A picture speaks a thousand words.
A few months ago, I set up a weather station on my shed. I was mostly concerned with getting wind information back home when I was out flying. But the weather station also provides temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and rain information. This information is uploaded to the Weather Underground website, where anyone who wants current weather information hyperlocalized to my home can get it.
When I shared the weather link with friends on Twitter and Facebook, some wise guy pointed out that the webcam couldn’t be found. Duh. It’s because I didn’t install one.
That’s not to say I didn’t want to install one. I did. I just had trouble justifying another expense for yet another interest that had taken over my wallet.
But I really wanted one. And when I snagged a frost control contract again this year — my fourth consecutive season; amazing what you can do when there’s no one anchoring you to a dreary existence in a dead town — and the contract guaranteed me even more money than the previous year’s contract, I decided to splurge. I ordered an AmbientCamHD outdoor weather camera.
The camera arrived Thursday. I had to drive out to my mailbox to fetch it — it had been snowing all day and I advised the UPS driver (who texts me when I have a package) not to try the road. I’d spent most of the day with two visitors who had helped me with an electrical project in my garage and then stuck around for lunch and half a bottle of Crown Royal. (Never a dull moment here.) It was still light out when I fetched the package (and dropped off another package for a neighbor on my way home) and I really thought I could have it fully installed before it got dark. But my Mac wouldn’t read the installer disk and the downloaded software, when used with my Firefox browser, insisted on installing an unusable EXE file with the required plugins. (How’s that for geek speak?) After leaving a voicemail for tech support, I tried again with Safari and managed to get the plugins I needed. Unfortunately, it was fully dark when I set the camera out on my deck to share a disappointing picture with the world.
On Friday morning, after breakfast, when the snow had stopped and the clouds drifted out — at least for a while — I went outside with my impact driver, the screws provided with the camera mount, and a Philips bit. It took three tries to fasten it in a good spot on one of my deck posts. (The second try ripped the heads off two of the three screws; I used drywall screws on the third try.) I aimed it out toward Wenatchee, at my “big view.” I made sure enough sky would show to give weather watchers a good idea of conditions.
Of course, less than 30 minutes later, the clouds moved back in and obscured the view. With 5 inches of snow already on the ground, a fresh snowfall — unforecasted, mind you — began again. As I type this Friday morning, visibility is only about a mile in a medium snowfall.
The geek that I am, I quickly discovered the URL for my webcam’s images, which are uploaded to the Weather Underground once every 5 minutes. That makes it possible for me to share the current image on my blog. Here’s what it looks like as you’re reading this; keep in mind that if it’s dark or foggy you won’t see much:
Of course, the webcam image is now available when you click the Webcam tab on the Weather Underground page for my station. It’s also available from the various Weather Underground smartphone weather apps when you look at the weather in my area or at my station, “Malaga Heights.”
Whew. Glad I got this out of my system.