Specify backup weather station in case primary one goes down


#1

I would prefer to use a Personal Weather Station (PWS) in my neighborhood, since the nearest NWS stations are in a rain shadow and receive significantly less rainfall than I do. I originally chose a PWS that appeared to give reliable data over several months’ time.

Everything was fine, until one day I discovered that watering was occurring during heavy, sustained rainfall. It turned out that the PWS had gone offline and had not reported for several days. Rachio apparently interpreted this as “no rainfall” and decided that watering needed to be done.

I suggest that there should be a way to specify a backup weather station that is to be used in case the primary one stops reporting.

Since a normally operating PWS reports at least once per hour, I suggest that the timeout for missing reports should be relatively brief – say, 6 hours – so as to minimize the likelihood that significant precipitation events are missed.

Of course, when this happens, Rachio should send (and log) a notification so that the owner will know that the chosen PWS is no longer reporting.


#2

Amen! The same thing has happened to me.

Hope this is added at some point.


#3

I like it- thank you for the feedback @eataft and @a0128958!

Just to clarify- the PWS went entirely offline, but your controller stayed connected to it? Was it reporting any data?


#4

I actually have observed this on two occasions. Now, when I look at the historical record at pwsweather.com, I see that there are differences in the two occurrences. In both cases, the PWS in question was PAULCROSS4.

If you look at the monthly report for November 2016, you’ll see that there is a big gap during November 24 - 30 when no data was reported. Somewhere during that time, I noticed that my controller’s watering schedule ran inappropriately.

More recently, on February 23, I noticed that my controller ran even though there had been heavy rainfall in the preceding several days. When I looked at pwsweather.com at that time, I observed that the PWS had not reported any data for several days. But when I look now, I see that there is no gap in the data and that the heavy rainfall was correctly reported. Apparently, the data for those days wasn’t lost, but was hugely delayed (by several days) before being reported to pwsweather.com.

In both cases, the data wasn’t available to Rachio when it was needed; hence, my feature request for a backup weather station to use if a station hasn’t reported for more than a few hours.

(The PWS in question is not mine; I do not know anything about it except that it is located near me. Since the February occurrence, I have reverted to using the nearest NWS station, KNUQ.)


#5

@eataft, you might want to consider integrating a WU weather station using this API integration.


#6

I have just had two situations where I have integrated WU weather stations to my own PWS. These two stations had both gone down within a couple of weeks of each other. Therefore I was not getting their data imported to my PWS. Therefore my PWS had no data to send to Rachio. I did not discover this until my garden was watered during heavy rain.

Does Rachio have an alert for this? Could we use IFTT?


#7

Hi @Bizza-

We currently do not have an alert for abnormal weather reporting- part of this is it’s difficult to define whats “abnormal.” When your weather stations went down, do you know if they continued to report data and it was just incorrect, or if they just stopped reporting anything altogether?

McKynzee :rachio:


#8

@Bizza, do you recall if your PWS was reporting a value of “0” or “null” when it went down? We’re exploring ways to better show the state and reporting of weather stations in the app.


#9

Hi @emil,

The PWS reported for half the day, so I guess it used the information it had. The station then went down, on 30th March @ 8:30pm. It rained over night, which it did not record, hence it watered the following morning. I redirected my PWS to another WU the next day.

So I did not get a full day of “no data”, and I don’t know what it was reporting when the WU was down. Can you see the raw data from somewhere?


#10

@Bizza Do you recall the station name? I don’t think we still have data that far back, but I think I can do some digging…


#11

@mckynzee The station name is https://www.pwsweather.com/obs/MAROUBRA1.html


#12

Thanks @Bizza!

It looks like the station stopped reporting entirely between ~8:30 pm and ~11:30 am the following morning. This is helpful, because rather than receiving 0.00 for values (which technically could be a valid entry) it was reporting null, which we know isn’t valid. I will make sure to get all of this information to our team as we work on improving how we validate weather data!