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The Really Local Weather: High Above Fisherman's Beach

In advance of Sandy's arrival we talked to George Allen about local weather data. George is an environmental scientist who lives in Swampscott and tracks weather conditions from his Bay View Avenue home.

 

George Allen shares his view and weather with the world.

Two cameras on the back of his family's Bay View Avenue house capture images of Swampscott Harbor and the Boston skyline every 15 minutes.

Below the cameras is a weather station that feeds data to NOAA's nationwide weather collection system.

The images and data will be of particular interest what with Sandy soon to be breathing on us.

In light of that we asked George some weather questions.

1) How long have you been operating a weather station and what got you into it?

More than 10 years - not really sure when; my wife bought a wx station for me [which I promptly returned and bought the one I wanted <g>].  But being an environmental scientist, having backyard weather data [my own small micro-climate, especially for rainfall] has always been of interest.  The cost of quality weather stations has come way down over the years too.

2) What data will you be watching in particular as the storm approaches and hits?  

[Barometric] Pressure and Wind speed/direction.  Both change with the approach and passing of the storm.  Maybe rain if we get a lot.

3) What kinds of weather information is of particular interest to residents whose homes are prone to flooding?
The "total storm" rainfall estimate maps are useful for this kind of storm where rain patterns are well understood.
http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/tropical/qpf/Sandy_rainfall.gif [not a lot of rain for us - less than 2" total]

4) You have the best of both world: instruments and software that collect information about the weather; and a view from on high of Swampscott Harbor that can not be beat. What is you favorite thing about each? Do they complement each other, from a weather perspective?

The view shows me both the weather approaching from the west [the usual direction] as well as the visual effects of air pollution [regional haze and those morning inversion 'grey lids' over the city such as we had last Thursday] - which is why the cameras are there to begin with.  The weather data is useful for "how cold or hot did it get, how much rain did we get, what was the highest wind speed or gust, and so on - usually retrospectively.  These are measurements that can be very different than the official weather data from the National Weather Service stations at Logan Airport or Beverly Airport.

Link to Swampscott weather data

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