This website was created as a public service for residents of Saratoga, California.
This weather station is privately owned and operated, is not affiliated with the City of Saratoga, California,
and should not be considered an officially recognized station for weather reporting.
Never base important decisions on this or any weather information obtained from the Internet.
About Saratoga, California
The City of Saratoga is an attractive residential community with excellent schools and unique characteristics. With beginnings in middle 1800's, and incorporated in 1956, the community has a historic downtown district, "Saratoga Village," or "The Village" with distinctive dining and unique shops. The City also is home to Villa Montalvo, the former home of Senator James Duval Phelan which is host to an art gallery, an artist in residence program, concert performances and park trails and grounds. The Mountain Winery in the Saratoga foothills features world-class concerts each Spring and Summer. Hakone Gardens, a City park operated by the Hakone Foundation, is the oldest Japanese-style residential gardens in the Western Hemisphere. More detailed history of Saratoga is available on the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce website and the Saratoga Historical Society website.
Money Magazine has included the City of Saratoga as number 26 in it's 2005 annual "Best Places to Live"
The varied terrain of the San Francisco Bay Area cause many microclimates to exist -- Saratoga enjoys a Mediterranian-style climate and usually only two seasons "Spring" and "Fall". Snow is an unusual event, happening about every 15 years in Saratoga proper, but the fringing mountains have snow for a few days each year. Average rainfall is about 22.5 inches. Temperature averages in high 30's in January to mid 80's in July. In all, a lovely place to live, and somewhat boring for a weather enthusiast since it is a microclimate of moderation.
History of the website
My general interest in weather (and geology) started long ago. My first "real" weather station was an Oregon Scientific cabled system. After a couple of years, it was replaced by a Oregon Scientific wireless system. After a couple of more years, I decided it was time for an upgrade, and with retirement came the opportunity to dig into the weather hobby.
In February, 2004, the current Davis Vantage Pro system was installed, and a simple one-page website (see image on right side) was created to display the current conditions using WeatherLink software. The observations were also sent to CWOP and WeatherUnderground. A perl script later, the WeatherUnderground and NWS forecasts were displayed. This design served as the primary Saratoga-Weather.org web presence for about two years until early 2006.
After joining a couple of weather forums and seeing what others have done to display their weather on personal weather websites, I thought it was time for a major update of my weather website. In October, 2005, I started on a major redesign of the website using a basic CSS template from Dreamweaver 4 as the starting point. In the process, the site morphed from being SHTML into full PHP and went live in February, 2006. You can see the V2.0 site version in the graphic to the left.
The site expanded slowly as I wrote more PHP scripts for it, and I began offering these PHP scripts (for free) to have other weather enthusiasts use them on their PHP personal weather websites. The V2.0 version of the website did have a common page design, but became increasingly hard to maintain since each page had the same 'boilerplate' parts that to change the basic design would mean slogging through all the pages in the site.
After producing the WD/AJAX/PHP template set, I thought it was time to modernize the look and structure of the site once more (and incorporate much of the development work that went into the template sets) into the version 3.0 of the site. The latest version is based on a template called CoolWater 1.0 which has been heavily modified for this site. The site now has common elements drawn from shared included pages, so changes to the overall look/feel or global maintenance is very much easier with this new design. The Version 3.0 of the website was implemented in September, 2009.
The weather station is a Davis Instruments Vantage Pro 6151c (cabled) unit with a fan-aspirated radiation shield for the temperature/humidity sensors. The exterior sensor unit (shown at left) measures wind-speed, wind-direction, rainfall, temperature and humidity, and the interior console unit measures barometric pressure, indoor temperature and humidity. On 22-Mar-2006, the UV and Solar Radiation sensors were added to the exterior sensor unit (making it a Vantage Pro Plus).
Tripod mount with sensor 7' above roof. (approx 34' above ground)
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Temperature and Humidity
In open, 5 feet above grass.
Rain gauge and fan-aspirated temperature/humidity sensor on tripod at 6' above roof.
5 of 10
In open, 2 feet above grass.
Same as above.
5 of 10
The station software initially ran on a dedicated laptop (Fry's Electronics RX-7336) under Microsoft Windows XP Home-SP2. Primary data collection is done using Davis WeatherLink. WeatherLink has been collecting data since station start-up in February, 2004.
The Davis Vantage Pro Plus Console is connected to the dedicated laptop via a B&B Electronics Serial Opto-isolator (9POP4) into a PC Card 9-pin RS232 adapter (JJ-PCM012 by SIIG Electronics). The Opto-isolator was used to solve a false high-wind reading during heavy rains (which seemed to be caused by a ground loop).
In February, 2006, a COM port sharing package (GPSGate Standard from Franson) was installed which allowed the installation of Weather-Display V10.32u to peacefully coexist with WeatherLink by listening to the signals from the Davis Vantage Pro console's COM port connection to the laptop.
In March, 2006, the Virtual VP software was installed to replace GPSGate and allows up to 4 programs to access the Vantage Pro Console.
I highly recommend Virtual VP if you want to run more than one weather program. On March 22 a UV and Solar sensor set was added to the ISS which makes the station a Vantage Pro Plus.
In July, 2006 a Boltek-PCI Lightning Detector and Astrogenic NexStorm, StormVue and WASP2 were added to the station. The detector is placed in a Schedule-40 ABS housing mounted 5 feet above the roof at the north end of the house. The station is reporting lightning strike data real-time to StrikeStarUS. Special thanks to my son Ryan for braving the 110+ heat in the attic to run the cable and install the mount and mast for the detector on the roof that hot July day! Without his help, there wouldn't be a lightning detector operating on the website.
In August, 2006 the Weather-Display MesoMap Live feature was added to see nearby station's data displayed on a map of the South San Francisco Bay area. The Scripts page was split into multiple pages for better readibility and expansion room as more scripts were added.
In December, 2006 this website was awarded the WXForum.net Featured Weather Website for Fall, 2006. As I'd said in the writeup about the site for WXForum.net:
I want to thank the folks on the old weatherforum.net (now hosted on WXForum.net with lots of the same faces) for all the advice and and discussions. You are the ones who inspired me to develop the weather hobby and the website to report it. I'm very proud to have been a part of resurrecting the weatherforum.net as the current wxforum.net, and thank you all for rejoining our new discussion forum and for keeping Gary Oldham's vision of an independent weather enthusiast's forum alive and well.
In February 2007, a Midland WR300 NOAA Weather Radio was set to Channel 7 (162.55MHz) to receive NOAA station KEC49 and now streams 16kb audio to WeatherUnderground via Oddcast software. Several NOAA Radio stations are now available on the Radio page. The website what tuned up a bit, pages now center in the browser window, and a new navigation bar highlights which page is being displayed. A personal forecast page was done with data from WXSIM.
In March 2007, a PHP script was released to format the WXSIM plaintext forecast into icons and condition descriptions. This script and control files was an international development effort and offered translations of the English into Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish.
In July 2007, Virtual Weather Station software was installed to augment the data collection and display. Thanks to SoftWX VirtualVP, up to 4 weather software programs can coexist using the single serial link to the Davis Vantage Pro Plus console.
On 29-Feb-2008, Version 1.00 of the WD/AJAX/PHP website templates was released.
On 06-Jul-2009, Version 2.00 of the WD/AJAX/PHP website templates was released.
In September, 2009, the main Saratoga-Weather.org website was updated to use a modified WD/AJAX/PHP template (multilingual) as the underlying structure. The Version 3.0 of this website is based on the look of a free template called CoolWater 1.0 which has been heavily modified for use here.
On 13-Dec-2009, the communication with the Davis Vantage Pro Plus console failed, so weather contions are being collected in the console, but the weather software is unable to communicate with the console. We expect to be back online with current conditions in early January, 2010. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.
On 07-Jan-2010, the station was back online.
On 18-Mar-2010, the Netcam (Panasonic BL-C10A) developed a lot of communication problems, and despite a firmware update, had to be retired from service. It was replaced with a Logitech Pro 9000 webcam (USB connect to ImageSalsa) and is now providing the sky view to the North-East.
On 10-Apr-2010, the Davis VP Console (serial) to PC connection was replaced by a B&B USO9ML2-LS USB-Serial adapter (isolated). This will hopefully fix the issues that started in December-2009 with intermittent connectivity. I had replaced the former USB-Serial Adapter and the B&B 9POP4 optoisolator (and USB drivers) with no reliable connection found. Sigh. The optoisolated serial port is needed due to a ground-loop with the anemometer (during rain) which resulted in an erronious 110+MPH wind reading.
On 08-Jul-2010, the new Panasonic BB-HCM735A outdoor netcam was installed and replaced the Logitech Pro 9000 inside webcam to provide a much better view of sky conditions in Saratoga.
On 04-Feb-2011, a new set of free AJAX/PHP multilingual templates with support for Weather-Display, VWS, WeatherLink and Cumulus was released. The original Weather-Display/AJAX/PHP template sets released in Feb, 2008 had been the base for over 460 websites worldwide.
The weather data is quality checked by comparing this data to a predicted value based upon an analysis of the data from other local weather stations submitted via CWOP. I receive notifications when this data varies too far from the other stations.. The current quality status can be viewed at CWOP Quality Information for CW1792.