place. Birds can't land on the "barbed" perch and the perch is just above the wind vane; so birds are prevented from landing on the vane. We are hopeful that the newly designed guard will work much longer than the wooden guards lasted.

Additionally, I took advantage of the access to the anemometer to adjust the orientation slightly to the north. The vane had been reading about ten degrees off in an easterly direction.


15-Oct-2010, 12:34
This week I took my environmental science class out for field trip to the mountains. The journey included a stop atop of Georgia's highest point, Brasstown Bald, 4784 feet. Our timing was perfect for obtaining outstanding views! A cold front swept through early in the morning with the high pressure zone right behind; its cool, dry air was practically haze free. From the top of Brasstown Bald, the Atlanta skyline was visible to the south and the Smokie Mountains to the north. The resident forest ranger elaborated that such views occur only several days a year.
On the way up, we tested for the weather phenomenon of decreasing air temperatures as elevation increases. The air temperature decreased from 16 degrees Celsius at 2,000 ft to 11 degrees Celsius at 4784 feet.


10-Oct-2010, 17:22
Fall weather has arrived in the CSRA - at least our version of fall weather which is highs in the eighties and lows in the fifties. While that is still warm, the eighties is definitely nicer than the mid-nineties of summer afternoons. Curiously, the break in the temperatures began almost on cue, the end of September. The last ninety degree day was September 25th pegging out at 96 degrees. Hopefully we won't see nineties again until May.

Frustratingly, this weekend I discovered that my improvised bird guard keeping birds from perching on the wind vane on top of the 42 foot mast has warped in the heat and blocks the wind vane from spinning 360 degrees. Taking care of that problem will require renting a lift again to get to the top of the mast. Maybe I can do it right this time. Hope so.

Speaking of hot weather, a blogger on Weather Underground has posted an interesting report on his research concerning the record for the hottest temperature every recorded. HIs study brings the record into doubt! It is worth reading...

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/article.html?entrynum=2


29-Sep-2010, 20:46
Gracewood Weather Station crash early this morning. I didn't notice the problem until late this evening. Restarted everything and uploaded the missed data. All seems to be functioning normally now.

Rainfall is often a topic of discussion in this weather blog because rainfall amounts are so variable. Commonly, one personal weather station (PWS) will show a significant difference in the amount of rainfall received as compared to another PWS not too far away. This past weekend, however, just the opposite happened. A fellow weather watcher noticed that in the south Richmond County area where there are several PWS, all showed exactly the same amount of rainfall - .37 inches. Four PWS recorded identical amounts of rainfall. NWS at Bush Field was very close in rainfall at .35 inches. Such uniformity in rainfall is unusual in my experience of weather watching. It wasn't long after that the stations each showed different amounts of rainfall. But for a brief period, they showed identical rainfall amounts. Remarkable.


21-Sep-2010, 21:05
Rainfall
One of the advantages of a personal weather station (PWS) is that is captures the weather at your place. Admittedly, the "weather at your place" isn't often all that different from the nearest National Weather Service (NWS) station. But it can be. This evening, the Gracewood Weather Station recorded .08 inches of rainfall. The only other station to record any rainfall at the same time was few miles south; it indicates only .01 inches rain fell. None of the other CSRA PWS show receiving any rainfall. Even NWS at Bush Field, just three miles to the east, had no rain. Apparently, a small thunderstorm passed over Gracewood and poured out its
ground refreshing droplets upon the forgotten hamlet south of Augusta. Hmm, it isn't forgotten by the Guy upstairs.


17-Sep-2010, 18:44
Mid-September Weather
Sure seems like the summer heat doesn't want to give up and go away this September. So I checked the weather records from the last few years here at GWS and Bush Field and found that September 2010 conditions are not really out-of-line with previous years. Now, I haven't tried to determine or research thirty year averages used by NWS for comparisons. I just looked at the last three years.

At GWS 9/2010 9/2009 9/2008 9/2007
Hi 97 (so far) 91 96 98
Lo 57.6 (so far) 50 56 53
rain .13" (so far) 3.54" .41" .82"

At Bush Field
Hi 98 92 95 97
Lo 52 48 54 48
rain .11" 3.63" .99" 1.44"

September 2009 was pretty nice - the coolest September temperatures of the lot.

The rain data shows what is obvious if you look at the parched grass in everyone's lawn - September rainfall is way off.

Always hopeful that cooler fall temperatures are just around the corner, I checked September high's and low's week by week. Surely the fourth week of September will show noticeably cooler temperatures than the first week. Alas, that doesn't seem to be the case. The fourth week of September over the last three years is just about as warm as the first week. Highs in the mid-nineties are typical the fourth week. And lows in the low sixties can be expected, with a drop into the fifties possible. So, all of you who are looking forward to cool fall temperatures in September like me, will either have to move north of the CSRA or wait for October.


10-Sep-2010, 18:00
Personal Weather Stations

With the ubiquitousness of weather information, Internet, Weather Channel, NOAA Weather Radio - to name a few sources, why would anyone want to have a personal weather station? Of course, people develop interests in all sorts of hobbies; meteorology is no exception. And the same advances in technology that have made weather data more accessible than ever before have also produced quality meteorological equipment at a price that makes it affordable to a hobbyist. Certainly, such interest and enthusiasm are sufficient to motivate one to operate a personal weather station. However, I also think there is additional justification to consider.

A personal weather station (PWS) provides the owner with the most important and meaningful weather data, i.e. the weather where one lives. The weather in your front/back yard is the most relevant. And the weather provided by the public media is not the same as that in your yard. it may be close, but it isn't the same. In some cases, PWS data is needed for professional reasons, such as a dairy farmer who needs to keep track of the rainfall on his fields in order to make correct decisions about how to manage those fields. Even for the homeowner, home weather data can provide helpful info about when to water the lawn, when to cover pipes at risk of freezing, or when to take cover in a bad storm. Therefore, the PWS has the key advantage of providing accurate information about the weather conditions in your yard. That is not just interesting and fun, it is also useful.


03-Sep-2010, 22:08
Headed home quickly after work this late afternoon in the midst of mid-ninety degree temperatures in order to work on setting up the anemometer on the new mast. Happily the project went along smoothly and the Gracewood weather station anemometer is installed on a much improved mast. The new mast, a telephone (utility) pole of 30 feet height with an 11 foot extension, places the top of the anemometer arm at 42 feet. This puts the gauge above the nearby obstructions and at least even with the tree tops across the yard. So it will have good exposure to the winds blowing across the sand hills ridge top on which Gracewood sits. In addition to the new and improved height of 7 feet, the new mast will be much less prone to swaying in strong winds and therefore should give more reliable wind speed readings.
The project was completed with the help of nearby friends with whom I share our hobby interest in weather, though the weather data collect by one helps with managing the farm as well. We rented a lift in order to reach the top of the mast. The views from the top were exhilarating, not to mention a bit unnerving. Fortunately the project proceeded with only minor difficulties. Tomorrow we will install two more anemometers at the weather stations down Hwy 25 in south Richmond County and northern Burke county.


02-Sep-2010, 22:01
September is welcomed with enthusiasm and anticipation of fall weather conditions. Of course the fall equinox is still a few weeks away. However, this week early morning temperatures have dropped into the sixties consistently for the first time since late June. Afternoon highs are still reaching the nineties with no signs of letting up. Summer conditions typically show a range of 20 - 22 degrees from the low to the high. Now the range is 26 - 30 degrees. The larger temperature range is possible because humidities have dropped somewhat. Lower humidity at night allows the air to cool off more.
This evening I took down the station anemometer in preparation for setting up the anemometer on a higher and much sturdier mast. The new installation should allow the station to record wind conditions more accurately. CWOP data analysis on the Gracewood station data verifies consistently accurate wind direction but the wind run is consistently low when compare to the nearby NWS station at Bush Field. This is, no doubt, a consequence of the somewhat sheltered location of the Gracewood station. The new mast will lift the anemometer another 6 feet to 41 feet. Thus the anemometer will be slightly less sheltered by the surrounding trees. Plus the sturdier mast should also allow more accurate wind speed recordings, particularly at wind speeds higher than 20 mph. The old mast tended to sway heavily in winds reaching 20 mph or more; this would absorb some of the force of the wind and under report the maximum wind speed.

Meanwhile, wind conditions will be unrecorded over the next 24 to 48 hours during the transition to the new anemometer mast.


13-Aug-2010, 22:05
I enjoy talking with fellow weather enthusiasts from time to time. We talk about weather conditions, equipment, etc. Recently received a report of an unusual equipment problem. The rain gauge quit registering rainfall. Upon further examination the owner discovered a bug had fallen into the rain bucket and partially blocked the flow of rainwater. Bugs get down in the bucket fairly often. However, usually some water would drip through. When he removed the rain bucket from the mounting platform to see the electronic gear underneath the reason for no rainfall being recorded was discovered. A spider had built a web in such a manner as to lock down the tilt lever and prevent it for registering drips of water. Any water that dripped through simply rolled off without triggering the tilt lever. Clever spider. I wonder if it caught any bugs!


06-Aug-2010, 18:52
This evening thunderstorms have begun to roll through the CSRA. NWS is reporting a severe storm on the eastern side of the CSRA affecting Aiken County. It is capable of producing 60 mph wind gusts. At this time Bush Field has recorded a gust of 52 mph, which is substantial. The nearby Gracewood station, which is somewhat shelter, recorded a 31 mph gust. The two stations south of Augusta haven't seen the storms yet.
Daniel Field caught a 40 mph gust! The nearby station at Westminster Schools pick up a 29 mph gust. The Waverly station is also in the west Augusta area. It captured a smaller gust of 11 mph.
It is no surprise that the NWS stations are showing higher wind gusts than the privately maintained stations. Ideal sites for an anemometer, i.e. conforming to National Meteorological Society requirements, typically are not found on private property. Local airports where most NWS monitoring sties are located have the required parameters to correctly place anemometer masts.


01-Aug-2010, 11:29
July turned out to be the wettest July since the Gracewood station started collecting data in 2007. 4.4 inches fell. The regular, if not frequent, rainfall has kept the grass green and growing.

The weather software I use, LIghtsoft Weather Center, is now officially released as version 2 and available for sale for other budding weather enthusiasts. (It is Mac computer only software.) Installed it on my system yesterday. The developer, out of Scotland, has done an exemplary job in both building a top notch weather software package and in being available for questions and help.


28-Jun-2010, 16:05
Moisture in the Atmosphere Part 2
In the previous installment, I discussed relative humidity and mentioned that there is a second measurement regularly used to quantify the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. This second measurement is dew point.
Simply stated, dew point is the temperature that the air must reach in order for the water vapor to condense and form liquid. In short, it is the temperature at which dew will form and it is dependent upon the level of moisture in the air.
The dew point increases with increased moisture content and, obviously, decreases with a decrease of moisture in the air. However, the dew point doesn't change with temperature increases as relative humidity does. As temperature increases through mid-day, the dew point will remain relatively steady. Therefore, dew point is, as an indicator of moisture content in the atmosphere, easier to comprehend than relative humidity and all of its "vagaries."
Use of dew point is particularly important in aviation because, not only does dew point indicate a what temperature dew will form, it also indicates when fog will form. Because fog quickly limits visibility, aviators need to know whether or not there is fog on the airstrip where they intend to land. Knowing the dew point and the air temperature, the pilot can assess the likelihood of fog. (Of course the weather forecast will let him know as well.)
Let's take one more step in the use of the concept of dew point. Temperature in the atmosphere decreases the higher up you go. This is because the radiative affect of the ground diminishes with elevation. Eventually, the temperature in the atmosphere will decrease to the dew point. When that happens, clouds form. So, whenever you see clouds high in the sky, the air temperature at that altitude has reached the dew point.
Another interesting phenomenon related to dew point has to do with overnight low temperatures. The overnight low is fairly easy to predict for the layman. Overnight lows, unless other factors impose themselves, will be nearly the same as the late evening dew point, Check it out! It works. The reason for this phenomenon is that as water starts to condense, it releases a tiny bit of heat, known as latent heat, which has the affect of warming the surrounding air. Therefore, as the air cools off at night and the temperature nears the dew point, there is a slight warming affect that prevents the air from getting any cooler than the dew point.
All in all, for the layman and meteorologist alike, dew point is a handy way to assess the moisture content of the air, much more so than relative humidity. Therefore, one might ask, "how do you measure dew point?" Good question. You can't measure dew point directly like you can relative humidity. It is a calculated measurement, easily completed with a computer algorithm, but not readily available to the average person on the street. You have to read the weather report or buy a weather station that computes the dew point for you.


26-Jun-2010, 17:41
Last night the Gracewood area was hit by thunderstorms, the first big thunderstorms in some time, perhaps all spring. Lightning caused brownouts and loss of electricity for brief periods of time. One of those interruptions broke down the weather station in spite of the battery backup system. Over 3 inches of rain fell before the storms moved on.

Typical of this time of year, the storms were fairly localized. Weather stations further south received less rain and below the Burke County Richmond County line, no rain. The band of thunderstorms crossed "perfectly" over central Richmond County.

Appreciated a call from a fellow weather enthusiast who was the first to notice that something was not quite right with the Gracewood station. His call prompted me to double check and get the system restored.


18-Jun-2010, 23:33
A couple of quick notes on the keeping the weather station operating...
In addition to keeping the hardware running consistently, i.e. the actual weather station and the computer, there is also the Internet connection. The weak link, of late, has been the Internet connection on a cable system.
A pattern began to develop over the last few weeks with the system losing the Internet connection in the afternoons. A technician finally came out to examine the wiring. The connectors and the grounding node were replaced and an obsolete filter removed. The servicing brought the Internet signal strength back to suitable levels. The technician was surprised that I had any Internet at all considering the weak signal strength caused by the wiring. Also, apparently, the afternoon heat can cause deterioration of the signal which would explain why my Internet was failing in the afternoons.
Soon after, there was a "region wide" outage that took the Internet down for an hour or so. Hopefully, Internet problems will be minimal for a while. These are some of the problems trying to maintain a weather data uploads in a consistent and reliable fashion. I can't imagine the struggles NWS has keeping their extensive network going! They do a terrific job with it.


13-Jun-2010, 23:08
Moisture in the Atmosphere
Three properties of the atmosphere are pivotal in determining the type of weather for a given area. These properties are air pressure, temperature and moisture content. Consider, first, moisture content. However, the three properties interact with one another, so narrowing the discussion to one of the three isn't completely possible.

Simply put, moisture content is the amount of water vapor, the gaseous form of water, in the air. On a side note, water is the only know compound to exist naturally in all three states, liquid, solid and gas, on the Earth. The water cycle is the continuous process in which water moves from liquid state to gas, back to liquid and, if cold enough, to solid.

Typically, two measurements of water vapor content of the atmosphere are used and announced in a weather report, relative humidity and dew point. Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air relative to the air's temperature. The figure is given in per cent. For example, today's high relative humidity here at the Gracewood station was 88%. Early this morning when the temperature was 76 degrees, water vapor filled the air to 88% of the air's capacity to hold water vapor at that temperature. (By the way, that is a rather uncomfortable level of humidity!) As the temperature rose through the day, the relative humidity decreased - not because there was actually less moisture, but because, the capacity of the air to hold more water vapor increases as temperature increases. So, by 3 PM this afternoon when the temperature was nearly 100 degrees, the relative humidity was at its lowest of the day at 37%. What changed wasn't the absolute amount of water vapor in the air, but the capacity of the air to hold water vapor. Temperature and relative humidity have an inverse relationship - as temperature goes up its capacity to hold moisture increases; therefore the relative humidity goes down.

Of course, this trend isn't always obvious, i.e. is complicated, because moisture can be and is introduced into an area or removed even as the temperatures are changing. Moisture can be brought in from the ocean, from over a large lake or even a big thunderstorm. Therefore, the relative humidity changes because the air temperature changed, or more water vapor was introduced into the region.

No doubt this interaction between temperature, moisture content and relative humidity is a bit baffling. And it is certainly a "moving target", that is to say, that the relative humidity is constantly in flux. I think the average meteorologist found it confusing as well and that is why the second common measurement of moisture content, dew point, is used. On the next installment, I will talk about dew point.


02-Jun-2010, 15:39
Weather Radio Part 2
In part 1, the four NWS radio broadcasts with reception in the CSRA were identified. However, not everyone can receive all four signals consistently. So some trial and error may be needed to determine which broadcast can be heard most reliably at your location; then set your weather station on that signal.

However, one may find, as is case in my location, that two or three of the weather broadcasts can be reliably received. In this situation, other important considerations should be taken into account in order to decide which weather broadcast on which to tune your weather radio.

In my judgment, the most critical service that the NOAA broadcast provides is the alert of potentially dangerous weather. Regular weather conditions and forecasts are helpful but available through other means, Internet, TV, FM & AM radio, etc. However, only NOAA weather radio provides an alert system that will sound a warning 24/7. Considering that dangerous weather so often develops in the middle of the night when one is sleeping, this function is vital. Therefore, one's choice of weather channels should be the channel that provides alerts for your county. NWS web site indicates that the CSRA weather broadcasts differ significantly in this aspect. Here are the details:

1. Waynesboro (WXM88, 375 watts) on 162.425 (channel 2). Provides alerts for only two counties, Burke and Barnwell.

2. Aiken (WNG627, 300 watts) on 162.450 (channel 3). Provides alerts for four counties - Columbia, Richmond in Georgia; Aiken and Edgefield in South Carolina.

3. Barnwell (KHC29, 1,000 watts) on 162.500 (channel 5). Provides alerts for eleven counties, four in the eastern Georgia and seven in western South Carolina region.

4. Augusta (WXK54, 1,000 watts) on 162.55 (channel 7). Provides alerts for twenty-two counties, sixteen Georgia counties and six South Carolina counties.

The best weather channel to choose is the station with the most reliable reception in your area and provides alerts for your county. Ostensibly, the best choice would be the Augusta broadcast on channel 7. It has a strong signal and provides alerts for the most counties. But there is a caveat. In my experience with listening to weather radio in the CSRA over the last couple of years, the transmitter in Wrens, Georgia that provides the Augusta weather broadcast has proven to be quite unreliable. All too often the transmitter fails in bad weather, the very occasion when one needs the service the most! So, I can not recommend channel 7 as one's primary weather channel unless it is the only one from which you can receive a signal. Most often I use the Aiken broadcast, channel 3. I have never known it to have an equipment failure and it does provide alerts for the CSRA.

Les Cimes - Weather Hobbyist


31-May-2010, 20:37
Gracewood weather station has been down nearly 24 hours. I am always amazed how it seems that technological problems with the weather station creep up when I am out of town and can't be on hand to troubleshoot the problem. This time the problem was with the router. It needed rebooting which immediately reconnected the weather station to the Internet and re-started the data uploads. The software and computer were operating just fine this time around. This was my first internet failure in a long time.
The weather software uploads the missed data to Weather Underground, backfilling in the graphs and records. CWOP doesn't receive historical data, so there will be a gap in the weather records on that site for the Gracewood station. The custom weather page for Gracewood weather will also update the missed data.


24-May-2010, 20:20
Weather Radio Part 1
Weather conditions, forecasts and alerts are provided by the National Weather Service (NWS) over their NOAA Weather Radio system . Listening to these weather reports requires a radio designed specifically for the weather radio system and can be purchased at any electronics store. (I bought a nice one at a Publics grocery once.)
Typically, weather radios in the Augusta area, CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) can pick up four signals on the NOAA Weather Radio network. Each of these four weather broadcasts is published by the West Columbia, SC National Weather Service office located at Columbia, SC airport. Augusta Bush Field use to have a NWS office as well, but downsizing and modernizing by NWS in the 1990's resulted in the Augusta office being closed.

The four weather radio stations whose broadcast range extends into the CSRA are:

1. Waynesboro (WXM88, 375 watts) on 162.425 (channel 2). This transmitter is located in Shell Bluff.

2. Aiken (WNG627, 300 watts) on 162.450 (channel 3). It's transmitter is in the Aiken area.

3. Barnwell (KHC29, 1,000 watts) on 162.500 (channel 5). The transmitter is in Barnwell.

4. Augusta (WXK54, 1,000 watts) on 162.55 (channel 7). The transmission comes from Wrens.

NWS also broadcasts on three other frequencies, but there are no signals on these channels (1,4,6) which can be heard in the CSRA.

The important question to be answered is, "Which radio broadcast should one listen to?"

The first important consideration is signal strength. Listen to the broadcast that your weather radio receives with the least amount of problems. Obviously, the usefulness of the radio report is lost if you can't hear the broadcast reliably. So, it is important to try all four of the broadcasts to determine which one is best heard at your location. If more than one signal can be consistently heard at your location, then there are other aspects of the weather broadcast to give thought to.

Look for part 2 on NOAA Weather Radio in a future journal entry.

from Les Cimes, weather hobbyist



22-May-2010, 14:55
Rain returned to the CSRA this week. A look at the rainfall amounts around the area through noon today shows that areas south of Augusta received close to .5 inches. Thus the south Richmond County station recorded .52 inches and the Milky Way Dairy station, a bit further south marked .44 inches.
Moving northward from the southern CSRA, one finds that the rainfall amounts drop off some. The stations in Gracewood and Bush Field measured, respectively, .27 inches and .24 inches, almost half of what the southern end of the area received.
The amounts jump back up in the west Augusta area. Daniel Field recorded this week 1.01 inches - the highest in the CSRA, while the Waverly station and Westminster Schools caught .83 inches and .76 inches respectively.So there is quite a bit of variation. I suspect that as thunderstorms return to the afternoons of the summer days that the localization of the rainfall amounts will become more pronounced.
Psalm 147:8 seems appropriate... "He covers the heavens with the clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills." (ESV)


18-May-2010, 19:11
The developer of the station software released another update which I have installed and am now using. The previous version crashed early last night. So my station was not uploading to the Net until I restarted it nearly 16 hours later. However, the missed data uploaded retrospectively on the Weather Underground site.

Rainfall yesterday brought a tenth of an inch. It certainly helps remove the dryness but isn't all that much. The front that is slowly moving through will bring some relief from rising temperatures. Lows tomorrow morning could touch the fifties. That is welcomed.


10-May-2010, 22:35
A few days ago, I installed an updated, albeit, "alpha" version (LWC2.0.90) of Lightsoft Weather Center, the software that brings the weather data to the Net for the Gracewood weather station. This updated version has the ability to upload historical weather data to Weather Underground. So, if the computer goes down, the missed weather data will upload later when the system is up and running again.
Am also working with custom web pages for the station for the first time. A fellow weather hobbyist from over in Columbia has contributed a pretty handy template for laying out a lot of weather data in a very convenient, easy to read format. My appreciation to Todd for sharing his knowledgeable web design skills by providing a template out of which to build a great weather page.
Had a trace of rain this evening but not enough to trigger the rain gauge. A few miles below my station in south Richmond County the passing clouds dropped .06 inches. Bush Field didn't register any rainfall either. Interesting how localize rainfall can be.


08-May-2010, 16:08
Once again, the CSRA is seeing dramatic changes in the weather. Perhaps the most obvious, again, is the increase in the winds today. Not so obvious, however, is the drop in the dew point. The high dew point over the last couple of days has been 75 degrees. Today the dew point has dropped over 30 degrees to a low of 44 degrees. So, the air is a lot drier. The low humidity, along with the nice winds make the high temperature of 89 degrees seem less intense. Note, the lowest dew point of the year was back on January 11 at 4 degrees! Now that is pretty dry air. Accompanying the dramatic changes will be much lower lows. Forecasters are calling lows in the low fifties tomorrow and upper forties Monday morning. The afternoon heat dissipates much more rapidly when the air is drier.


02-May-2010, 22:00
Spent the weekend in the mountains of north Georgia. While the weather up there was cool, in the sixties, temperatures here in Augusta peaked at 93 degrees today. I sure don't look forward to the nineties.

Spring is now well advanced in Augusta, perhaps a bit delayed according to the preferences of the Masters managers trying to get the peak blooming period to coincide with the golf tournament. Dogwoods are finished blossoming, as are most azaleas. All the trees are green and, of course, the yard needed mowing recently. Well, this weekend, I may have found the last refuge of winter in Georgia. The top of Brasstown Bald Mountain, the highest peak in Georgia at 4,784 feet, was still mostly covered with bare trees. Leaves were just beginning to peep out of the buds. Some of the bushes had leaves, but mostly the typical signs of spring were just beginning to show. A quick drive back down the mountain brought me back into the fullness of spring with many wildflowers along the stream banks and nature trails.


28-Apr-2010, 23:37
The very noticeable weather phenomenon the last several days has been the wind. Wow! it has been really blowing out there. My weebly-wobbly anemometer mast hasn't prevented by anemometer from catching some pretty good gusts. The highest so far was 32 mph Tuesday. The speed of gusts has been in the mid-twenty mph the last couple of days.
In comparison, Bush Field recorded a gust of 49 mph yesterday! Daniel Field showed a 39 mph gust. So there has been some pretty good blow'in in the wind. I have had a fair amount of debris in the yard and along the neighborhood street from it, but no large branches blew off, fortunately.
Colder temperatures have been nice as well, getting into the mid-forties. It won't be long before we see lows bottoming out above seventy degrees. I will long for the fall weather at that point.


25-Apr-2010, 21:17
At last some rain! My station received .93 inches, mostly Saturday night and Sunday morning. Bush Field shows a little less at .86 inches. It was enough to re-soak the ground and freshen all the plants.
I often wonder why the Augusta area has such inconsistent rainfall. We seem to go from one dry spell to another with a bit of rain in between. While annual rainfall amounts show a fair amount of rainfall, I think its affect is compromised by raining in spurts instead of spread out evenly over the course of a month. A look at global wind patterns might give a clue as to why Augusta has inconsistent rainfall. Augusta, situated on the 32 parallel is right on the edge of the sinking winds of the Hadley Cells. Sinking winds have a drying affect upon the weather. The Sahara Desert is caused principally by this effect of sinking winds. While Augusta certainly isn't as dry as the Sahara, it is reasonable that our climate is influenced by the Hadley Cell, moderated, of course, by other factors.
Scientific understanding aside, it is nice to have a fresh rain in the area.
Ciao.


20-Apr-2010, 19:05
Today's forecast of 40% chance of rain, indeed, brought a bit of rain. Showing .01 inches - a little is better than none. Afternoon cloud cover caused the day's high of 75 degrees to register early, just after one PM. Afternoon highs are usually around 5 PM. Today's early peak has allowed the temperature to drop below 70 degrees just after 4 PM. Meanwhile, spring weather has been very dry. Where are the thunderstorms and the heavy rains of passing cold fronts? Our release this past winter from drought conditions may be short lived if this pattern keeps up.

Based on the WU statistics, Bush Field recorded the state of Georgia's low temperature this morning. I wonder how often that happens. Bush Field does have a tendency to catch cooler temperatures at night. For example, Nearby NWS Daniel Field station showed a low of 53 degrees this morning 8 degrees higher than Bush Field.

Weather Underground's new full screen Interactive WunderMap is terrific to use; it's easy to get a "bird's eye view" of the region's weather and what all the data stations are recording.

Note, I noticed a bug in the Personal Weather Station page counter. The counter accidentally resets back to zero around the 10th of each month instead of counting up through the whole month. WU tech support is aware of the problem, but fixing it isn't a high priority - not that page hits are a reliable indicator of the popularity of a weather station; every reload is counted as a hit. So one visitor can reload the page multiple times which inflates the count artificially.



15-Apr-2010, 21:23
Clear and dry skies (Dew Point is 53 degrees) tonight allowed a great view of the waxing crescent moon with Venus poised above and to the left of the crescent and the glow of the setting sun providing a soft curtain of light behind. Such conjunctions of heavenly bodies are always a blessing to see. Mercury is nearby as well, but I my horizon was too high for me to see it.

Visited the the site of another recently setup weather station located in west Augusta (Waverly subdivision). The amazing thing about this site is that the station manager wrote the software for interfacing with the weather instruments himself on a Linux machine. It was fascinating chatting with him and seeing the setup. The site is a difficult one in not allowing for "ideal" siting according the NWS standards, but the location will certainly be fun to follow and useful for discerning micro-weather conditions, a topic which I find particularly fascinating.


14-Apr-2010, 21:20
Well, the big tournament is over and life in Augusta quiets back down to more normal levels. Augusta goes all out for Master Tournament. Even the weather often seems to cooperate with the golf schedule. This year the weather couldn't have been better. A bit of rain late Thursday served to wash pollen out of the air and bring in cooler temperatures for the players. While I think perhaps the peak flowering period missed the tournament, nonetheless, the azaleas, dogwoods and redbuds have been beautiful.

Low temperatures in the early mornings are still in the forties which is nice for keeping the air conditioning needs to a minimum. Afternoon highs in the upper seventies and low eighties are enhancing everyone's spring fever, especially at the local schools where anticipation of summer vacation is surely growing in the minds of the students.

The high temperature so far this April is 92 degrees. Low 42 degrees.

Two new weather stations are now online in the area with Weather Underground. South Richmond County just came on over the weekend; and this evening Milky Way Dairy just over the county line into Burke County is up and running. Welcome to Nevin and Floyd, amateur meteorologists operating, respectively, the two new weather stations.


09-Apr-2010, 23:39
A spring cold is on its way with low forty degree temperatures predicted for the morning. This week in 2009 the low reached 34 degrees! In 2008 mid-April had a 32 degree low. So cold temperatures are not unusual for April.
After the .20 inches of rain, the pollen is much less of a nuisance, a most welcomed relief.
Had a fun day checking out potential sites for new weather stations for friends, one just across the county line in Burke County and the other in south Richmond County a few miles north of the Burke County line. Hope we can get these new stations operative and uploading to the net in a few weeks.


06-Apr-2010, 22:18
Very warm and dry weather conditions for the last week to ten days have allowed the pine pollen to proliferate. Dust clouds of pollen blow across the yard; the visibility across the Augusta valley looking northward into North Augusta is obscured. Afternoon temperatures have broken into the nineties for the first time since last fall. Fortunately, rain is in the forecast for Thursday afternoon and night. A good rain will clean the air and wash away the pollen.


02-Apr-2010, 11:46
Good Friday! And today's fine spring weather with mild temperatures, blooming flowers and greening trees foretell of the resurrection and Easter morning.
On a more mundane level, we sure could use a bit of cleansing rain. Pollen this morning is so thick as to cloud the air in a fog like manner. Dry conditions and light winds are perfect for the dust clouds of pollen. A good rainfall would take care of all of that.
Early this week I enjoyed a visit from an agriculturalist who accesses the weather station data regularly to help with farming decisions in nearby Burke County. Just when I was beginning to think no one was paying any attention to the Gracewood weather station, he dropped in to see the installation and to inquire about the equipment. Am glad to know that there is some interest in the data other than just my own. Thanks, Floyd!


21-Mar-2010, 22:43
Installed latest beta release of LWC2 version 0.6.0 build 3125. Am examining its features and capabilities to see what has changed.
Spring is officially here, yesterday being the spring equinox.


06-Jan-2010, 21:08
Installed LWC2_0.5.0. This is the latest beta release of LWC. Includes new features for webcam use with LWC.
Weather this week has been cold. This is the longest cold spell I can remember for some time. Temperatures are in the low twenties at night and barely break out of the thirties during the day.


31-Dec-2009, 16:44
Just installed LWC2 on a new Mac Mini. Program is running well on this capable computer, much better than on the ten year old G3 Mac tower. Weather on this last day of 2009 is rainy, foggy - good day to stay inside and play on the computer.


03-Nov-2009, 21:58
Am now using LWC 2.035 on a test basis. Fall weather conditions have returned after a period of unseasonably warm and humid conditions. Clear skies and cool nights are with us for a while.


19-Apr-2009, 21:32
Installed LWC 2.02 this evening. It started up without problem. Asked for permissions promptly. Downloaded historical data. It is now uploading fresh data to WU and CWOP.

Weather station is functioning normally.


23-Mar-2009, 21:50
Installed and now using the latest beta release of LWC, 2.0.12.


03-Mar-2009, 22:25
Am installing LWC2.01, the latest release that sports a new internal architecture.


23-Dec-2008, 21:57
Warm weather is returning to the Augusta area. Early morning lows in the lower twenties will give way to mid to high thirties; and highs will be back on the upper sixties.
Replaced the transmitter board on the station. Evidently a defect was causing premature run-down of the battery. Hopefully the new circuit board will resolve the problem. Lost about three hours of data last night due to the battery running too low.
Cleaned the rain gauge at the same time. All systems are function normally.


30-Nov-2008, 22:20
Am now using LWC version 2, a beta release with a new architecture that will expand it capabilities and flexibilities. Rain has been falling for two days bringing 2.63 inches of rain to Gracewood.


19-Oct-2008, 12:51
Discovered a little problem this morning with the anemometer. The bird perch placed above the anemometer to keep birds from alighting on the wind vane was blocking the vane from swiveling 360 degrees. Evidently an extra heavy bird used the perch and jammed it down on top of the vane. I quickly climbed up the mast with a long extension pole which I used to push the perch back up above the anemometer. Thus the problem is fixed, at least until another overweight bird land on the perch.


21-Sep-2008, 20:35
A light rain is falling this evening. Cooler temperatures are most welcomed!


13-Sep-2008, 12:56
Purchased and installed the fan-aspirated radiation shield kit on the Vantage Pro 2. The weather was inoperative for a couple of hours during the installation. Slight noise from the fan operating when there is enough sunlight to activate the solar panel to power the fan confirms that it is functioning properly. Curiously, the installation instructions required that the relative humidity sensor be turn over. Evidently, the original position of the RH sensor was upside down and prone to incorrect readings and subject to dust and dirt accumulation.
I cleaned the radiation shield. The weather station is operating normally. Hopefully, the fan-aspirated radiation shield will allow for more accurate RH readings and temperature readings during the hot humid Georgia afternoons.


20-May-2008, 16:57
Just an hour ago a severe thunderstorm came through dropping hail, a half inch of rain and heavy winds. Outside temperature dropped over 15 dgrees F. Many leaves have been stripped off the the trees. Probably will have roof damage; the car is now severly dimpled. Now, one hour later, the sun is shining and skies clear.


10-Apr-2008, 13:10
The Masters Golf Tournament has begun in Augusta! The weather is terrific for golfer and spectator alike. Early morning heavy fog may have delayed tee times. (Observe the merged temperature and dew point lines on the graph.) Spring blooms are well along their way and the last of the bare trees is now bearing its leaves. Curious that it is fall colors that always captured attention but the colors of early spring with all of its hues of green, blossoms and freshness shouldn't be ignored.


31-Mar-2008, 16:40
Weather has been overcast and rainy this past weekend. The rain has been needed, as it usually is in the sand hills between the coastal plains and the foothills where Gracewood is located. Temperatures have remained cool and I am in no hurry for the hotter temperatures of late spring and summer just around the corner.
The VP2 console, which has been warning of a low battery on the ISS for some time quit giving the warning. Perhaps the battery finally died. In any case, I replace the battery today so as to avoid losing data overnight when the solar panel isn't generating power.



16-Mar-2008, 15:08
Augusta is having a beautiful, you might say idyllic, day of clear skies, mild temperatures and a delightful breeze this first day of Holy Week, Palm Sunday.

In contrast, a serious storm front came through yesterday evening spawning tornadoes, hail and, in Aiken county across the river, a curfew was imposed for public safety purposes. Gracewood was spared; radar showed that storms passed just to the north and the south of us, leaving only a quarter inch of rainfall and 30 mph gusts of wind in the neighborhood.


07-Mar-2008, 06:29
Expecting a full day of overcast rainy skies. This may be winter's last gasp in the south. Weather of this past week has been balmy and very pleasant.


05-Feb-2008, 23:07
Augusta area recorded a new record high for the day. At the NWS station, high was 81 deg F. Here at Gracewood, slightly higher elevation, high was 80 deg. F


03-Feb-2008, 12:26
Clear, cool morning with hopes for a warm afternoon full of sunshine. Switched UW uploads to 20 minutes and Rapid Fire mode to 10 seconds.


02-Feb-2008, 08:28
Low this morning was 30 degrees. While not real cold, it did produce a nice frost that was pretty in the early morning sunshine.


31-Jan-2008, 22:25
Rain has been fairly heavy at times this evening. The area needs it badly.


30-Jan-2008, 19:48
Installed new weather station software, Lightsoft Weather Center. It is capturing data from the Davis Instruments Vantage Pro 2, a wireless weather console.