It’s a fine line between observing severe weather and staying away from it. As an RVer, you can experience all kinds of weather situations. Knowing ahead of time what the weather will be during your travels and at your destination is usually easy information to come by. But if you are traveling to a remote area where you cannot readily get weather alerts, modifying your RV with a weather station can help forewarn you of impending severe weather.
Weather stations offer a variety of different ways to monitor weather conditions. From simple temperature measurements to wind speed to humidty, weather stations can help feed the need for the weather junkie. Installing a weather station in your RV can be very simple, or somewhat complicated depending on what you want to measure.
In recent years, most weather station manufacturers have made monitoring the weather pretty easy, offering low cost kits consisting of the most popular instrumentation. These kits generally contain temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and rainfall gauges. Based on these instruments, many other weather statistics can be calculated, such as wind chill and simple forecasting. Some kits even offer logging of the data and interfacing with a computer.
There are two ways weather instruments can feed information to it’s respective display: wired or wireless. For an RV, wireless is the way to go. It makes locating and installing the instruments much easier. And if you go with instruments that are powered independently by a self-contained mini solar panel, you will never have to worry about replacing batteries in any of the instruments.
Mounting some of these instruments can be a bit of a challenge for an RV. Normally, a home-based weather systems will have the instrumentation mounted to a tripod, which is then mounted on the roof of a home. This is not very practical for an RV, although I’ve seen a few RVs that use this very setup. The tripod is collapsible and fits to a plate on the RV roof using a pin and a simple guy-wire. The only drawback is that you must get up on the roof to deploy the tripod.
Other solutions are to mount the instruments independently. For example, you could mount the rain gauge and anemometer (wind speed) permanently to the roof, mount the barometer / humidity instrument to the roof ladder via a tube clamp, and mount the temperature sensor somewhere out of direct sunlight, such as underneath the RV. Each way has its pros and cons so the choice is yours. You do have options.
Once you have all of your instrumentation installed and calibrated, the fun begins. As mentioned, weather data can be logged and saved for review later on. Or it can be uploaded to a computer in real time using software provided by the manufacturer. This software can track all sorts of information and provides a nice graphical view of all weather instruments your station has.
Based on this information, simple forecasting can be done. The station or software can calculate trends on what the weather is doing and offer a forecast, such as rain or severe weather. This can help you decide on whether to get out of dodge or just roll up the awning so it doesn’t tear itself apart when the wind picks up.
And for the ultimate in weather junky coolness is the ability to transmit your weather station information over the Internet for all to see. Provided you have an Internet connection (via computer or cellular), your friends and family can see what the weather is doing where you are at any time. I’ve even seen one setup where a web cam was added to the RV roof and its images were broadcast along with the weather data. And viewers were even able to move the camera to different positions via the website. How awesome is that?
To see some examples of weather stations used in RVs and for resources to weather station kits, head on over to ModMyRV.com and have a look at this article: