Jesse Ferrell

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Weather Geek Christmas Gadgets, Part 1

December 22, 2012; 11:11 PM ET

Hey weather geeks, got some Christmas cash to spend? Here are a few ideas of weather-related gadgets that I've put on my list this year:

WEATHER STATIONS: ) -- In "How to Install a Weather Station at Your Home" I blogged about the Davis Vantage Vue Weather Station, which remains the standard for full-featured wireless weather stations, and it's only $279 (hardware) and $207 (for the IP device to upload it to the Internet) as of this writing, at It measures rain, temp, humidity, and pressure and flawlessly transmits from your yard to any room inside.

You can get cheaper weather stations, but you'll regret it. (If you're looking for a professional, commercial grade station, RainWise has one that transmits up to a mile!). In the Google Hangout below, I talk about the Davis Vantage Vue and a couple other weather gadgets including the discontinued Bushnell Weather Forecasters, which download a 7-day forecast to a standalone device in your home (no setup required).

WEATHER WEBCAMS: If you're looking for the be-all, end-all weather webcam, years lafter reviewing them for the first time, I can't stop gushing about the StarDot internet cameras. I just installed a new one on AccuWeather's roof this Summer, called the NetCam XL2.5 - note how much larger it is than the previous model, and wide-angle to boot:

I continue to recommend the Panasonic IP Cameras (which I vlogged about several years ago) as an inexpensive way to observe the weather at your house remotely, without having to run a separate computer. I first reviewed these in 2008, but this year they came out with HD versions. I have the BL-VT164P at my house, but haven't had time to thoroughly review it. The picture is much larger and clearer than the old cams (see below), but not as clear as I'd hoped; the price point isn't much different. I'm also hoping to review the DropCam with Cloud Storage soon. It sounds similar to the low-end Panasonics, but recording to the cloud would be helpful.

WEATHER VIDEO CAMERAS: I can't say enough about the GoPro HERO line of video cameras; buy one and it will be the last you'll need. I'll be launching a comprehensive review of the GoPro HERO2 next week on my blog; as soon as I got the cam, I strapped the camera to the top of my bike helmet, and recorded this awesome video, without a further look at the manual (make sure to view it in HD):

If you're looking for a less expensive camera to only do time-lapses, I have a couple of Brinno time-lapse cams on my Christmas list -- I assume that's how this awesome Croatian snow fall time-lapse was done.

And finally, something as cheap as a car dock can turn your cellphone into a video camera for chasing or documenting vacation (here's a test of daytime video from my HTC Rezound car dock).

BOOKS: Earlier this year, I reviewed Mike Smith's new book "When the Sirens Went Silent", and did the same for his previous book, "Warnings" in 2010. Both of these books are excellent reads, whether you're inside the weather biz or just an observer. I've also added Storm Chaser Jim Edd's iPad book "Hurricane Journey" to my Christmas list. Storm Chaser Jeff Gammons, who I interviewed during a Google Hangout last month, also helped write the book. These guys know their stuff.

STILL LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD CAMERAS... As I blogged about this Summer, I've reviewed a new Kodak camera but I'm still unsatisfied with it. If you have any good point-and-shoots you'd recommend, let me know... otherwise I'll stick with the Canon DSLR from I reviewed last summer.

DO THERMOSTATS COUNT? This isn't exactly a weather gadget, but who could resist controlling your home's heating and cooling system with the Nest glowing orb. Not crazy enough? The competitor Venstar's ColorTouch is a combination thermostat and digital picture frame!

FUTURISTIC WEATHER TOYS NOT YET FOR SALE: And finally, here's a list of things we can't have this Christmas - because they haven't been produced yet. These futuristic concepts are awesome and I hope they can appear on my Christmas 2013 list!

1. Yanko Design's The Air Umbrella: They finally invented a new umbrella - and this one works by keeping the rain off of you with moving air. Awesome. Can you imagine how cool you'd look walking down the street with one of these?

2. The Micasa's Nebula is a floating "cloud lamp" that animates the weather forecast for the next few days with color, light, and a steam cloud. Since it requires liquid hydrogen, it probably won't be cheap, but sign me up.

Need more? Check out these reviews:

- Gizmodo: Top 12 Tech Gadgets of 2012

- Popular Mechanics: Top Gadgets of CES 2012

- Wired GadgetLab: Gadgets of 2012

- 51 coolest gadgets of 2012

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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About This Blog

Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.