Crow’s Nest: What’s the weather?

October 13, 2018

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

At Boy Scout camp we had a weather rock—you know, a rock hung from a tripod with a sign on it that tells you how to read the weather using it:

  • If the rock is wet, it is raining.
  • If the rock is swinging, it is windy.
  • If the rock casts a shadow, it is sunny.

…and so on, with uncanny accuracy.

We can do better than that today, and with a weather station that is every bit as local as the weather rock. Our neighbors have a weather station that is so close by it wouldn’t make sense for us to get our own. It’s connected to the internet and anyone can see the data it collects, continually updated, on the Weather Underground website. Moreover you can look back in time to see cumulative rainfall and other data: https://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KPAELVER12&cm_ven=localwx_pwsdash#history

I looked at the rainfall so far this year and saw that it indicated 36″. That seemed like a typical year so far and nothing like the extreme conditions we’ve been experiencing. Then I realized that this weather station has been active just since June. So yes, that 36″ fell just between June 1 and October 12. It really is that wet.

And about that Boy Scout camp with the weather rock. Today it’s protected by a conservation easement with Natural Lands, ensuring that others will have similar experiences camping, hiking, and making memories.