Mansfield Weather News



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.
Well done Anthony and thanks for sharing it with everyone :)

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,

Hi Anthony,

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.


Stuart Coombs

Duty forecaster,
Victorian Regional Office.

And also from Stuart re the Chart from the weather station,


Hi Steve,

Such behaviour of wind as you have documented with your equipment could well have been associated with the circulation of the parent thunderstorm associated with the tornado. Tornadic thunderstorms are usually associated with the persistent rotating updraft and small scale low pressure system called a mesocyclone. As one of these passes by a recording station, relatively rapid changes in wind direction are common with a peak in wind speed either associated with an embedded tornado circulation, or in occasion with the arrival of the rear flank downdraft (RFD) which wraps around the circulation from the back. The mesocyclone often resembles a large scale low pressure system with a warm and cold front - and the spike in temperature was probably associated with the warm sector of such a circulation. In addition there are some small scale fluctiations in pressure which may have been associated with the outskirts of the mesocyclone at your location with the pressure jumping after a small fall with the onset of cooler RFD airflow. The tornado was probably only 10s of metres across at the ground with its violent circulation, so the fact that you didn't register a much higher gust isn't that surprising even if it passed very close by.

All in all this is an interesting set of data which seems to document a near miss by a tornado and the broader circulation of the parent thunderstorm,

Thanks for passing it on,

Stuart Coombs,

Duty forecaster,
Victorian Regional Office.
Bureau of Meteorology.



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.

It does make a difference where the weather station equipment is sited, there are standards designed to provide comparable and as accurate as possible data. One standard for example, is that wind should be measured 10M above the ground and away from buildings.

For anyone interested in siting standards and some interesting information about weather behavior, follow the following links,
CWOP (Citizen Weather Observer Program) as an U.S based program, but used world wide. There guidelines for CWOP aren't as stringent as for the BOM, some of their siting information is available at,

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.


Server Stuff

I've moved the site to a new server. I have been trying a new cloud server recently. Cloud's are all the rage at the moment, however I wasn't happy with the performance, it just didn't have enough power (poor I/O speed, which is a typical problem with cloud servers). . It ran the website ok when everything was going well, but a small problem, like an attack on the server (which is not uncommon) would slow it down too much. Even the daily backup was bringing it to a crawl.

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 Staion

I 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.

Xmas News

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.
I now use another track which runs through several properties along the ridge line to get up to the weather station, however this track is also almost impassable and much longer than the track I normally use. Only a few days ago my neighbour ripped out a 2 inch square piece of metal from the front wishbone (where the shock is mounted) of his 4x4 driving along that track.. My cars front windscreen has several major cracks in it from the track too. Infact I was informed by the law just a couple of days ago that I need to get it fixed ! And yes, I agree I do. Anyway, I can't make multiple quick trips up to the weather station as I use to be able to do. Walking is an option, but hard to take all the tools and test equipment that might be needed.

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.

iPhone Access

I have 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.

The URL to use in your Safari web browser (iphone) is

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

This may be of interest to some. Here are the stats for Mansfield Weather for the last 12 Months.

There has been a total of 60 Million hits on the server, 51.5 Million Files Served, 9.4 Million Page views and 280,783 unique Visits.

We served 709 Gigabytes of data. (This is why we need a powerful server).

Summary by Month
Month Daily Avg Monthly Totals
Hits Files Pages Visits Sites KBytes Visits Pages Files Hits
Dec 2010 228940 208664 38545 1314 2658 24870058 6574 192729 1043321 1144701
Nov 2010 164182 153541 26414 1045 8213 99854252 31367 792423 4606237 4925470
Oct 2010 154635 146373 23947 997 8459 102505594 30916 742368 4537565 4793701
Sep 2010 173097 165194 24513 983 7654 85703853 29500 735404 4955842 5192935
Aug 2010 249738 172294 55300 1047 7651 82397248 32484 1714310 5341130 7741887
Jul 2010 282556 158028 69109 737 6180 53367659 22851 2142390 4898893 8759249
Jun 2010 162694 155183 17890 668 5678 47337695 20046 536726 4655504 4880826
May 2010 133869 127151 15305 597 5300 41592612 18522 474456 3941695 4149962
Apr 2010 160581 153423 17335 684 5949 48444568 20533 520057 4602700 4817459
Mar 2010 149457 142132 15648 716 6587 50656253 22198 485103 4406098 4633189
Feb 2010 168908 159982 19119 844 6621 56005052 23654 535358 4479501 4729439
Jan 2010 174151 150005 21078 819 6093 51451710 22138 569132 4050155 4702091
Totals 744186554 280783 9440456 51518641 60470909

The Future

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.