How Do Weather Stations Work?

Digital weather station LCD

Weather stations are seemingly magical contraptions. They predict the weather with shocking accuracy (sometimes better than BBC meteorologists… just saying), and help plan our days. But if you’re planning to use a weather station, it helps to know how they actually function. So we felt it was about time that DreamyHome put together a quick weather stations FAQ to help you out. We’ll discuss how weather stations work, why they do what they do, and more – so stay tuned.

Today’s Topics Include:

Now let’s just dive right in, shall we?

How Do Weather Stations Work?

various weather stations

There are two answers to this question, depending on how old your weather station is.

  • Traditional (Analogue) Weather Stations:
    • As mentioned above, traditional weather stations use the temperature and general humidity of the room they’re in to make an educated guess as to the outside weather. While this still applies to modern ones as well, there are a few extra bits and bobs that make modern weather stations’ predictions a bit more accurate.
  • Modern (Digital) Weather Stations:
    • Modern weather stations generally use the same basic principle, but with more advanced equipment. Some come with additional sensors to set up outside, while others come with just one station. Common factors measured by modern weather stations include:
      • Temperature (inside & out)
      • Humidity (inside & out)
      • Atmospheric pressure
      • Wind speed
      • Rainfall

This all combines to create a relatively accurate local prediction of the weather, though it’s less accurate the farther from home you go.

In short, weather stations monitor a wide array of factors to make an educated guess as to what the weather near your home will be like. Both analogue (old) and digital (new) weather stations are capable of being wrong, though this possibility drops as the number of sensors monitored rises.

Types of Sensors

weather station

Let’s talk about what weather stations use to actually detect and monitor weather, and then we can call it. There are six general types of sensors that are used in mainstream weather stations (like those made by AcuRite):

  • Rain Gauge: Rain gauges (obviously) measure rainfall. This helps to predict major storms and to prepare for potential flooding.
  • Hygrometer: Hygrometers measure the relative humidity in the air, AKA the percentage of water vapour in the air. This helps predict things like rain, fog, heat indexes, and dew points, as well as helping predict required maintenance for your home.
  • Barometer: Barometers measure atmospheric pressure using a barometric pressure chart and pressure trend to find sudden changes in pressure which predict certain storm patterns.
  • Anemometer: Anemometers (try saying that three times fast, I dare you) measure wind speed and record both peak and average speeds.
  • Wind Vane: Also known as a weather vane, these are used to track wind direction. AcuRite wind vanes display wind peak and average changes in wind direction using a 16-point rose compass.
  • Thermometer: Be honest here, you know what this is. A thermometer measures temperatures and records trends (highs/lows), as well as predicts short-term changes in temperature with surprising accuracy.


And that’s about it! This article answered our most commonly-asked questions in relation to weather stations. Whether you were curious as to how weather stations work or wanted to know how to troubleshoot issues on Wunderground – as usual, we have you covered.