Happy to report that everything with the Weather station is running nicely now. I have finally solved the reception problems form the Anemometer by putting the transmitter and antenna up ontop of the tower rather than at the base. Over the years the foliage and trees have grown and reduced the signal strength between the anemometer and the weather station receiver in our house, some 300 meters away. It took a while to get this setup to work, we had to take the tower down several times to get it working correctly.
Tornado in Mansfield ?
Last Saturday, our neighbour a couple of doors down, Anthony Brown,
from Gan Gan Olive Grove along Campagnolos Road filmed what has been
confirmed to be a tornado.
This is the video of the tornado.
It's not the first time a 'twister' has hit the hills around here. About ten years back, another neighbour reported a tornado and there are still several rows of pine trees flattened from that event.
Interestingly, although we did not see a high wind speed at the time it happened (1:30 PM Sat 1st Oct 2011), there was a temporary wind shift from the South around to the North and then back again (as can be seen in the graph below) along with a small but clear peak in the wind speed. Right at the time of the peak gust at 1:30 there is also a clear swing in the wind direction around the to east aswell. There was also a peak in the temperature followed by a relatively quick drop.
Anthony contacted the BOM about the video and they responded with this,
Well there's certainly no doubt about it - definately a tornado. The synoptic environment was in fact very favourable for storm organisation and featured an upper low lifting into NSW with easterly flow over your region. Beneath this the surface flow was much more southerly giving good directional shear to promote updraft rotation. There was also a pronounced jet streak (150 knots) downstream and to the north of the region giving good anvil level exhaust for storms and promoting broader upward motion. The set up was somewhat unusual for Victorian tornadoes, as more typically surface winds are northeast to northwesterly with upper winds between the northwest and west, but the sense of rotation was the same for the storm cell you photographed.
I have passed along your email to my colleagues and have included your report in the Victorian Severe Storms database. Thanks for your efforts in reporting this event. Feel free to contact us in the future should you witness any other severe weather phenomena, as reports help us to ground truth warnings and relate what we see on radar and satellite to observed severe weather.
And also from Stuart re the Chart from the weather station,
Updates and Problems
I stripped down the humidity sensor this weekend, cleaned it and rewired it in the hope that the sensor would come back to life. Unfortunately it hasn't so will need replacing. There is still an intermittent bug in the wind readings, which read zero sometimes when there is light wind. This is something that requires the tower to be dropped to look further into (or a 50 foot crane !)
I've given the website a spring clean. At one point we had a hard
drive crash on the weather computer and lost allot of historical data
that we had hand entered, which is required to make some of the long
term graphs work correctly. I have entered this data back into the database
and fixed up a bunch of other stuff, including the monthly reports which
can be accessed from the pull down menu (Select Monthly Report) on the
weather site page. Included in each monthly report is the daily graph
for everyday back to 2006.
I also put a new forecast on the site. It's created by the weather station (Davis Vantage Pro II) and should really be taken with a grain of salt compared to official forecasts.
It also looks like we will have another weather station on the site soon also which I will have more news on when completed.
Town Weather Station
Some news on the town weather station idea. The original idea was to put a weather station on the roof of the shop, although not an ideal location it was the location available, then one day I was talking to Nicholas from High Country Reservations and we got talking about the radio mast next to the building and what a good place for an Anemometer (to measure the wind speed). It wasn't being used, so I approached the council, meanwhile, while waiting to hear back, plans where further expanded with Nicholas to put all of the weather equipment down at the HCR (Tourist Information Centre), since it is a far better location than above a shop and if I was going to the the anemometer right then I may as well do it all the best that is possible.
As it turns out the radio mast may well have a use reserved for it
for the future and therefore probably won't work out for the Anemometer.
That's entirely fine with me of course it's a very decent mast and I
can certainly understand the need for its use.
For anyone interested in siting standards and some interesting information about weather behavior, follow the following links,
There is also much more siting information available from other Weather organistations and government departments etc on the web.
I haven't given up on the idea however it needs some more thought put into it at this point to weigh up the options.
The new server has a quad core Xeon 3Ghz processor (really exciting stuff for computer geeks like me) and it is connected to a 1000Mbit datapipe.(that's big !!) Most servers in Australia run 2 - 10Mbit by comparison. The website should load very quickly (provided you are using a fast internet connetion). I plan to sell hosting on the server aswell as host the weather site. It has lots of spare power, even during the bussiest times it is literally only idling along.
Town Weather StaionI have heard back from the council and I should know soon if we can use the old radio tower outside of the Tourist Information Center.
Brute Force Attack on the server
There was a brute force attack on the server on 6th and 7th which caused it to run under a heavy load, making the page load slowly, or sometimes not at all. I've blocked the attack and all is well again.
I hope everyone had a great Xmas.
I'm sorry about the problems with the wind speed sensor (Anemometer). It's 300metres from the house on the hill up on a tower. It's wireless from the transmitter to the house and that all works fine, however the cabling from the transmitter at the base of the tower that runs to the sensor at the top of the tower has had a number of breaks. Some from fatigue and some from birds. The tower winds up and down and because of that the cables can't be fixed to the tower and instead just hang. Although the cables do have some support from a guy wire, in the wind they still move around, creating fatigue breaks. I keep repairing the breaks, but the solution will be to use heavier duty wire. I need to get 1-2 days free and low winds in order to lower the tower, redo the wiring and then get it all back up again. The cables that go to the camera are also broken and need replacing. The Anemometer also needs replacing at the same time.
Town Weather Station
I said a week, well over a week ago. I think it's best not to put a date on it ! I haven't had allot of spare time to work on it coming up on Xmas plus I have another possible siting option for the wind sensor that I want to look more into. That would mean more equipment to purchase and if it's all on one order the price is discounted. Hopefully I'll make some real progress on that in the New Year.
The track to the weather station.
While all the rain has been fantastic, there has been some damage to
the track that goes up to the weather station. The main track on our
property has been rendered unusable, it was a very steep goat track
at the best of times, rising 100m in altitude in a few hundred meters
of track . It now has 3-4 foot deep washouts all through it.
All the best for 2011
Town Weather Station
The Renovations at Mansfield Electronics and Computers are now complete at 21 Highett Street. We have new stock and new low prices.
Mansfield Electronics and Computers is funding Mansfield Weather 100%. I'll be purchasing and setting up the town weather station this week, once that is complete I will look into the Tolmie station.
I have repaired the Wind sensor problem. Everything is running normally
Today I had a chance to go right through the site and fix alot of things that were not working since the hard drive crash earlier this year. The live wind speed / direction should update faster and more often, the Sunrise / Sunset and Moon phases are now correct, the graphs are now displaying the correct Sunrise / Sunset time. Still some more small bugs to iron out though.
been working on an iPhone webpage for some time, today I finally got
it up and running, although it is still a work in progress.
It should work with all 'iPhones' not just the Apple brand.
Update - It looks like there is a bug in the iphone streaming. To make it update constantly, you may need to refresh the iPhone page in Safari twice using the little 3/4 Circle at the end of the URL. The issue is related to the page caching on some networks.
Please note the data updates your iPhone frequenctly. While the bandwidth usage is very low (except on the radar page), I would not suggest leaving Safari running with the site up for long periods (ie when you close your phone). To end Safari in iPhone, use the centre button to get back to the main screen, then double click the centre button quickly, then hold down your finger on the Safari Icon at the bottom until it starts to Wobble and then click the X box to close it, finally, click the centre button one more time to stop the wobble and then again to close the bar at the bottom. You should close all apps that you are not using as they can all use bandwidth and power ... even when your iPhone is sleeping.
Low Bandwidth Page
For those with slower connection I am making a lower bandwidth page. I know the site is slow at dailup speeds as our Next G normally hits its limit each month and we get slowed to 56k.
Usage Stats for Last 12 Months
be of interest to some. Here are the stats for Mansfield Weather for
the last 12 Months.
709 Gigabytes of data. (This is why we need a powerful server).
Well first I would like to get the Town station going and then Tolmie. After that I would like to setup a local lightning tracker that would give accurate strike locations. The limit is time and money (as with everything). The new stations are worth around $2000 each once setup, added to the monthly running costs. As stated above the site is entirely supported by our shop, Mansfield Electronics and Computers, 21 Highett Street.