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Thursday, November 23, 2017

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Station Info

Lightning Detection and Weather Station Site Information

Fergus, Ontario, Canada
Lat: 43� 41' 58
Long: 80� 22' 57"
Elev: 409 Meters
Antenna Height: 12 m

Weather Station Information

Oregon Scientific WMR-968 wireless with Temperature/Humidity Sensor( indoor and outdoor), anemometer (wind speed and direction, wind chill) and, and self-emptying tipping bucket rain collector (daily and accumulated rainfall) and barometric pressure.

Virtual Weather Station by Ambient Software which captures imports the weather data, formats the web pages and uploads them to the internet. This program also uploads the lightning images and text files.

At the present time, the data is updated every 5 minutes. Summaries are updated every 12 hours.  

This station is located in Fergus and thus represents the conditions around the immediate region. The only problem is that the station is located in town with buildings and trees around and thus direction and wind speed are not always correct (can't cut down trees or move homes). Over the last year of data, I have noticed that the wind direction information is very accurate. Wind speed is off about 10-20% at times from the north..

Lightning Detection Information

Lightning Unit Hardware:
Boltek StormTracker Lightning Detector unit cable feed to a PCI board for interpretation 

Lightning Software:
Lightning 2000 by Aninoquisi Software which captures the main image, creates the Nowcasts and Summary files for upload.

At the present time, the data is updated every 5 mins.  

Present data indicates that this station covers all of Southern Ontario, most of Eastern and Central Ontario and many adjacent States.

Interpreting and Tracking the Storm With Lightning Strike Information

The lightning strike information display is not like a radar screen. Due to variations in lightning strength, a storm cell will produce a pie-slice shaped group of strikes on the display. Remember, this is provided for informational purposes. Do not use for safety purposes and if lightning is present where you are, take shelter immediately. I have included a FAQ's section addressing some questions I have had.

FAQ's about the data.

What do the crosses and dots mean?

The crosses are the most current strikes that have taken place. These have occurred in the last 60 secs prior to the image being captured. The  dots are the locations for the past strikes and these could have occurred anytime within the persistence setting (i.e. 30 mins).

Does you map really cover as far north as Sudbury?

Strikes are interpreted by the radio signals they produce. If a very strong strike occurs, the signal travels and can be picked up at my station even 700 kms away (although the plot will not be accurate. But you have to remember that over that distance, sound waves get distorted and thus may be off 30-100 kms from the actual area.

How come the strikes don't match up with the radar images?

Lightning is recorded by radio signal waves. The direction of the lightning is usually fairly accurate (� 5%) however direction and distance variations can move the strike plot. The distances can be out by as much as (� 25%).  Since the detector uses the strength of the signal to calculate the distance, strong strikes will appear closer and weak strikes further away. Thus this information should be used in combination with radar images to get the best idea of where the lightning is occurring. In addition, if a storm is behind another storm, sometimes the furthest storm is incorporated or missed.


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