A sensor-free or virtual home weather station is becoming an attractive option for those with the weather bug. The two main choices are between a PC-based program or a standalone weather station receiving signals from a service. Both can be very accurate when the weather readings are taken in close proximity to your home or within your micro-climate.
Having your own weather instruments does provide the most accurate readings for your location. However, a wayward ball, frisky animal, or curious child can wreak havoc on weather equipment. Time and the elements can do the same as years go by. In addition, setting up a station and sensors can be quite challenging for those who lack the time or mechanical skills.
The advent of websites that link to local weather stations has created new opportunities for weather watchers around the world. One only needs to point their Internet browser toward a site like the Weather Underground or WeatherBug, and they can view real time weather data from a station in the neighborhood. Sites like these also provide historical weather readings and the ability to observe weather conditions in countless regions.
By tapping into services like MSN Direct, standalone weather stations can provide current weather conditions without any additional sensors. Weather readings are updated every two minutes and include wind, rain, chance of rain, temperature and humidity. National Weather Service warnings are also carried on the network.
Proximity to the receiving weather instruments is key to the quality of weather station options. If a weather service maintains instruments nearby, the virtual station becomes almost identical to having your own instruments. If a weather service has stations that are far away or in a different micro-climate, readings can be very different from current weather conditions.
The deciding factor in opting for a virtual weather station is most often the proximity factor. Website services tend to have an incredible number of participating weather stations, to the point that a single town may have multiple sites to choose from. Services to weather stations like MSN Direct are limited to metropolitan areas and require more research.
The thrill of tracking a storm in real time is possible without the expense and care of your own sensors. Many who were once intimidated by setting up their own home station have satisfied their weather passion by going virtual. The options now available for home weather stations leave much room for personal preference, aptitude, and enjoyment.