Hurricane / high wind considerations

Tempest arriving today, a day earlier than USPS originally said!

I’m in South Florida, Deerfield Beach to be precise. My question is where and how to mount the Tempest and when, if ever, should it be removed and brought inside.

Obviously, in the case of a tropical storm or hurricane where we didn’t have to evacuate, it would be nice to get real time updates of what’s happening outside, particularly if the shutters are up and we can’t see much. And if we do have to evacuate, it would be nice to be able to see what the conditions are at home.

But I don’t want the thing to blow away. Is there a point where the conditions (or anticipated conditions) warrant removing the Tempest and bringing it inside to prevent damage? To what wind speed has the device been tested to withstand, in particular, the mounting point? I imagine that mounting it on a pvc post wouldn’t provide the stability a metal post would. But even with a metal post, at some point it’s going to vibrate in high winds and the stress on the mount might cause it to fail.

I could mount the thing on top of a pole somewhere in my yard, but I think a 10’ or more pole would vibrate too much in high wind conditions. I’m thinking about mounting a smaller pole attached to the fascia board. Any guidance would be appreciated.

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As I have pointed out on numerous past occasions, you bought a weather station. The most honorable death for any PWS is to get destroyed trying to capture/record a severe weather event! I could personally open a museum of dead PWS hardware from my own collection over the years…

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I bought a $250 personal weather station and I don’t expect it to withstand the same environmental conditions that a commercial system costing 100 times as much would. It would be interesting to see the data during a hurricane, but not at the expense of destroying the unit by pushing it past some design parameters.

I primarily bought the thing to warn us about nearby lightning, which is a frequent occurrence down here esp in the summer months. At least that was my justification for spending the money. And also because I like high tech gadgets like this.

It’s not a big deal if I have to take it down once every few years if a major event is imminent. If it’s not an issue, then that’s great. Just would like to know if it’s a concern or not. I don’t like destroying things needlessly if I can help it.

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A definite difference in how one defines need. One needs data more, another needs a working device more. :grin:

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Welcome to the Weatherflow community dcaton1220,

I can for sure say the Tempest was tested up to 100 miles/h winds in a wind tunnel without giving in. The mount is pretty well designed but you can always use some tape on the pole so it won’t glide off. And same with the connection with the mount. Several of us just tape it by precaution but I think we had just 1 mention of a station gliding of it’s pole.

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Thank you, that’s good to know. I think if we had expected winds upwards of 100 mph, it would be wise to take down the unit. Not only to prevent it from being damaged, but also to prevent it from becoming a projectile and damaging someone else’s property, or worse.

I made the mistake of staying here during hurricane Wilma and the things that were flying horizontally down the street were frightening, to say the least.

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I’m in the other camp. I was born, raised and have never left Miami, Florida, so I have been through many, many storms in my lifetime. The worst one, by far, was Andrew in ‘92. As crazy as it sounds, I’m looking forward to logging data with the Tempest from any storm that decides to come our way. I’d head north with my family if we had another Andrew knocking on our door, but the Tempest would definitely stay out on her galvanized perch collecting data!

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I didn’t stick around for Andrew. It was supposed to hit further north and I was living in Ft. Lauderdale at the time so I got out. If it had hit where they said it would, I probably would not have had a place to return home to.

Do you really think it would stay put in 150 mph winds? I don’t think I’d use a wooden closet pole to mount it, as I’ve seen elsewhere in the forum. Not sure about PVC either. I’m not crazy about the idea of putting a 10’ or longer metal pole on my house; seems an invitation for a lightning strike so it would have to be properly grounded. Maybe a metal pipe encased within a PVC pipe…

My thinking is from my motorsports mindset. Every time that I climb into a race car and put on my helmet, I have accepted the real possibility that my day could end with a crumbled-up ball of scrap metal on a flatbed tow truck. Being self-funded, I also know the wisdom of saving the car for another day when things aren’t going well.

Does anyone sell PWS insurance policies? I’m mounting the cellular Tempest pro kit that I have on order at the top of a mountain that my family owns. From my experience being up there, I have no doubt that the Tempest sensor suite and entire mast will be obliterated by lightning in less than a year no matter how well it is grounded…

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Ha! I love the fact that you’ve come to terms with the outcome! :zap:

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I don’t care how many times @vreihen puts this in a post. I am hitting the like button. Classic phrase!

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Risk versus reward, and the reward in this case could save my family hundreds of thousands of dollars.

About 1.5 years ago, there was a guy who lived further down the mountain who was burning garbage in a barrel one winter evening. One of the embers blew up the mountain, igniting the woods on my family’s land into a small forest fire about midnight. The town’s fire department and state forest rangers had the fire out in a few hours, before it could spread more than an acre. The guy was cited for illegal burning, but not charged with starting the forest fire.

Fast-forward to last summer, and my family receiving a bill for an OBSCENE amount of money from the state forest rangers for their services the prior winter. Their investigator determined that the fire started on our land, so we had to pay the bill for putting it out! The first thing that I did after hearing this is hit up WU to look at any nearby PWS data on winds that evening, but there were only a few and they were all in different micro-climates deep in the surrounding valleys.

Long story short, the $500 or so that it will cost to put a cellular Tempest station and APRS radio to CWOP on top of the mountain is peanuts compared to a state forest ranger bill. Because micro-climates, I will probably even pick up a few more Tempest sensor suites once I see the first station working and place them at locations further down the mountain to map the updrafts. Hopefully, they will be able to relay through the cellular Hub at the top…

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I mounted mine on my roof using a method that doesn’t require anchoring through the roof and have what I feel is a high-wind system. I used SCH 80 PVC and after getting it set up on the roof I poured it full of cement. Then, on the 2-in. vertical section I inserted a metal rod and filled cement around it. That made for a very heavy and stiff mounting base held in place using only gravity. I then took a piece of 1-in. SCH 80 PVC and put a metal rod inside that and filled it with cement and fastened that to the 2-in. vertical section. I then mounted the instrument to the top of that. The whole thing weighs about 80 pounds and has a minimal cross-sectional area to catch the wind. It’ll probably wobble some as the wind hits triple digits but with all that concrete and steel inside I doubt it’s going anywhere! (It looks like it’s not mounted vertically but that’s just the cell phone camera distortion. I used a level to get it just right)

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Interesting idea, but such an arrangement would be highly visible on my house. However I do have two flat roofs where I could do something similar. Did you fill the PVC with wet cement or just the dry mix? I imagine the weight would be more or less the same, but getting wet cement into a 1" pipe would be tedious and time consuming, I’d think.

We have a flat roof where I work, and had an old-school monster satellite dish up there for years being held down by nothing more than a dozen or so cinder blocks on a mount like these:

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There are also a few options for pitched roofs:

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Personally, most of these look like they could be replicated as a DIY project, using nothing more than an old bed frame, hacksaw, and drill to bolt things together…

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What about installing a lightning rod nearby? Seems like that could prevent the Tempest from taking a hit.

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Have you ever tried to herd cats? From a lifetime of experience, trying to coerce lightning to follow a desired path is just as futile. A good bolt will also have side arcs reach out a few hundred feet (or more) to zap something else nearby, and family members have seen ball lightning with their own eyes up on the mountain.

Since I’m not overly concerned with aesthetics in the woods, I may go with a 4" PVC mast, non-conductive/UV-safe guy wires, and large springs at the anchors to keep everything in tension…

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I filled it with wet cement and used PVC instead of metal because I live in the lighting capital of the U S. My area receives ~20 lightning strikes per square mile every year according to the weather service.

That must have been tedious. Did you use regular or self-leveling cement? I’d think you would have to use a lot of water to get regular cement to flow through a funnel into a 1" pipe. The self-leveling stuff is pretty liquid.

For the 2" pipe I used regular Sakrete and it was fairly thin but it took a lot so I know it’s all filled. For the vertical part of the 2" pipe, which is 24" long, I added a full length piece of reinforcing steel and then added the cement. For the 1" pipe I used mortar mix and filled the pipe about 3/4 full, then added the full-length threaded rod. I then topped it off. If I were to do it all over again, I’d run the 2" vertical part to full height and have a short piece of 1" to mount the SKY. That would’ve been ultra stable and stiff but I think what I have is adequate. Again, I had to stay away from metal poles because of the amount of lightning we get here in Florida.

Note that although the cement mix may not have been up to par with respect to weight-bearing structural specifications, the loads imparted in this application provide the stiffness (and weight) needed to get the job done.