A wet finger will tell you which way the wind blows, but most of us rely on serially inaccurate apps or spray-tanned local meteorologists for detailed
A wet finger will tell you which way the wind blows, but most of us rely on serially inaccurate apps or spray-tanned local meteorologists for detailed readings. The Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station ($650)—a favorite of barometer-tracking fanatics—delivers a personal, hyperlocal forecast from your own backyard. A suite of highly accurate sensors tracks the plunging pressure that precedes a storm, the winds in the buildup, and the downpour that follows. You can also feed your data to Weather Underground, boosting the accuracy of their forecasting algorithm. All that aside, just imagine what it’ll do for your small talk.
Here’s how the instruments make their measurements:
2: Rain Collector
Precipitation falls into a bucket, through a debris screen, and onto a 5-inch-long seesaw mechanism. A vessel on either end holds 0.01 inches of water, so as the teeter-totter rocks back and forth, it’s also tallying the rainfall. The spikes keep birds away.
Six square inches of solar cells collect energy, while a capacitor and backup batteryhold enough voltage to keep the station running for up to a year without sunlight. Onboard processors ready sensor data to broadcast up to 1,000 feet via radio antenna.
A radiation shield protects a digital temperature and humidity sensor nestled inside. The white plastic reflects the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them, keeping the sensor accurate within 0.1 degree—from 40 below zero up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Every 2.5 seconds, the system sends metrics to a 7-inch-display-equipped control station. Using this data and an onboard barometer, it can generate forecasts for the next 12 to 48 hours. It also stores weather recaps going back years.