SPWeather.net

If I may, I would love to share with you a little history as to why spweather.net was created.

When the temperature dips below 33F we would start our 450 horsepower wind machine as a frost protection measure for our small lemon grove on the west side of Santa Paula. If prevailing winds pick up, the machine is no longer effective and has to be shut down to prevent damage to the propeller blades. In the past, that meant frequently getting up during the night (or staying up all night) and going outside to monitor conditions.

In December 2001, we had a flow of cold air that settled over Southern California. I was working late on my regular job. The online weather information for Santa Paula, www.weather.com, reported that the temperature was 42F. I then started home, thinking that there was not going to be the frost predicted for the night. I checked the temperature again when I got home, but this time with a probe located in the orchard. It read 26F which will damage lemon trees depending on how long it remains at or below that temperature. I rechecked online, still a warmer 41F, which is not a problem for lemons. I then checked the RAWS site in Piru. It showed a current temperature as 38F. Later, I learned that www.weather.com readings for Santa Paula were actually readings from Camarillo.

We needed more accurate, dependable, closer to home weather info.

After that cold spell, we (my father and I) started looking for a weather station that could also be used to create a website. Our plan was to also make the current weather information available to our farming neighbors, anytime, from anywhere.

After several weeks researching different stations, we decided that Davis (Hayward, Ca) had the features, precision, and support required. We purchased their Vantage Pro Plus with NIST Certifications. The Sensors are Solar Powered, with wireless connection to a weather console in the house. The Temperature and Humidity sensors are shielded from solar radiation and fan aspirated for better accuracy. After a couple of small problems, we were up and running live in May 2002.

Since I am the Network Administrator for an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and Assistant Network Administrator for another WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider), I was able to get bandwidth to the house, and with my knowledge of internet, I knew what was needed to host websites. Since the Internet service is currently being provided at no cost, it was decided that we would not charge for access, nor would there be advertising banners or popups which diminish the value of the site as a 'public' resource.

In that regard, the Ventura County Air Quality Control District recently inspected the site for use as a supplement their own data giving them better coverage of the lower Santa Clara Valley (Santa Paula). Also, www.pilotinformation.com has linked to the site as a resource for private pilots that are flying into Santa Paula's airport, (listed as: KSZP Weather, noted as a "** Non-government site"). The Media is encouraged to extract our weather data for publication or link directly to www.spweather.net

On our wish list is the addition of a "Santa Paula weather Cam”, possibly with a view from atop South Mountain.