UF Weather Alert Website for Farms now Mobile-Friendly, Among Other Updates

Clint Thompson Florida, Weather

By: Kirsten Romaguera, 352-294-3313, kromaguera@ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) just relaunched its website with a new look and additional user-focused features. It is a University of Florida-operated service aiding agricultural decision-makers statewide since 1997.

Larry Treadaway, coordinator of the Florida Automated Weather Network, adjusts equipment at a new monitoring station in Bronson, Fla. in 2017. The network includes 33 monitoring stations operated by UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, transmits real-time weather data to computers in Gainesville. Growers and others can access the data via phone or the FAWN Web site: http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu.

“Our main goal in revamping the site was to make it more efficient for users,” said Rick Lusher, UF/IFAS project manager for FAWN. “One of the most important changes is the now-seamless integration to mobile platforms, meaning users can access the same information straight from their phones.”

The FAWN network includes 42 stations located from Jay to Homestead that record and report every 15 minutes. This includes information like air temperature, winds and rainfall. Some stations are even adding data from newer technologies like soil moisture sensors. Plans are being made to expand these offerings to more locations. Producers can use their nearest stations’ localized information to assist with critical decisions. These include crop and landscape irrigation, freeze protection, and chemical application.

New Features

Upon entering the new website, another new feature prompts users to allow location services to pinpoint the data to their nearest station. The website has always had a map feature. But Lusher explained that the site now utilizes interactive technologies that allow the user to filter for current conditions.

Lusher consulted on ideas for the site with UF/IFAS faculty like Charles Barrett. Barrett is a regional specialized water resources agent based in Live Oak, Florida. He regularly advises growers on best practices given the information provided by the website.

“The new look to the FAWN website makes it easier to access the data growers have come to rely on,” Barrett said. He advocated for the updates to create minimal disruption for regular users. “The changes streamline the use of the website. So it should be a better user experience. But with the same feel as the previous website.”