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.