Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weather Underground

As I type this it is dumping down rain outside. Not unusual for the Pacific Northwest, of course, but even for here this is a crazy amount all at once. This is the land of drizzle, not downpour. There will be flooding on the Snohmish, Snoqualmie, and Skagit rivers I'm sure.

To keep in the weather theme, my very first recommendation or "cool thing" on my newly revitalized blog is...the Weather Underground! This is my go-to place for weather info. What makes it, I think, superior to all other internet weather services is its location specificity. They get their data from numerous public and private weather stations, not just one "official" point in any given region. I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but around here it can be dark and stormy here, and sunny and clear five miles away, then windy five more miles on, then foggy, etc.
The home page looks like Too Much Information at first, but with a few clicks you can customize it for your personal use. I mostly just want the forecast for the next day or two. Nobody, not even NOAA, can predict beyond a general trend, what the weather will be like more than 24 or so hours ahead, and all weather sites have about the same accuracy in that regard. What Weather Underground has that's special is the "Wundermap", which gives you real-time doppler radar, color-coded for precipitation density and type (rain, snow, etc.) You can customize this to be as detailed as you like as far as the information shown, the weather stations, and the type of map underlay. Play with it, it's amazing. In the example above, I have it showing the doppler radar (which is saturated at the moment), the severe weather alert areas (the solid green mappage), and the storm tracks. The little circles are the individual weather stations. The number in them is the temperature (in Farenheit), and if they have a "tail" that's the wind direction and speed (see legend).

They have the usual widgets for placing weather info on your web sites. They also have a mobile version for your Blackberry, iPhone or other smartyphone device. Check it out at www.wunderground.com

2 comments:

Law Mama said...

A lot of Weather Underground is powered by J's company's weather stations... we're big supporters! In fact, the weather for our neighborhood on the site comes from our backyard. :)

Neb said...

Aha. No surprise there! I think my brother turned me on to Weather Underground a couple of years ago, and I've never looked back.