Website update v2.1.0

We are pleased to announce the latest website update, bringing several enhancements to provide you with more comprehensive externally sourced weather information. Here is a summary of the changes made in version 2.1.0:

New Forecasts and Observations

Navigation Improvements

  • Added additional header navigation items to accommodate the new content.
  • Removed Dark Sky forecast pages, which are no longer functional, and replaced them with the new forecast pages.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed an issue where page scripts were not being loaded within the blog.
  • Corrected an unresolved issue of sun/night banding on some graphs, ensuring correct sun/night banding is applied when data is missing.
  • Improved the fix for the issue where the calm icon is not shown in calm winds on the home page.
  • Fixed an issue with the graph buttons on Website Analytics, ensuring they are upgraded for Bootstrap 5.
  • Addressed an issue with Data Upload Status on System Status page not showing the correct colour mode.

Enhancements:

  • Implemented the load of theme and color mode to content after the page has loaded (required for the new Bom forecast page).

Homepage Changes:

  • Changed the home page BoM forecast to use Ferny Grove forecast instead of the Brisbane forecast.
  • Added to the home page BoM forecast for the Brisbane area and possible rainfall details as an on-hover feature for further information.

We appreciate your continued support and hope that these updates are useful additions to our website. If you encounter any issues or have feedback, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Important Update: Enhancements to Your Website Experience

We are pleased to inform you about significant improvements to our website aimed at providing a more tailored and sophisticated user experience. The website has been updated to v2.0.0 and introduces a theme selector and a colour mode selector, offering you the ability to personalise your interaction with our website.

Key features:

1. Website upgrade

This website utilises the Bootstrap framework as the backbone to the website structure. This has been updated from v4.6.0 to v5.3.2. This upgrade bring various improvements and some changes to how the information is being shown. Some minor layout changes have been implemented which uses the screen space more effectively. Where possible the website style and look has not been changed to aid with maintaining familiarity. The main benefit of this upgrade is to implement a dark mode as described below.

2. Theme Selector: Personalising Your Visual Experience

Our new theme selector, powered by Bootswatch themes for Bootstrap v5.3.2, gives you the ability to customise the visual aesthetics of our website. The implementation involves dynamically loading the theme based on user selections from a choice of themes. You may choose your theme using the paint palette icon at the far right of the top navigation menu. By default the existing theme is displayed but if you like to try something different feel free to use the theme selector. There are various themes available to use that vary in colour, line spacing, font and visual design.

3. Colour Mode Selector: Enhancing Visual Comfort

Introducing a colour mode selector that facilitates the choice between light and dark modes. This feature is designed to accommodate different user preferences. If you find that overall brightness of the white background to be too much then dark mode might suit you better. The default is your system preference (auto), however you can manually switch between light and dark modes. To change the colour mode use the sun/ moon icon at the far right of the top navigation menu

Additional Considerations:

  • Visibility: The formatting of the website content is tailored according to the selected theme for optimal contrast and legibility across all themes.
  • Efficient Loading: Themes load swiftly and page content shouldn’t be displayed while themes are being switched, maintaining a responsive user experience. You might notice a spinning wheel for a brief moment while themes are being switched
  • Visual preferences: Your theme and colour mode preferences are saved for future visits. By default the existing site theme is loaded, but is switched to your preference based on your saved preference. If you delete your site data in your browser or use another browser or device you will need re-apply your preferences.

Technical Insights:

For those interested in the technical aspects:

Theme Selector and Colour Mode Selector Implementation:

Our theme selector leverages Bootswatch themes and dynamically applies the selected theme by creating and appending a new link element to the document’s head before unloading the old theme and reloading the new theme. This process has been implemented so that themes are loaded effectively and as quickly as possible.

Various colour and styling adjustments are made to the loaded theme to ensure reasonable readability and contrast. Please let us know if you believe there is content that you believe doesn’t provide enough contrast to view in a legible fashion.

This utilises local Storage to store user preferences, ensuring that your chosen colour mode persists across sessions. Additionally, the implementation includes a system preference check by default (the auto setting), to dynamically setting the theme based on the user’s operating system.

Other updates:

  • Fixed an issue where the calm wind icon on the home page is not shown in calm winds.
  • Changed the layout in the top section of the home page and the Gauges page to use space more effectively.
  • Corrected an issue from v1.13.0 for Annual Data Summary not displaying due to jQuery being loaded after the page content is loaded.
  • Dynamically calculated station age in years that was previously listed manually in the header
  • Replaced the Met24 satellite graphic being no longer available, and instead with a graphic from Meteoblue.

Getting Started:

Feel free to explore the newly integrated theme selector and colour mode selector. Your preferences will be retained for future visits, ensuring a consistent and personalised experience.

Thank you:

We extend our sincere appreciation to our valued website users for their continued support for Ferny Grove Weather (December 2023 was our strongest month for visitor activity yet). These updates are aimed at elevating your experience, and we hope they prove to be valuable additions.

Please note there is the chance of the website experiencing unexpected behaviour when using these features. Whilst this has undergone significant testing these issues may occur. Please reply to this post or contact us to inform of the issue for rectification in a future update.

Further updates to bring new content and different ways to explore existing data are in the works for 2024.

For any inquiries or feedback, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Website update v1.13.0

2 new pages are now available on the website allowing for multiple parameters to be plotted together on the same chart. These new pages are:

  • Recent Data Select-a-Graph graphically shows the data at 1 minute intervals for the past 7 days. On this page you can configure your own graph and add and remove the parameters to plot together as required
  • Select-a-period Multi Graphs graphically shows the data less frequently for between a start and end date. The plotted data frequency is affected by the time period selected where data over longer periods of time are charted at a lower data frequency. Also on this page you can configure your own graph and add and remove the parameters to plot on the chart.

Various other modifications that has been made and are summarised as:

  • A bug fixed with the graphing of charts showing yellow or blue banding for sun out or night which was not working correctly when data is missing
  • Visual improvements to axis labels on the home page real-time graph and added visibility of rain series on home page real-time graph where rainfall > 0.2
  • Change this sun/night banding to use sunrise/ sunset instead of theoretical solar radiation
  • Backend improvements to the file structure, updating highcharts and Jquery as well as clean up redundant file links
  • Updated Website Analytics to show data for the past year to the on-page table and corrected an issue preventing the rendering of the graphs

Improved reliability of real-time data

Real time data displayed on this website have seen interruptions to the updating of the data on a number of occasions. These ongoing issues should now be solved with the introduction of an automated process to deal with this. Most recently an 8 hour outage occurred during the overnight hours. Measures are in place to deal with these issues, including automated monitoring of data reaching the website in a timely manner.

These issues started with the introduction of a Weatherlink Live data capture and streaming device used to collect the data from our on-site sensors measuring the weather. This device was brought into use in order to expand the data in collect and publish, which was not possible for technical reasons with its predecessor.

Due to this system relying on our residential home network (including wi-fi connectivity) to a greater deal than the previous implementation of the weather system there are occasional temporary dropped connections between the Weatherlive Live device and the Raspberry Pi computer used to collate, store and upload the data within our network. As a consequence of this, sometimes the Raspberry Pi computer loses connection to the Weatherlink Live device, and doesn’t regain a successful connection.

The impact of this is the software continues to run and upload data that have not updated correctly. In the most recent outage the data rolled over to the new day, but continued to used data from the previous day.

Usually, however a reboot of the Raspberry Pi computer fixes the issue. However if the Raspberry Pi has lost connection to the network, then it makes more difficult to reboot it, as the Raspberry Pi operates in a headless configuration with no keyboard, mouse or monitor. Usually cutting power to the computer and turning it back on has been the only option to get the system back up and running.

So in view of this, a bash script was created to manage these issues in an automated manner. The script handles a) the data collection software is not running because it crashed for some reason, and b) the data collection software is running but the data is not current because it lost connection within the network. When these situations occur the software is shut down, and the system rebooted. The script is ran as a scheduled cron task every 5 minutes on the Raspberry Pi computer. The Raspberry Pi computer on boot up is configured to auto-start all of the required systems, thereby getting the data back online. The scripts allows for the time periods for these two time periods to be defined, and to write the actions taken to a log file when triggered in the script.

The bash script is as the following:

Whilst these measures will need monitoring over time, and with possible tweaks/ or improvements, this should help with increasing the availability of the data on this website.

If you find this type of blog post of value, please free free to comment or share on this post. You can also contact us if you have any questions directly related to the information on this website.

Website after 3 years

On this day three years ago the Ferny Grove Weather website was launched. It is with great appreciation and amazement of the growth of the continued support of everyone who have visited this website during this time. I would especially like to thank those who have showed a continued interest in the website who have visited many times and especially during times of severe weather.

In the past year a total of 5,629 visits have been made, which is 59 % of all visits made to the website in the past three years. In the past three years there has been a total of 9508 visits that were made by 3713 visitors of which 58% have previously visited the website. Those who have visited this website most frequently (in top 1% of all return visits made) have brought 22.1 % of all visits which were made by 20 unique visitors. This is a large drop compared to last year, as a result of a larger audience who are using this website. A total of 13,343 page views have been made.

It has brought great satisfaction of how this website is used more during periods of severe weather. This was especially the case during the significant weather event in February 2022 which saw a massive increase in visitor activity with 1491 visits by 520 visitors (2294 page views) and over double the previously most active month. This is quite obvious in the information contained on the Website Analytics page.

There is very strong interest in the real time data on this website which received a large proportion of all activity on the website (47.7 % for the home page and 14.8 % for the gauges out of all of the page views). This has however dropped by 27 % with other pages on the website being of more interest than it was previously, mostly notable the Today and Yesterday page.

This website came about based on the desire to upgrade the weather station used for improved accuracy and to shift towards measuring the weather in real-time. This website was built as a personal project to view the data that was easy to access, be updated in an automated nature as nearly to real-time as possible and no matter what screen size I am using. This project have evolved to also experiment with various data presentation methods and to explore programming techniques and technologies.

In the past year new additions to the website to the website include:

  • UV Index and UV Dose (Standard Erythermal Dose)
  • Upgraded automated process to update the website analytics by rainfall in Website Analytics
  • Thermal graphs to Historic Graphs showing Growing Degree Days of daily average temperatures and Temperature Sum of daily minimum, maximum and average temperature
  • Heat Map charts that shows logged historical data which may be viewed by hour and day across a given year for a selected metric.
  • Wind Rose charts for wind speed for various periods across the entire station period including specific month and years and various recent time periods. This shows the distribution of wind speed by wind direction.
  • Various small additions and tweaks

Moving forwards there is much more planned to improve and add to the website and continues with a plan to publish data that to date is not viewable on the website, some of which is currently under development. As this is a personal project and with the complexities involved, it does takes time to complete these additions with the accuracy and use friendliness of the website being important components to get right.

But if there are any specific things on the website you would like to see for consideration or if you have feedback, you are always welcome to reply here or to Contact Us with your thoughts.

March 2021 rainfall event

 

Between 14 March and 24 March 2021 was a period of rain and showers with some thunderstorms, as a result of an succession of favourable synoptic features. During this period a total of 263.3 mm was observed and was the wettest period since 364.9 mm was observed between the 3 February and 14 February 2020.

In the past 30 years the rainfall event total was the 14th highest on record and was in top 7 % of rain event totals. For March the rain event total was the second highest on record and the highest since the current record high of 278.2 mm between the 28 March and 31 March 2017 associated with Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

During this rainfall event a large portion of the rainfall occurred during the last few days of the event where 203.3 mm was measured between the 22 and 24 March. The highest 24 hour rainfall total was 129.7 mm on 22 March 2021 and for March this was the third highest 24 hour rainfall total observed on record and which was the highest since the current record high of 153.5 mm on 6 March 2004 (squally heavy rainfall between the 5 and 6 March 2004). When compared to all previous months the highest 24 hour rainfall total was the 21st highest on record and the highest since 143.4 mm on 24 February 2018 (showers becoming heavy rainfall on the 23 and 24 February).

At the time of writing the month-to-date total is 297 mm, which is 177.4 mm above the long term median and 248.3 % of the long term median. For March so far this is the highest March total rainfall since 375.4 mm in 2017, which is the current record high. However considering that showers are expected during the rest of the month the final total may end up as the second highest on record, due to the current second highest being 301.25 mm in 1992. For all months this is the highest since 389.2 mm in February 2020.

Year to date rainfall is currently 519 mm, which is 88 mm above the long term January to March total (16.9 % above average). This is lower than the January to March rainfall total in 2020, which saw both well above average rainfall in January and February in contrast to near average rainfall in 2021 until the above average rainfall in March 2021.

The number of rain days have been 51 so far this year (of least 0.2 mm of rainfall excluding daily rainfall totals that are entirely from dew, mist or fog). This is 16 days above the long term average, is the highest on record as compared with previous January to March totals since 52 days in 2015 and the third highest on record. For March this is the highest number of rain days since 18 days in March 2019.

Note that rainfall totals are based on manually recorded daily rainfall totals measured as the 24 hours to 9am. This data is currently not displayed on this website, except as contained in the weather reviews. Therefore there will be differences to the rainfall totals shown on the website that are collected automatically from a different rain gauge and is measured as the 24 hours from midnight.

Some charts from this period are below where daily data is for the 24 hours from midnight. This is based on the existing graphs on this website, but uses a script that allows to show data between a specific date range, rather than using data in the last x days. This alternate format is not available on the website at this time which could be included in a future update.