Weather Center Information


The Basics

Welcome to the Weather Center

The sensors and weather station display unit are located at Wind Power, Fond du Lac, WI, which is in the Central Standard Time (CST) timezone with a UTC (or GMT) offset of -6 hours. All weather observations are based in the sensor time zone. The weather station display unit communicates directly with PC software that sends data to the Internet server. Data is sent 'dynamically' which means that the frequency increases as wind speed increases. At a minimum, data is sent every (1) minute, but as wind increases, data is sent at 30 second and 15 second intervals. You can learn more about the sensor & system here.

The time frame for most of the pages in the Weather Center is typically either 24 hour or 12 hour. However, a few special time frames are defined: last 2 days and last week, which allow the view to span multiple days. Views that span multiple days show only full 24 hour days. Data displayed is for the current view, so the observations, graphs, and tabular data span the view time frame. However, the time interval between records will increase as time frame increase to 'thin' the data set (reduce the number of data points). The typical time interval between data points is 15 minutes for a one (1) and two (2) day view, but will extend to 60 minutes for 'this week' view for example. Also note, that today's highs &s lows observations are for whole day even when viewing a 12 hour time frame.

The sport preference option in the sidebar changes the site to suit your choice. For the Weather Center, it will show a background that matches your sport and some minor shadowing effects for supporting browsers.

Season: Water & Winter Mode

For year-round functionality, and where applicable, the Weather Center knows the current season. For spring, summer & fall soft-water sailing and winter-time ice sailing, the recommended launches are handled differently. During the water season, launches are based solely on wind direction and speed. However, during ice season, ice conditions typically prevail and wind direction and speed are not as much of a factor, so the recommended launches as needed throughout the season. The 'season' switch is a manual toggle within the Weather Center system. During the winter season, the graphical icon in the title banner on the page will be a snowflake. During the water season, this icon rotates through the sports preference icons or reflects your selected sport preference.

Current Conditions

The cardinal & ordinal colors for all 16 compass points.

The Current Conditions page displays a graphical Wind Compass in addition to a tabular view for the most recent weather observation. The direction of the wind is shown by a marker (a tear-drop shaped pointer) that points in the direction the wind is blowing.

indicates a North wind (wind blowing from the North to the South). The markers are rotated to reflected the wind angle and also color-coded. The cardinal direction (N, E, S, W) markers color-coding was modeled after the Tibetan cardinal colors (learn more at Wikipedia link). The ordinal directions (NE, SE, SW, NW) are colored gray. The 16 point directions (NNW, NNE, ENE, ESE, SSE, SSW, WNW, NNW) colors use a lighter shade of their cardinal direction. The compass colors are illustrated in image at right.

The Current Conditions page updates the Wind Compass and current observations automatically using a technology called Ajax (asynchronous javascript and XML) which allows the page to get the latest data without actually refreshing the page in the browser like your refresh button would do. These updates follow the dynamic update interval mentioned above and the countdown and interval are display at the bottom of the current observations table. The Wind Compass utilizes HTML5 technology to draw the compass, which allows for the marker to be at the exact wind angle, animated moves and other graphical features like shadows. If your browser does not support HTML5 canvas element, the Wind Compass will gracefully fallback to using images, but the markers are only show at the 16 compass points. Browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE9, Opera support HTML5, IE8 (Internet Explorer) and prior do not. All the browsers that support HTML5 are good, take your pick. If you are using IE8 or less, consider installing another browser and you won't regret it.)

Also, a simple/advanced view toggle is available to switch the Current Observations data table from a simple view (less information) to a advanced view (more data) depending on you preference. A sound/mute option is also available. The animated compass will play a 'click' sound when when compass is updated. You can Mute (turn off) the sound or enable it and set the volume as desired. We are hoping to improve this effect by find a better sound, but for now, it is a blip noise.

The Current Conditions page has a complete page auto-refresh mechanism. As mentioned in a prior paragraph, the current conditions table and wind compass use a behind the scenes method to keep data table and compass updated, but the remaining page content such as the textual summary, recommended launches, graphs and tabular data needs to be updated, so the entire page is refresh at a 5 minute interval. The page will refresh itself 4 times before requiring a manual refresh by the user. The current condition ajax updates will also stop updating when the refresh limit is reached. The refresh count is stored in your browser session, so the value will count down to zero (0) before resetting. If you close and re-open your browser (or clear cache), the count will also reset. Pages that infinitely refresh themselves are problematic, poor design and cause excessive bandwidth. So, if you see manual refresh needed, hit refresh (or F5 in most browsers) for the latest weather data.

At the bottom of the Weather Center pages, you can see a footer element that displays the local time the page was generated. When viewing the Current Conditions page, the footer also displays a countdown timer that does a complete page refresh when it expires. On the right edge of the footer, a enable/disable option is available. This auto-page refresh setting is saved as cookie so it will be remembered by the browser. The page refresh time is set at 5 minutes.

The Weather Graphs

Sample wind speed graph

The Weather Graphs are a vital part of the Weather Center!

The Current Conditions and History pages show 4 different weather graphs in 24 hour and 12 hour formats:

  • Wind & Gust Speed vs. time
  • Wind & Gust Direction vs. time
  • Temperature & Wind Chill vs. time
  • Wind & Gust Speed vs. Direction rosette

To learn more, see the Graph Info page here

Tabular Data

Data is also displayed in tabular format at the foot of the weather data pages. The data displayed is for the current time frame being viewed, which is typically either 24 hour or 12 hour, with the exception of the special graphs like last 2 days & last week.

Yes, sometimes it is good to just see the numbers. A CSV (comma separated variable) file is available for download by clicking the download link at top of the tabular data.

Problems & Errors

If you experience a problem, get an error or find some data that is not correct with the Weather Center, please let us know. Although we strived to make it perfect and error free, we might have missed something. The system is simple, yet quite complex when you start getting into it. If you are interested in learning more, see sensor information page.

Browsers & HTML5

The canvas compass on the Current Conditions page will utilize HTML5 if your browser supports it. As mentioned above, the compass uses animation, sounds and other graphic effects that require HTML5 support. The canvas will gracefully fallback to static images supported by all browsers. The transparent / opaque background feature is not likely available in Internet Explorer 8 or less. Internet Explore 9 support HTML 5 and IE 8 and below do not. If you use IE8 or less, you should consider upgrading to IE9, Firefox, Chrome or Safai.

Weather data and summary provided for informational purposes only.