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About This Site

This website was created as a public service for residents of Carter Lake, Iowa, and surrounding areas. Our weather station is privately owned and operated, and should not be considered an officially recognized station for weather reporting. Our site and station are both a hobby and experiment in weather-related computing.

City of Carter Lake

Why live?

Non-live websites Live!

Imagine you're getting ready to go outside for a few hours and you check your local weather station or even, The Weather Channel. Unforunately, a cold front is rushing into the Omaha valley, dumping cold, wet air into the area. While other weather sources are showing temperatures from an hour ago, is showing you what is happening right now. Don't forget your jacket as it is a chilly 70° outside and not 80° or 81° as non-live weather sources state.

Our live main page, really is live, updating up to every six seconds to keep you informed of rapidly changing weather conditions.

And don't forget to take a peek at the webcam. It too is live. Our webcam provides an incredibly detailed view of the current weather conditions.

But how did you...?

Davis 6153

A commonly asked question of is how we did something. The site provides a great deal of information on what hardware and software we use, where we got the item, and how we use it.

Basically, we have a number of sensors that we've purchased over the years - a Davis Wireless Vantage Pro2 with Fan-Aspirated Radiation Shield (Model 6153) which provides temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and rain data; a Boltek lightning detector which provides lightning data; a webcam; and NOAA weather radio. These items all link up to our in-house server and software.

Our software controls the weather station, radar images, lightning detector, webcam, etc. and serves the variety of data onto our web host via FTP. Our web host - A Small Orange - receives all this data to a server farm in Texas and displays it to you - the viewing public. Our web server is also where we do all our PHP and Ajax scripting, which controls such things as our live weather data, NWS forecast, and severe weather advisories.

Sound complicated? Maybe for initial setup. After setup, the site is almost completely automated.

Also see:
Eqiupment on
Setting Up Our Weather Station
Window Webcam - Lessons Learned
Radar - How It Works
Lightning Detector - How It Works

About Carter Lake

Nestled inside it's oxbow-shaped lake namesake, the city of Carter Lake stands unique among Iowa cities as the only Iowa city west of the Missouri River. The over 3,000 residents of Carter Lake are surrounded on three sides by Omaha, Nebraska and its fourth boundary, the Missouri River.

In 1877, flooding and shifting of the Missouri River created an oxbow lake, originally called Cut-Off lake and later Lake Nakomis, and left about 2,000 acres belonging to the State of Iowa, bounded on three sides by the State of Nebraska.

After extensive litigation between Iowa and Nebraska, in 1892 the United States Supreme Court finally ruled that Carter Lake belonged to Iowa (145 U.S. 519).

Carter Lake was incorporated in 1930, celebrating it's 75th anniversary in 2005.

Click here for more history.

Published Data

Site data is shared with both Weather Underground (KIACARTE1) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Citizen Weather Observer Program (CW2433).

Our lightning data is shared with StrikeStar. It is a cooperative network of Boltek lightning detectors using Nexstorm software. This data also appears on Weather Underground.

StrikeStar US

Weather Underground

Citizen Weather Observer Program

Old Layout
Our website prior to redesign

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Brian Hamliton, author of Weather Display, for his excellent support and dedication to making Weather Display - the premiere - weather enthusiast software.

Special thanks to Kevin Reed at TNET Weather for his help implementing this website template. He was the first to implement the template and did many of our site's look-and-feel graphics. Kevin also started this crazy explosion in PHP weather-related programming.

Special thanks to Jozef at Joske Online for implementing our Ajax code. He also was a great co-coder on the Astrogenic mini storm cell graphic.

Special thanks to Ken at Saratoga Weather for his work contributing to the PHP weather community. Ken wrote the flash-on-change for our Ajax and re-wrote the coding for the 5-day forecast after NOAA made some changes to their formatting. Ken is a phenomenal PHP script writer. His site is a must-visit for those who are building a weather website.

Special thanks go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service. Without their mandate to cooperatively share data, much of the information on this site would not be possible. In return, we share our data with them through the Citizen Weather Observer Program.

Special thanks to many, many weather enthusiasts around the world. This is a great hobby, filled with great people.


Aug. 10, 2004 - Site goes live
Sep. 23, 2004 - Webcam added
Oct. 23, 2004 - Domain name "" purchased
Nov. 04, 2004 - Site moved to new host
Dec. 05, 2004 - Take a look at our site using the Way Back Machine
Jan. 21, 2005 - Added style weather advisories
Mar. 17, 2005 - Added 1-wire lightning "strike" detector
Mar. 27, 2005 - Converted site to PHP.
Jun. 16, 2005 - Computer failure causes first major site outage (18 hours)
July 12, 2005 - Updated the radar page with advanced PHP coding
Aug. 10, 2005 - Happy birthday!
Sep. 01, 2005 - Added international Google-powered weather mesomap (later removed)
Sep. 16, 2005 - Updated site "look and feel"; Site now XHTML 1.0 compliant.
Nov. 18, 2005 - Added Boltek Stormtracker and Nexstorm "live" lightning software.
Nov. 19, 2005 - Site mentioned on CWOP News page
Dec. 13, 2005 - Site gets it's own dedicated server
Jan. 26, 2006 - Started uploading to Weather Underground's Rapidfire info every 3 seconds.
Mar. 11, 2006 - Upgraded weather station from LaCrosse WS-2310 to a Davis 6153
May 10, 2006 - Added -LIVE- weather data on main page with Ajax
May 31, 2006 - Created mini storm cell graphic, a joint effort with Jozef in Belgium and featured on Astrogenic!
Jun. 25, 2006 - Added own radar imagery.
Aug. 10, 2006 - Site online for two years now.
Aug. 23, 2006 - Added live streaming NOAA radio in cooperation with Weather Underground
Nov. 25, 2006 - Changed the Ajax so that it gives live feedback on changing weather
Feb. 3, 2007 - Featured weather website on
Jun. 14, 2007 - Weather window webcam gets a new window
Aug. 10, 2007 - Happy birthday! Site has been live for 3 years.
Aug. 18, 2007 - Started uploading webcam images to Weather Underground's Wundercams project
Aug. 21, 2007 - After weeks of headaches, our server died. Luckily we ordered a replacement which arrived just in time.
Oct. 26, 2007 - Replaced our webcam with a newer, higher quality model
March 3, 2008 - Our webcam has made EarthCam's monthly Top Ten Cams
March 4, 2008 - Increased height of the anemometer mast to about 25 feet
Aug. 21, 2008 - New server has been running a year - up 99.99% of the time.
Aug. 10, 2009 - Happy birthday! Site has been live for 5 years.
Aug. 28, 2009 - Our router started becoming unreliable and was replaced with a newer model.
Sept. 4, 2009 - We replaced our weather radio with a Midland WR-300, making for much cleaner audio.
Jan. 6, 2010 - Our webcam was featured in an article among others on The Weather Channel
Aug. 18, 2011 - Two major storms roll through Carter Lake, killing the pine trees in front of the weather cam.
June 14, 2014 - Our anemometer (wind gauge) no longer is registering wind speeds.
Aug. 10, 2014 - Happy birthday! Site has been live for 10 years.
Nov. 6, 2014 - We lost our web host and goes dark
Nov. 14, 2014 - Site restored on new web host - A Small Orange
Dec. 11, 2014 - Replaced our broken anemometer (wind gauge).
July 30, 2017 - Moved the weather station to its own pole in the middle of the backyard.
May 25-31, 2018 - Site attacked by Russian IP address. Goes dark due to loss of bandwidth.
June 2-12, 2018 - Replaced the fan in the pagoda. Replaced the cover on the main instrument panel. Replaced the aerocone on the rain gauge with new style.
March 6, 2021 - Replaced our broken anemometer (wind gauge).
March 9, 2021 - Replaced our humidity sensor. Cleaned a bunch of (dead) yellow jackets out of the pagoda.

Additional Info

Indoor Temp: 77.3°F
Indoor Humid: 43%
VP Console Battery: 4.5v
VP ISS Battery: Ok
VP Reception: 11672 851 0 91 575 93% (Packets, Missed, Resynchs, In A Row, CRC errors, Current Reception)
Server Uptime: 17 Days 13 Hours 25 Minutes 25 Seconds

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Never base important decisions on this or any weather information obtained from the Internet.