Their hobby is your local weather station

Thanks to at least two Rappahannock County weather buffs, anyone with an Internet connection can view daily weather statistics for Rappahannock anytime.

Dave Yowell of Sperryville and Demaris Miller of Washington both say that a weather station is something that gives them joy and satisfies their curiosity about mysterious weather trends and patterns, temperatures, dew points, precipitation and more. Both of them are qualified to use Davis Instruments Vantage Pro — solar-powered measuring equipment that is the same state-of-the-art technology used by professional meteorologists around the world.

Both say they share their information simply because it is satisfying to provide that service.

For 50 years, Miller says, her father had a weather station on the Conyers, Ga. farm where she grew up. He used it to keep track of soil moisture, rainfall, humidity, barometric pressure and other weather statistics, primarily to help manage crops. Years later, after her father had passed away, she was given his old weather station — a little white shack that stood on four posts with the old equipment that her father used still inside.

She decided she wanted a weather station of her own. Her husband bought her the equipment needed to run a 21st-century weather station after she agreed to throw away the old equipment.

The technology was the Vantage Pro system, which wirelessly transmits all readings to her home computer and keeps records as well. The information automatically updates every five minutes and can be seen on her Web site, demarismiller.com. The Millers, and Demaris Miller’s weather station, are located on Main Street in Washington. She says she’s been running the station for five years. When asked how long she will maintain it, she says: “Forever.”

Yowell says he has always been interested in weather. “There’s just something about it,” he says, “how we have no control over it, how many different weather patterns we see each day.”

“I remember one day I was at home in Gid Brown Hollow, and it was 54 and sunny, then I drove to the Co-op and remember it being freezing and scraping frost of my window.” At the end of 2010, he says, he will have been running his own weather station for 20 years for the people of Rappahannock County (and elsewhere, via the Web) — not including four years in a previous location near Flint Hill. He also uses the Vantage Pro system. Yowell’s weather station is based in Gid Brown Hollow and can be accessed at rappahannockweather.com.

Patrick Hanberry, a Rappahannock resident and a senior at Highland School, has been the Rappahannock News’ intern for the month of May.