About This Website

This website was created for the residents of Willowsford Farm, located near Arcola, Virginia to provide local weather data and forecasts.
The weather station and website is privately owned and operated and the data should not be used for official weather information.

About Willowsford Farm

One of the most unusual aspects of Willowsford is that it is made up of four non-contiguous villages located just east of the Bull Run Mountains, which are a mountain range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Virginia in the United States. The Bull Run Mountains are located approximately 20 miles (32 km) east of the main chain, across the Loudoun Valley. The Bull Run Mountains, together with Catoctin Mountain in Virginia and Maryland, make up the easternmost front of the Blue Ridge. Two of the villages (The Grange and The Grant), are in Ashburn north of Route 50, and two (The Grove and The Greens) are in Aldie, south of Route 50. The Willowsford Farm weather station is located in the Grange. Willowsford Farm is a farm-to-table community that integrates a residential community, functioning ecosystem services and viable, people-oriented agriculture. A big part of the community is the Willowsford Conservancy that maintains 2,000 acres of open space, woodlands and natural habitat. From trail maintenance to forest management, Willowsford Conservancy has become a national model for how residential communities can support a thriving ecology in their own back yards, while enjoying it fully today and protecting it for the future.

About the Weather Station at Willowsford Farm

Harware Components

   Weather Station
On February 1, 2018, the weather station at Willowsford Farm, a Davis Vantage Pro2™ was installed. The outdoor Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS) consists of a solar powered suite of sensors that measure temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and wind direction. The "bee hive" shield at the base of the ISS protects the temperature and humitidy sensors against solar radiation and other sources of radiated and reflected heat. The electronic components, including the wireless transmitter operating at 920-928 MHz, are located in a weather-resistant case behind the solar panel. The rain gauge is an automatic tipping bucket type. The temperature, humidity, and rainfall sensors are mounted on a stainless steel mast about 5 feet above the grass. The wind sensors (cup anemometer and wind vane) are mounted about 15 feet above ground level on a stainless steel mast.
   ISS Upgrade
On January 1, 2023, the ISS was upgraded by adding a Daytime Fan Aspirated Radiation Shield Kit that includes fan, solar panel, additional radiation shield plates, and hardware. The solar-powered fan runs during the day and reduces the effects of daytime radiation.
   ISS Upgrade
On January 1, 2024, the ISS was upgraded by adding a Solar Radiation Sensor that measures solar radiation for evapotranspiration (ET) and Temperature/Humidity/Sun/Wind (THSW) Index.
   Weather Camera
On February 25, 2022, a Reolink RLC-510A® Weather Webcam was installed. It has a 2560 x 1920 resolution (5 megapixel) and is powered by Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. PoE transmits electric power with data simultaneously over data pairs on Ethernet cables. PoE provides both data connection and operating power to the camera. This permitted a simpler installation by only having to run an Ethernet cable from a powered switch to the camera. The powered switch is a BV-Tech 4 Port PoE+ Gigabit Switch and connects to a non-PoE TRENDnet TEG-S16D 16-Port Gigabit GREENnet Switch. The software used to process the still images and video is IPTimelapse.
         Rain Gauge
On Ocotber 1, 2022, a CoCoRaHS rain gauge was installed. CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow). By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and using an interactive Web-site, CoCoRaHS volunteers work to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. The Willowsford Farm Weather CoCoRaHS observations can be viewed here: CoCoRaHS Precip Map
         Air Quality Monitor
On June 13, 2023, a PurpleAir Flex Air Quality Monitor was installed. The PurpleAir Flex measures real-time PM2.5 concentrations and is located on the side of the house. The results are automatically sent to the PurpleAir website for aggregation and analysis. The Willowsford Farm Weather PurpleAir real time data can be viewed here: Real Time Data and a local Air Quality Map can be viewed here: PurpleAir Map.
Purchased in 2005 for my first weather station while living in Florida, the Vantage Pro2™ Weather Station console, still in use today, is located indoors and receives the data wirelessly from the ISS, displays and records the data, provides graph and alarm functions, and a data logger attached to the console interfaces to a computer via a serial-to-usb connector. The weather station computer runs Windows 11 and the data is ingested into Weather-Display Software Version 10.37S-(b151). Besides receiving the ISS data, the console measures barometric pressure, indoor temperature, and indoor humidity.
          Website Server
The server runs the Willowsford Farm Weather website. On December 27, 2021 the server was upgraded to a Synology DiskStation DS220+ from a Synology DiskStation DS218j. The DS220+ has an Intel Celeron J4025 Dual Core 2.0 GHz processor, burst up to 2.9 GHz with 6GB of RAM and 3TB of RAID storage and over 225 MB/s sequential read and 192 MB/s sequential write throughput.
Weather Display Computer
On December 26, 2021, the computer running Weather Display was upgraded to a Dell Inspiron 15.6" FHD 3501 Laptop running Windows 11 with an 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i3-1115G4 Processor, 16GB RAM, and two Solid State Drives drives (256GB for OS & software + 1TB for storage). Besides sending weather station data to the server, the Weather Display software also sends data to the Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP) (unique identifier is FW2194 showing station quality at here), NWS, NOAA's Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS), the Weather Underground, Mid-Atlantic Weather Network, PWS Weather, and Windy.
Webcam Computer
On August 10, 2020 a Dell Inspiron 27 inch All-in-One Desktop PC running Windows 11 with a 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-10510U Processor, 32GB RAM, and two Solid State Drives drives (512GB for OS & software + 1TB for storage) with an NVIDIA MX110 2GB graphics card replaced a 2017 HP Pavilion 27" r014 All-in-One Desktop. This comupter processes the Weather Webcam images with IPTimelapse software.
Radar and Models Computer
On March 27, 2021, GRLevel3 Radar software and Powershell scripts for numerical weather prediction models, local observations, and upper air soundings were migrated to this Dell Inspiron 15.6" FHD 3501 Laptop running Windows 11 with a 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-1035G1 Processor, 16GB RAM, and two Solid State Drives drives (256GB for OS & software + 1TB for storage) from the Webcam Computer. This computer runs GRLevel3 in a regional view and local view.

Software Components

Weather Display: Weather Display receives data from the weather station and outputs real time information to include auto scale and graph history graphing, FTP of the weather data to a webpage, email notifications, web download, averages/extreme/climate/NOAA reports, web cam upload, grouped file uploads, FTP downloads, decoded METAR downloads, APRS output, direct web cam capture, animated web cam images, weatherdials, weather voice, and weather answer phone.
PHP/AJAX Templates: This website is based on the Saratoga-Weather.org PHP/AJAX weather website templates. Using PHP allows this template to require only one file to be uploaded through the weather software for symbolic substitution for weather conditions. The AJAX JavaScript reads a separate, frequently uploaded, conditions file produced by Weather Display software to dynamically update selected parts of the HTML on the pages to reflect current conditions at the Willowsford Farm weather station.
Hypertext Preprocessor: PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used Open Source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. Its syntax draws upon C, Java, and Perl, and is easy to learn. The main goal of the language is to allow web developers to write dynamically generated web pages quickly.
PowerShell: PowerShell is a cross-platform task automation solution made up of a command-line shell, a scripting language, and a configuration management framework. PowerShell runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS. This website uses PowerShell scripts for a variety of tasks to include automatically downloading model files and other graphics, manipulating weather webcam video and image files, updating weather records graphs, downloading the Hourly Roundup observations, and checking the status of weather station batteries & status of the Saratoga-Weather templates for updates and sending a daily email with that information.
Highcharts: Highcharts is a software library for charting and is written in pure JavaScript. The license is proprietary but it is free for personal/non-commercial uses and paid for commercial applications. The Annual and All-time graphs under the Records link of this website are created using Highcharts.
GRLevel3: GRLevel3 is a component of GRLevelX it is a Windows viewer for live and archive NEXRAD Level III data. It displays high resolution base products, dual polarization products, and derived products along with Local Storm Reports and severe weather warnings. GRLevel3 runs on two computers in support of this website producing a regional radar view and a local radar view of the Northern Virginia area.
AOMEI Backupper Pro: AOMEI Backupper Pro is Windows backup software that provides data and system backup protection, supporting install recovery, file sync for exact copy of files, and clone system/disk to directly replace old/damaged disks. This software is used to create a daily backup Weather Display files on the Weather Station Computer by saving them to a OneDrive Cloud. To save space, the entire Weather Display directory is backed-up monthly with smaller, differential backups daily. This ensures the ability to restore all Weather Display files in the event of a catastrophic SSD failure on the Weather Station Computer or if a previous version of a Weather Display file is needed to replace a corrupt file.
Synology Drive: Synology Drive Server used in concert with Synology Drive Client synchronizes files and folders across multiple locations when using a Synology NAS. These files are also regarded as backups. The Synology Drive Client is installed on the Regional Radar and Models Computer and continually syncs all files from the OneDrive folders with the files on the Synology NAS, thereby acting as an onsite backup of all Weather Display files from the Weather Station Computer as well as all scripts and files on the Regional Radar and Models Computer.
IPTimelapse: IPTimelapse is a timelapse and streaming software for Windows. It supports multi-camera, timelapse, streaming, webcam upload, and display of weather observations. This website uses the software to create near real-time still images, timelapses, daily timelapse archives, and live webcam video via YouTube from the Reolink RLC-510A camera.

Network Diagram

Windows laptop computers, Synology NAS server, network equipment, WD Console, UPS's in the basement

Sensor Siting

Page 31 of the CWOP Weather Station Siting, Performance, and Data Quality Guide contains a table called "Determining Optimal Sensor Siting for Your Location". The table provides a method to score the optimal location of a weather station based on several factors. The Willowsford Farm weather stations scored 23 out of 30. The less than perfect score is due to the limited availability to properly position the wind sensors.
Sensor Optimal Sensor Location Willowsford Farm Location CWOP Score
Wind speed and direction 32 feet above ground. No obstructions. Mounted on a stainless steel mast 15 feet above ground. Trees are below sensor level. Roof apex above sensor to the north. 4 of 10
Temperature and Humidity In open, 5 feet above grass. In open, 5 ½ feet above grass mounted on fence post. 10 of 10
Rainfall In open, 2 feet above grass. In open, 5 ½ feet above grass mounted on fence post. 9 of 10

Weather Station Location

Latitude: 38° 57' 41.4972" N (deg min sec), 38.96178° (decimal)
Longitude: 77° 33' 59.7852" W (deg min sec), -77.56643° (decimal)
Elevation: 102 meters (335 feet)


This site is a template design by CarterLake.org with PHP conversion by Saratoga-Weather.org.
Special thanks go to Kevin Reed at TNET Weather for his work on the original Carterlake templates, and his design for the common website PHP management.
Special thanks to Mike Challis of Long Beach WA for his wind-rose generator, Theme Switcher and CSS styling help with these templates.
Special thanks go to Ken True of Saratoga-Weather.org for the AJAX conditions display, dashboard and integration of the TNET Weather common PHP site design for this site.

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