How should I use my Mini-RWIS in the off-season?

One of the most common questions we get is what to do with Frost mini weather stations during the summer. Whether your snow season is eight months long or four months long, we understand that your unit may not be watching for snow every day of the year. Although the Mini-RWIS units have a 4+ year lifespan so you don’t have to touch them after installation, some customers have identified creative ways to use them outside of snow season. With just two bands to loosen, it can easily be moved to other locations if needed. Here are a few ways our customers have used their units year-round.

Road Repair

Many of our municipal customers are using their mini-RWIS units to monitor surface temperature before paving and repairing road surfaces. 

Asphalt (Paving, Routing and Crack Sealing, Chip Sealing, Patching)

Asphalt paving requires air temperature and pavement temperature to be between 50 and 90 degrees to avoid issues with the asphalt down the line. Ideally the surface temperature is at least 40 degrees and rising, and the ambient air temperature is also rising, not falling.

Since asphalt begins cooling the moment it leaves the plant and needs to be at least 185º (and ideally closer to 275º) to lay properly, monitoring air temperature, surface temperature, precipitation, and wind will all be factors in how quickly it cools, and thus, how smooth and long-lasting your pavement will be.

Gravel Shoulder Repair

For repairs on gravel, maintenance and operations professionals typically look for no rain for the previous 12 hours, and air and surface temperatures between 35 and 100 degrees.


If you know concrete, you know its complexity. The ideal conditions for standard concrete is 70 degrees, away from direct sunlight, when humidity is between 30-50%. When humidity gets much higher than 50%, concrete finishers will be sitting idle waiting for it to dry for hours. 

If you know the temperature is going to drop close to 32 degrees, the top layer will spall without a cover. Frost units can give you a heads up when the temperature is forecasted to dip into the danger zone. If your concrete is going to drop below 32 degrees, you can add calcium chloride, microfibers, or plasticizers to the concrete to accelerate the moisture content and prevent freezing. Of course, this will add 20%+ to your overall project cost, so knowing when the temperatures are going to get to this level can be critical to the project.

Landscaping and Maintenance Projects

Spray Applications (Paint or Vegetation)

Anything that comes in an aerosol can can be affected by air and surface temperatures, too. The best temperatures to apply spray paint or vegetation sprays are between 50 and 90 degrees. Anything much colder than 50 degrees will cause an uneven spray and cause the job to take longer than normal. Even if there is no application issue, the drying process could be at risk for clumps. The opposite is true for hot weather, when the paint or chemical spray gets slightly more fine, meaning runoff and streaking can pose a problem.

Exterior Painting

For painting, the air temperature needs to be 40 degrees and rising for most jobs, and there shouldn’t be any nights below freezing for the next few days. This will prevent future cracks, staining, and mildew.

Planting Vegetation and Crops

While farmers typically have tools to measure soil temperature, municipalities and landscapers may benefit from localized surface temperatures to optimize their planting. The USDA and the National Climatic Data Center recommend the following thresholds for surface temperatures:

  • 32 degrees – Light freeze; may kill tender plants
  • 28 degrees – Moderate freeze; will hurt most plants and have significant impact on semi-hardy plants
  • 24 degrees and below – Severe freeze; heavy damage will occur to all plants

Urban Planning and Risk Management

Assessing and Reducing Urban Heat Islands

Heat islands are pockets of high temperatures that typically occur in cities around large concentrations of asphalt, buildings, and little shade. Municipalities are making a concerted effort to reduce heat islands because they can affect things like the power grid, water quality, and the comfort and safety of their residents. Heat islands can be improved by planting trees and vegetation, changing building materials, etc., and ROI can be measured by taking surface temperatures before and after the improvements. The EPA recommends some strategies to improve the impacts of heat islands here.

Flood Monitoring

Because the Mini-RWIS is equipped with a camera, flood-prone areas can be monitored during heavy rainfall. Just activate Storm Mode as if you were monitoring a winter storm, and the photos will update every 20 minutes to show whether the area is at risk for flooding. Over time, agencies can also use this intel to introduce flood prevention infrastructure, of which a Frost unit can be an additional tool in the toolbox. We have been exploring this use case further with some of our customers and will post an update if we launch any flood-specific features and alerts.

Other Applications

Monitoring Sports and Recreational Fields

Schools need to closely monitor the conditions of turf to keep athletes’ health in mind. By knowing surface temperature, risks such as heat stroke can be mitigated. With your Frost units, you can also monitor incoming precipitation and conditions of fields (i.e. localized flooding) to determine whether public parks need maintenance, can open, or whether a game can be played.

Monitoring Distant Construction and Landscaping Projects

Many Frost customers were excited about the idea of avoiding driving out to distant plow sites when it was unnecessary to check for snow. The same concept is true in the summer. If you have a long-term project at a distant site, set up a unit to monitor progress from your dashboard.

Monitoring Equipment and Materials

Since each unit has a camera on it, they can double as a security mechanism. Keep tabs on equipment and materials like mulch or granite in your yard by positioning your unit toward the item. While it doesn’t have live video, we find the presence of the unit is sometimes enough to deter thieves. It can also be used to see how much of a resource is depleted. For example, you can monitor the height of a dirt pile from a remote location to determine whether to relocate supplies or order more.

We look forward to tackling weather together.

All-in pricing is standard including support, repairs, analytics, and more. Please contact us to discuss your custom quote based on number of units needed.