Hacking NWS

I figured out recently that you can get access to raw weather station data through NOAA’s nws.noaa.gov site. Just go to the site and type in your zip code. Then scroll down and look on the right for a station close to you.nws-santafe
For me it was the station at the Santa Fe water treatment facility. The link is to a flat text file full of scrumptious data. I’m mostly interested in the temperature, so I keep my eye on the “Tmp” column. Keep in mind that the dates are in UTC format, so you will have to adjust.
If you’re interested in seeing the data visually there’s no need to parse or plot. NOAA has done it for us. Take the URL of the data file and change the URL to call a different script. Instead of raws_flat.cgi, call time_mesowest.cgi with the same location info after.

For me the URL to the raw data is:
http://raws.wrh.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/roman/raws_flat.cgi?stn=SFWN5

I change the URL to this:
http://raws.wrh.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/roman/time_mesowest.cgi?stn=SFWN5

You should get a nice plot of all the data that looks like this:

sfwn5_efire181453_24_09_gmt

This has been useful for checking the performance of the cold frame we built in the front yard, and figuring out how well the light bulb in the chicken coop worked, etc. There’s no need to set up a microcontroller outside to record temperature data. It’s already been done for you!

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3 Responses to “Hacking NWS”

  1. chrissy Says:

    is it something only some weather sites allow? my zip code 12528 produces the raw info but the url isn’ similar to yours http://www.weather.gov/data/obhistory/KPOU.html

  2. chrissy Says:

    aha! never mind! google got me to the right site

  3. Tristan Chambers Says:

    That’s interesting. I’d recommend then, as a general process for others, to go to http://raws.wrh.noaa.gov and type in your zip code on the top left to get the raw files.

    Thanks for the info.

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