Janet and Rudy
Rudy and Janet

Obsessed With the Weather

I have been interested in the weather ever since I was a small boy growing up in New York City. My childhood idol was Tex Antoine, the notorious television weather forecaster on channel 2 ( WNBC ). One of my early memories is of Hurricane Hazel which struck New York City in 1954 while our family lived at 634 Morris Park Avenue in the Bronx. A wind gust of 113 mph was recorded in NYC during this tempest at Battery Park, a record that may never be approached again. In November 1955, we left New York City and moved to Bergenfield, New Jersey. I can still remember those winter days when the forecast was for snow. Maybe school would be cancelled! Money could be made shoveling driveways! Summers brought the excitement of violent storms with claps of thunder, lightning and drenching sheets of rain. I pestered my parents until they bought me a minimum / maximum thermometer for my 13th birthday. This began a lifetime of recording weather observations. I still have fond memories of my first year jotting down daily high and low temperatures and measuring rainfall that accumulated in the rain gage. That first winter...1960 - 1961...didn't let me down. Each winter month here in Bergenfield experienced a major snowstorm, culminating in a storm in early February that deposited 2 feet of snow. I continued weather observing through high school. Years later, my obsession with the weather led me to computer programming. I felt certain that a personal computer was just what I needed to organize my weather data. However, I was unable to find any suitable weather software when I purchased an Apple 2E computer in 1982. I studied basic, pascal and then C as I wrote programs to manipulate my weather records. In recent years the web has provided a forum in which many weather enthusiasts can share their interests. I now have a daily routine in which I visit weather-related web sites maintained by amateurs in New Zealand, Germany, Great Britain, Australia and all over the U.S.A. As time went by, I felt that I had to join this community and began studying web design. This website is the result. Now that I'm retired I've been able to devote even more time to my hobby.

Station Notes

Bergenfield-weather.com was written using Dreamweaver 8. I deployed the first version on August 24, 2008. Another version was launched on September 8, 2008 after I tightened up the code and improved the navigation system. I also added an Observer's Notes section. On November 22, 2008, I added a new page displaying weather conditions along the East Coast from Washington, D.C. to Boston, MA. using data derived from METAR reports. On December 1, 2008, I added a page of European weather observations. During the next few weeks I added pages for South America and Asia. During the last week in May 2009 I re-wrote sections of the website and used server-side include files to make make the code more efficient. I also added a solar sunspot page.

02.01.2010 The page layouts were re-written and I added a new radar section. My home page now displays current weather conditions collected from personal weather stations in the New York City region.

09.01.2010 The page layouts were changed and new images were added.

05.08.2011 Replaced my Vantage Pro with a Vantage Pro2 Plus. This unit has a solar-powered aspirating fan.

06.01.2011 Added an El Nino and almanac section to the web site. I also used this opportunity to re-write sections of code. A new navigation system was added and the page layouts were altered.

12.01.2011 Equal height columns were introduced and a new series of photos was added.

12.21.2012 The site was reorganized and a new section including GFS weather maps was included. A new series of photos was added.

06.30.2013 I changed from a 3 column to a 2 column layout. A script was added to indicate the current time in each page banner.

03.22.2014 thru 04.04.2014 - I made a number of additions and revisions. A section to display YouTube weather videos was incorporated in the site along with an animated GFS map section. An El-Nino page was re-introduced along with a page of New York City traffic cams in Manhattan. The current temperature font now turns blue when temperatures fall below 32°F and red when it rises above 90°F. The basic page layout was modified.

10.30.2014 I re-designed the navigation menu and changed the page layout. I also wrote some php scripts to access the NWS xml forecast and weather alert rss feeds.

I made major modifications during August 2015. The site's color scheme was re-worked and new images were added. Data displayed in the N.Y.C. Region Current Weather Conditions window now comes from the AUTOMATIC PACKET/POSITION REPORTING SYSTEM ( APRS ).

Three new pop-up windows were added... one displays current weather from Bergenfield High School where weather equipment has been positioned on the roof. The high school is located about 300ft north of my house. As time goes by, it will be interesting to make comparisions between the two sites. A pop-up window displaying APRS data in tabular form was added. I also added a weather blog section.

Two new video pages have been included. One displays streaming N.J. Dept. of Transportation web cams. The second lets the viewer see live web cam video from along the New Jersey Shore. These should be useful when following the progress of winter storms as they move up the coast.

Instead of loading complete pages each time the user selects a navigation tab, I now use jquery's ajax function to load content into a basic page template. This provides for a better user experience... pages no longer flicker between tab selections.

With this iteration of the website I've switched from Dreamweaver to PhPStorm as my development platform

03.20.2016 I made some more changes and additions. The pop-up window displaying current weather conditions on the roof of Bergenfield High School was dropped. I had been scraping the data off a Weather Bug page but their formatting was changed making this technique no longer workable. During the previous few weeks I added two features... You can now view Bergenfield weather data that has been archeived at 10-minute intervals by accessing the DLY ARCHIVE tab. I also included recent weather observations from NOAA Bouys positioned along the mid-Atlantic Coast. These data are presented in table and map forms.

The snow cover and sunspot graphics are now both updated using a short php script. Previously, I had to cut and paste updates.

I wrote a php script that creates a temperature extreme table on the right sidebar. The minimum and maximum temperatures shown here for the current year and month are updated daily.

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