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An Occupancy Sensor that indicates snowy conditions using local weather forecast

This is a plugin for homebridge that is a simple Occupancy Sensor that automatically detects occupancy ON when it's going to snow soon and OFF a while after it stops snowing. Think of snow being the occupant and you have ample warning of when the (un)welcome guest arrives.

This is based on my earlier project, homebridge-snowswitch that was similar but acted as a switch rather than a sensor. That former project is no longer supported and does not work.

New in v2.x

The app was mostly rewritten in TypeScript with settings now compatible with homebridge-config-ui-x so it can be installed and configured without manually editing a config file.


For any installation, you'll first need to get an API Key from OpenWeather API.

Homebridge UI

Go to 'Plugins' page, search for homebridge-snowsense and click 'install'.


  1. Install homebridge using: npm install -g homebridge
  2. Install this plugin using: npm install -g homebridge-snowsense
  3. Update your configuration file. Read below.


Homebridge UI

Click the 'Settings' button for the plugin and enter the required information.


Add the following information to your config file.

apiKey [no default] is the Secret Key as assigned from OpenWeather

apiVersion [default=3.0] is the version of the API to use. If you ware new to this, then you'll want to use 3.0.

apiThrottleMinutes [default=15] is the number of minutes to wait between API calls. This is to prevent exceeding the API call limit.

debugOn [default=false] is a flag to enable debug logging.

location field [no default] identifies the location for the snow checking. It can be a "city,state,country" (eg "Boston,MA,US"), or zip code (eg 02134), or "latitude,longitude" pair.

units [default='imperial'] (values 'metric' or 'imperial') is the units defined in OpenWeather Docs. Basically, 'imperial' is Fahrenheit and 'metric' is Celcius.

sensors field [no default] is an array of sensors to create. Each sensor has the following fields:

displayName field [no default] is the name you will see in the Home app for this sensor.

hoursBeforeSnowIsSnowy field [default=3] is number of hours before snow starts that the occupancy should go on. In other words, if the forecast says it's going to snow in 3 hours or less, then the sensor turns on.

hoursAfterSnowIsSnowy field [default=3] is number of hours after snow is last seen that the occupancy should go off. In other words, if the the last time the current weather said it was snowing 3 or more hours ago, then the sensor turns off.

consecutiveHoursFutureIsSnowy field [default=0] is number of consecutive hours of snow after it starts should trigger the sensor. In other words, if this is set to two and the forecast says it starts snowing in one hour and it will also be snowing in two hours, then the sensor turns on.

Here's what the config might look like inside the platforms section.

            "platform": "SnowSense",
            "name": "SnowSense",
            "apiKey": "**** get your key from OpenWeather ****",
            "apiVersion": "3.0",
            "debugOn": true,
            "apiThrottleMinutes": 15,
            "units": "imperial",
            "location": "Newton,ma,us",
            "onlyWhenCold": false,
            "coldTemperatureThreshold": 32,
            "sensors": [
                    "displayName": "Snowing Now",
                    "hoursBeforeSnowIsSnowy": 0,
                    "hoursAfterSnowIsSnowy": 0,
                    "consecutiveHoursFutureIsSnowy": 0
                    "displayName": "Is Snowy",
                    "hoursBeforeSnowIsSnowy": 3,
                    "hoursAfterSnowIsSnowy": 3,
                    "consecutiveHoursFutureIsSnowy": 0

Why this exists

I created this for a specific use case, which is to turn on and off snow melting mats outside my house.

I have been happy with HeatTrak Snow Melting Mats and when I purchased wireless outlets for them, I liked them even more. So, on one snowy weekend I decided to take the automation to the next level and build this plug-in.

Now, if the local forecast expects snow in the next few hours, the snow melting mats will turn on, and when the snow stops falling, the mats will turn off a few hours later.

I bought a set of Etekcity outlets and installed homebridge and homebridge-vesync to control them from the my Apple-centric home using HomeKit.

To make them work with HomeKit, I needed to get homebridge working. I had an old Raspberry Pi sitting around so I installed it there and put the device in a closet with the rest of my network gear.

This should work pretty well with any switches you can get working with HomeKit, and if you can also get a homebridge setup working and a OpenWeather API key, then the HomeKit App end of this is pretty trivial.

How to set up the automation

  • Launch the iPhone or iPad Home app
  • Create scenes; one to turn on the Snow Mats and another to turn them off
  • Create a new Automation
  • Select An accessory is Controlled as the trigger for the automation
  • Select the Controller IsSnowy
  • Select When to be Turns On
  • Select the Snow Mats On scene
  • Repeat for turning Off when the controller Turns Off

Development notes

The latest version of this plugin was build following information from Homebridge Plugin Development and the example Homebridge Platform Plugin Template and several other plugins around github.

Reminders to the developer

(since I usually only look once a year and forget these things)

How to release a new beta version:

How to increment beta version:

npm run prepublishOnly
npm version prerelease
npm publish --tag beta

How to release a new version.

eg (when updating patch version):

npm run prepublishOnly
npm version patch
npm publish

Reporting Issues and Suggestions

Please use the GitHub Issue Tracker to submit reports of issues or suggestions for improvements.


  • Thanks to @apollo316 on github for pointing out that the DarkSky api is going away and @nicoryan and others for recommending OpenWeather.
  • Thanks to @rmkjr for suggesting moving from a Switch to an Occupancy Sensor.
  • Thanks to @scoutbeer for detailed feedback and help testing v2.0.
  • Thanks to @nvogt for suggesting temperature and consecutive hour options.
  • Thanks to you for checking it out.

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