Back garden weather man from Ottery St Mary
AMATEUR weather recorder Damian Coombes could be Ottery s best kept secret.
AMATEUR weather recorder Damian Coombes could be Ottery's best kept secret.
An IT worker by day, Damian has spent the last two years developing a hobby in which he records and predicts Ottery's weather peculiarities. From temperature and rainfall to lightening strikes and even earthquakes, and he does it all from his back- garden.
Damian, 31, built his one-man weather station from a scrapped Davis Weather Monitor II, given to him in 2006 and has been publishing the town's meteorological details, which include soil temperature, leaf wetness and solar radiation, ever since.
Townsfolk can also check out a live weather display and 24-hour weather updates specific to the town from the station which uses instruments on an antenna mast in Damien's garden. Data then goes to a computer which utilises an array of software to process the information.
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Self-taught weather enthusiast Damain said: "I've always been interested in weather and the science behind it- measurements and instruments- and I have just combined that with what I do for a living.
"This is just a non-profit hobby, in fact it costs me, it just so happens everybody can come and have a look at it, its a repository of weather data.
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"While it (the data) is there for everyone to look at, as with all forecasts accuracy is not 100 per cent accurate, and I can't make any guarantees on it. What is available to amateurs is totally different than what the professionals have, they have time and development we don't."
Damian said his website has averaged 2000 hits a day since it started, but he, like the Met Office was left flummoxed by the freak storm which battered Ottery last month.
He added: "I have to admit I didn't see it coming, but its one of those events that happens every 125 years. Ironically my lightening sensor had only just been put up but got wiped out by the strikes that night. I'm glad I was awake, its not something you are to see for a long time. There was about 77mm of rain in a few hours, the highest id ever seen was 35mm."
You can check Ottery's weather at www.lucidia.co.uk/weather/.