It’s the weekend, and it is the first weekend of spring. Therefore, in Mississippi, that means rain, thunder, hail, and generally useless weather. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, weather forecasting tended to be sketchy at best. Radars and forecasting tools were just beginning to become useful tools. By the time the Weather Channel rolled around in the 80’s, weather forecasting and second guessing had become a national pastime. And now with the Internet and all the sites available to the average Joe, meteorology has become a fun thing to do in your spare time. I even have a pal I went to high school with that quit his job recently to go back to school full-time to get a degree in meteorology.
Having said all that, the purpose of this blog is to share with you several sites that might help you get a handle on all the scientific jargon the TV weather heads throw out at you. Might even help you learn how to look at all the data online and be just as accurate with your forecasts as some of the weather jocks are.
University of Illinois Weather World
I found the WW2010 University of Illinois site several years ago. If you go to the Online Course section, you will get a good start to learning about meteorology. Keep digging around and you will find the section on Weather Forecasting. And then there is the section on Hurricanes and even a section on Severe Weather. so no matter what you are looking for, you should find something in this site.
Wunderground is a site I have used for years. This is not a glamorous site like some. The folks at Wunderground just want to give you as much information as possible, without being weather groupies. I especially enjoy the Severe Weather Preparedness portion of the site, but also like the links they provide to weather maps and radars. They also have several blogs that are worth reading and following, especially during hurricane season.
Weather Forecasting from About.com
Weather Prediction Education
Here is a site that has a multitude of resources for you to check out. You will find information on philosophy of forecasting, reading charts, forecasting models and weather analysis. Good overall site to determine where you want to start.
I like to visit the SPC site to see what they say about potentially severe weather instead of just listening to local weather folks. they have links to various maps, discussion groups, and forecast tools. Pretty good place to see how your homegrown forecasts stack up!
Now please don’t take this as me telling you to ignore the professional services and forecasts put out by the National Weather Service and your local meteorologists. Just take it as an opportunity to learn a little more about what goes into weather prognostication. Meteorology is pretty much, at least in my opinion, a best guess profession. Sometimes you will find days with 90 percent chance of rain where the day will be drier than a Dean Martin martini. Other days with a low chance for precip may flood you worse than you could imagine. But by taking advantage of the resources provided on this page, you may be able to self forecast things to suit your needs.
Enjoy the first full week of spring, and enjoy this light reading from the weekend. Questions, comments and thoughts are welcome.
- Celebrity groundhog Punxsutawney Phil ‘indicted’ for poor weather forecast (telegraph.co.uk)
- Facebook Events now show weather foreecasts (slashgear.com)
- Facebook enhances Events pages with weather forecasts (digitaltrends.com)