Atmospheric fun

Given that it directly relates to weather it seems sensible to post a pointer to this log entry on my astronomy site.

File Under: Atmospheric Phenomena.


Rain bucket dead?

I'm starting to think that the rain bucket had died. The bucket is in a less than ideal location, it's next to a building which will form a pretty good rain shadow so, often, a small shower or some light drizzle tends not to register. Because of this I'm used to getting no-rain readings when I might have expected something.

However, in the past 24 hours we've had a fair bit of rain and in the last hour we had a hell of a downpour (flooding in the road, drains not keeping up, that sort of thing) and nothing has shown on the WS3600.

On top of that, to try and be sure, I've just been outside and tipped the bucket by hand — I could feel and hear the rocker move but nothing has shown up on the base station. This would suggest that either something's wrong with the bucket, the cable or the main transmitter.

File Under: WS3600, Rain Bucket.


Crashing problem not solved — Another crash

It seems my recent optimism was misplaced. At around 09:22 this morning the base station of the WS3600 crashed again. The usual thing happened, there was a beep, the backlight came on and every single part of the LCD display turned on. It didn't reset itself and I had to remove the power to cause a reset.

So, it seems that the solution isn't turning off DCF77 support and the recent long run of working without a problem has simply been good luck.

File Under: WS3600, DCF77.


A Vortex or Two

Last Saturday was an interesting day from a weather watching point of view as I was witness to two different types of vortex.

Around noon that day, while walking around the village, I saw an unusual arc of cloud coming out of a bigger cloud. After watching it for a moment it seemed clear that the arc was, in fact, a rotating tube of cloud. A couple of other people who were with me watched and confirmed what I was seeing. We watched it for about five minutes as it "detached" itself from its parent cloud and head off on its own, finally appearing to "evaporate".

Later that day, probably some time around 18:40 BST, while driving up the A15 to Lincoln we drove into what appeared to be some sort of storm front. There was a very obvious line of cloud with rain falling from the leading edge and curving under the cloud. That was an impressive sight as it was. Then, as we got further under the cloud my wife pointed out an area of tight rotation within it. I had a look and could see it and commented that, if we were lucky, we might see a funnel cloud form. A friend in the car with us then pointed out that, under the area of rotation, dust was being picked up and spun around in the field below. We watched this for about 20 seconds as we drove past and then the movement in the field seemed to cease.

Sadly, in both cases, I didn't have any kind of camera with me and, in the latter case, I didn't think to note the exact time or location of the event. As best as I can recall I think it probably happened around here.

Annoyingly, at the moment, I can't find any online charts for the UK that show fronts and the like for around that time. My suspicion is that what we saw was a cold-core funnel cloud starting to form so it would be nice to check if there was a cold front in the area at the time.

File Under: Funnel Cloud, Vortex, Storm.


Crashing problem solved?

Tomorrow it'll be a month since I last had the base station crash. That's quite a significant period of time given that, before now, it was happening every couple of weeks or so.

So, what's changed?

Well, around the time of the last crash I was also having another problem with the base station: every so often the date and time would go way out — sometimes years into the future, other times years into the past. This seemed very odd given that the WS3600 uses DCF77 to keep the date and time correct. Suspecting that the problem was with the DCF77 update I decided to turn it off for a while and see what happens.

Since turning it off I've not had the date and time go wrong and I've not noticed a reset of the base station and I've not had a crash. This could be coincidence (and knowing my luck the bloody thing'll crash the moment I post this) but, so far, it's starting to look like these two issues might be related.

File Under: WS3600, DCF77.