Weather Intelligence Plus


@franz, then perhaps it is a product improvement suggestion, my PWS does measure Temperature, Wind, Humidity, and Solar Radiation, all could be used to to a more local calculation.

I understand this defeats the purpose of a marketing point for the product, but seem to me perhaps Rachio should partner with Ambient Weather, not just WU, unless Rachio intends to monopolize that functionality, which would be a poor decision, IMO.


There are a few reasons why we can’t use ET PWS. The main two are that forecasted ET would be much different than observed PWS ET (simulated moisture graphs wouldn’t match reality) and most PWS users haven’t properly configured wind sensors which dramatically impacts ET calculations.



I understand it could implicate Rachio if my Ambient Weather Station isn’t properly installed, but that’s my problem as a PWS user. Our Solar Radiation, Temperature, and Wind Speed makes the largest impacts on my yard. Of couse Humidity matters too, but that’s very closely linked to Solar Radiation here in on the Front Range of Colorado.

If I select a PWS as my source, then shouldn’t all calculations be based on my local or selected PWS? Assuming I trust that PWS as a valid source of data?

Forecasting would of course be much larger scope than my single PWS.


Agreed that an excellently tuned PWS would provide better micro climate based ET (albeit a big ask for most PWS owners). The thing missing even if every PWS was properly setup is still the forecasted ET mismatch with the PWS observed ET, something we continue to think about how to solve.



What parameters of the PWS do you think need “calibration”?

I have compared my Rain Guage on the PWS to a conventional mechanical gauge, I trust the Ambient weather more than the “china calibration” of my conventional gauge, but they are for sure in the “Horse Shoes and Hand Grenades” level of agreement.

Temperature sensors are damn accurate anymore, even without an ICE POINT calibration method, at least close enough to consider the error irrelevant. I have yet to compare the solar radiation to something, but it sure seems to be close enough to the companies like Solar City and others to what they claim I could save if I contracted them to put solar panels on my house.


Wind is one of the more important variables for ET and sensor recommend be 33 feet above the ground which I think most people miss.



My PWS is above roof-line or high enough that I consider the windspeed to be accurate enough for me (in compliance with the guideline), but yes @franz, when i had it installed conveniently, the only core aspect I loss was wind speed and direction.

I used 1.5" PVC, and 2" PVC to get it 20’ up. I still swags a bit in the wind, but not going to put a lightning rod up above the roofline, LOL. Even at say 6’ ground level, the temperature and solar radiation are still accurate.


I had my Rachio 2 fail and replaced with Rachio3 (for the water meter). I have a local MESOWEST weather station that is setup and maintained professionally, and much better for our microclimate than anything close by. The local station is available on my old Rachi2 screen (even though the device is offline) but it does not show up with Rachio3. Are you not using PWSWeather anymore?

The next nearest site does not work - we are in the hills and the santa-ana winds make temperatures,winds and humidity VERY different where I am than the nearest sensors.


If you’d like I can have the team remove that feature and get you back to PWS weather, just let us know.



Thanks for answering and for the offer!

With much help from Gene and his old code I’ve been able to cobble together something to get the data pushing to WUnderground as well as PWSWeather. Is there any way I can get the raw data that Rachio is using for my house so I can compare to real-world and my local observations? I know I can see basic info as a forecast and clicking on grayed out days in the schedule, but any way to get more detail?

Also, if they revert me to the PWSWeather, will it use the wind/temps and calculate ET from the PWSWeather site, or still use something else?

Thanks again!



If you get a personal API key from WU (I don’t know if that is still available since IBM acquisition) that will give you similar data, or might provide similar API access?

We still use national data to derive ET.



Thanks Franz,

So for calculating ET you use national wind data with local temperature data? Or for ET are you using both wind and temp data with a national system? Is there a way to find out what data (temp and wind, solar) were used to calculate ET at my location? I’d like to find out how close it is to reality…



This should help answer some of your questions.

Sorry I can not provide access to the data. If you can retrieve data from your closest national station that will be what we are using.



Got it. So there’s no way to go to the old system? The problem is my local station is reported on the NOAA site - it’s MESONET or MESOWEST RAWS (SBVC1), but I’m not sure if that is included in your “national data”. It wasn’t getting pulled into weather underground or PWSWeather. If it isn’t part of the forecast, I don’t see how I’ll be able to use the smart watering features…



@Lmc805 If you look on the weather intelligence map for the closest national station (starts with a K), that is the station we use to derive ET.