64" of Precipitation?


#1

I had a really weird thing happen over the past 24 hours.

I have been successfully using the same local PWS station (PWS_KMOWENTZ17 ) all season on a Flex daily schedule, yet I wondered why the system didn’t water as scheduled this morning. I checked the Rachio precipitation levels, and it shows that I had over 64" of precipitation over the past 24 hours. Yikes! If that were indeed the case, watering my lawn would certainly be the least of my problems.I immediately went to the PWS link and find that they show no such precipitation.What could be the problem here?

I opened each individual zone (I have 11), and made changes to the moisture levels and hope that works out OK. It sure would be nice if we could simply move the data points on the field moisture chart.

Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated.


#2

Maybe they tested or cleaned their PWS with a water hose? Maybe a neighbor was playing a trick on them? The only way to really know is to ask them.

You can be sure they have no idea your using ‘their PWS’ for ‘your IRO’. I’m sure they don’t care that you use it, or else they wouldn’t make it public, but at the same time they probably don’t care that it messed up your IRO either. The pitfalls of using someone else’s data.

The good thing is that Rachio moisture levels only go to 110%, so if you didn’t catch it, it only hurt for a few days, not the rest of the year. And it’s great that Rachio gives you notification options for a skipped watering.


#3

How far are you from the closest NOAA weather station? I would try using that station.


#4

Fair question.

I live only 16 miles from a very reliable NOAA station, but during my first year with the Rachio, I found it to be bad for me because of the micro climates that we have in the area of Missouri in which I live. After much searching, I found the local PWS station in question, which is only 2+ miles from me. It’s been working quite well for me all year, but this particular day was certainly a weird one.

Once again, as I noted in my original post, the PWS report for the station doesn’t show the 64" of mystical rainfall yesterday (we had none). Only the Rachio app is showing it.

Thanks so much for your reply.


#5

Ha! I wish, but the official PWS info is actually correct for the period (no precipitation at all). Only the Rachio app indicates the heavy rainfall, and therefore wouldn’t run the system today.

You’re correct in that I was able to catch it due to the many options within the Rachio app, so no real harm or foul. I just found it weird that there seemed to have been some sort of interpretation issue.

I’ll just keep a close eye on it for the next few days and see what happens.

Thanks for your help.


#6

It might be too late to tell from your moisture level graphs, but was the precip on the forecast day or the previous day’s actual recorded amount? It is odd that the PWS data shows no precip, so it looks like either a glitch in collecting actual data from PWS, or a forecasting problem. Doesn’t look like a problem with the station data recording.


#7

I agree with what you’re saying, and it’s not too late because I did a bunch of analysis before I reset each zone. They were all showing 110% when I looked at them first thing this morning before I adjusted them going forward.

Like many of the other “IRO nerds” here, I find myself checking the graphs and precipitation almost daily. In general, I find this particular station to be as reliable as it can be for my area. The previous entire week was dead on, including yesterday, in terms of the actual climate and forecasts.


#8

Normally the current day is forecast, the previous day is actual. So if the precip was on the 12th, it was recorded by the PWS, if on the 13th, then it was forecast. I believe the forecast data does not come from personal weather stations.


#9

So sorry, I read the post too quickly. I thought the 64" data came from the PWS.


#10

Yes, the forecasting sequence is as I understand it as well, however, in this case, we’ve had no measurable precipitation in over a week where I live, which was tracked perfectly by the PWS station, which would indicate that the system should have watered as indicated. Additionally, there showed nothing in the forecast from either the PWS or the Rachio app for the entire period.


#11

I guess I missed that information. Personally I would go with the NOAA station. I dont trust data from a hobbyist. But that is so strange that Rachio would report 64 inches on its app. So far I have been lucky with Rachio in its accuracy. I always remind people that ET changes very little over 25, 50 or even 100 miles in some cases. Rainfall is not part of the ET equation; however rainfall can influence temperature and relative humidity. I understand microclimates, but don’t think a 25 mile distance makes that big of a deal. Rainfall is difficult, because you must look at effective rainfall, duration, intensity, and of course runoff.


#12

Understood on all counts, however, I tried the NOAA station (KSUS) all last season with pretty bad results. There are many times that the area will receive, for example, an inch or more of rain in a period, where, during the same period, I get nothing, and vice-versa. Even the temps can vary as much as 5 + degrees. As noted, my lawn’s results from last year were not very good as a result.

I couldn’t agree more about dealing with a “hobbyist”, but I started using this particular PWS early in the season this year, and it’s been dead-on. Also note, that the problem that I’ve been describing doesn’t appear to be from the PWS. His reports over this past weekend show exactly what the actuals were. Only the Rachio app is showing the 64" rainfall…

All that said, and on the basis of your suggestion, I may try to go back to KSUS for a week or two and see what happens, just for the heck of it, although I’m still thinking it’s not the PWS that was my problem, but ultimately, what do I know…not nearly as much as I’d like, that’s for sure.

It’s indeed a mystery to me, but I’ve made the internal adjustments to the app and am now keeping a close eye on things.

Thanks.


#13

This sounds like a good plan to me. I get my data from Wiley Post Airport. It’s just 2 miles from my home. But if for some reason I would Get bad results I will look at a nearby PWS. One time recently there was a downpour at Wiley Post but I got no rain at my house. So that day I ran the most critical zone (fescue) manually. So it messes up both ways.