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Recent enhancements to FAWN allow for easier navigation on station-specific pages, plus an app for smartphone access

THE FLORIDA AUTOMATED WEATHER NETWORK (FAWN), a program of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), uses data from its network of 42 stations for a variety of weather-related tools that can aid growers in making irrigation and cold protection decisions. Growers rely on FAWN weather data to monitor current conditions, and FAWN tools for making decision related to irrigation, freeze protection, and chemical application. FAWN has been proven very useful in helping growers save both water and dollars. For example, UF/IFAS estimates show use of FAWN tools on cold nights can potentially generate savings of millions of dollars and billions of gallons of water statewide.

Recently, FAWN deployed several enhancements to its Homepage and to its station-specific pages. In particular, on the Homepage, users can easily access a current measurement, a 36-hour National Weather Service (NWS) forecast, and any applicable NWS watches/ warnings for a station by simply placing the mouse cursor over a station on the Homepage map. RADAR images and animations are also available with a mouse click.

Each station page, accessible by clicking a station on the Homepage, now provides a new look and feel, as well as new station-specific products.

For example, a NWS graphic forecast of several variables, including wet bulb temperature, is available, as well as station location information, including photos and a map, and current RADAR images. A major revision to this page includes how the cold protection tools are displayed. Previously users were required to navigate through each tool, selecting stations along the way. Now, with one click, users can view all the tools as they apply to one station right from the station page. These enhancements make it much easier for users to access station-specific information and tools without having to visit multiple pages.

In 2011, FAWN began a collaborative project with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Water Policy titled My Florida Farm Weather (MFFW). This high-resolution farm based weather station network, a cost share program between growers and FDACS, provides site-specific weather data that can be used to maximize water use for irrigation and cold protection. FAWN also developed an app, for the iPhone and Android platforms, that allows users to view data and decision-making tools on a smartphone. Features include data graphs, map customizations, cold protection tools, and notifications. Since the program began, there have been approximately 180 weather stations deployed.

Growers can also access a wide variety of climate-related tools from Agroclimate (UF’s climate group), including seasonal outlooks and forecasts, chill accumulation calculations and projections, and freeze probabilities. Simply check the Climate menu on the FAWN Homepage.

Users can stay up to date on station issues, upcoming events, and even daily highs and lows via the FAWN Twitter feed, which is shown on the Homepage. The FAWN website can be found at fawn.ifas.ufl.edu.

CREDITS

article by WILLIAM R. LUSHER, UF/IFAS Extension, director, FAWN Project
photos by SARAH ASCHLIMAN