Why It Pays to Actually Look Out Your Window
Posted on November 15, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 45 Comments
Here’s what Weather.com has to say about the weather at my house at the moment:
And here’s what’s actually going on:
And, in the about five minutes I between when I took these and now, my yard is completely whited out. Weather.com, I think your model’s a little shaky.
I’ll trade with you. Montreal is a little rainy right now, I’d rather have the snow.
Yeah, two days ago it said it would be mostly cloudy and rainy–which I planned for, because I’m going to be at the mega-protest today in Seattle, and you can’t let the rain ruin your sign–but it’s actually sunny and only partly cloudy.
Sorry about the snow. :( Makes me feel slightly guilty about our sun. (But it’s Seattle, going into winter, so not too guilty as soon we’ll be in the depths of drizzling days, one after another, rather like that Bradbury story, All Summer in One Day.)
Nope. My Dashboard weather widget says your zip code is 39 degrees now, high of 46, with just a mix of snow with rain. Data provided by AccuWeather.com. So, see. Never blithely believe your lying eyes.
Fahrenheit, what does it mean?
Embrace the fluffy white stuff. Embrace it!
Who are you going to believe? The all-knowing Internet, or your own eyes?
I think the answer is clear.
You could try Intellicast, which I use (in Ottawa, ON) to scrutinize the weather coming up from the States. For instance, try http://www.intellicast.com/National/Radar/Current.aspx?location=default. BC
It means you’re not part of the global thermodynamic conspiracy.
Oh, see, for Bradford, OH it’s “37 with light rain”, but for the Scalzi House it’s “32 with fluffy snow, accumulation likely.” You just have to find the right weather app.
Well you know, John, you can’t go around believing everything you read.
Eh… that’s not snow, mate! That’s just fluffy rain.
Weather Underground says that it’s 33.2 °F / 0 °C with Light Snow Mist in Bradford (as of 12:37pm EST).
Of course, using a site called “Weather Underground” probably means that I’m palling around with terrorists.
Made a comic about this. Like to see it? Here it is!
Damn you Scalzi. Down here in Oxford it’s just rain.
yeah, wow, the weather’s really sneaking up on us this year.
Today in DC, it’s all the way down to 75 degrees, and there’s more sunshine in store. Madness, I tell you.
Woohoo! Here in Riverside CA it’s a 85 with blowing sand. No flames yet.
I’m so glad I left Ohio a week ago. Just before the weather turned.
If you don’t believe in Global Warming, Well just look out your wind…….Nevermind.
I quote that well-known philosopher Marty McFly: “Since when could weathermen predict the weather? Let alone the future?”
I prefer weather underground because it’s made up of people using home weather stations.
http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=Bradford,%20OH&wuSelect=WEATHER#PWS should let you look at your local stations … it seems to think the weather is ‘mist’ in your area but that’s probably what it’s reading at the authoritative station for the area (usually an airport).
Do you know why they call them weathermen? Because they never whether or not it is going to rain.
Weather forecasting is not really a science, it’s an art. And I mean “art” in the sense of “stuff someone made up”.
I checked weather.msn.com last night around 8:30 for Austin, TX weather, and it hadn’t been updated since 1:51 p.m., so it was claiming to be mid-50s and sunny.
Not so much, really. More like low 40s and (very) windy.
I have for many years always checked the nearest weather rock along with the local weather geeks to get accruate local weather.
What is a weather rock, you ask?
Well, you place a stone or stone-like object in a clear line of sight outside your door. It must be in an open area not sheltered by trees or overhangs. Decorative painting of the rock is allowed, but recommend a matte paint.
Garden gnomes also work fine for this application if you are inclined to the fanciful.
Weather rock usages are fairly easy and best done in conjuction with other local observations, including local weather geek resources. Temperature is determined by sticking head out door for a brief moment
If Weather rock is:
dry and sky is clear = Sunny day
dry and sky is cloudy = take an umbrella, just in case
shiny and wet = raining, definately need rain gear
icy = crunchy rain, need shoes or boots with good traction
snowy = fluffy rain, may need warmer boots, jackets, gloves
buried in snow = put logs on the fire, build snow goon army
swirling in the wind = tornado!! should be in basement!!
As with most technology, hi-tech and low-tech can be used together successfully.
Enjoy the fluffy rain, I do miss it now that I’m here in the South.
If you live in a small town or rural area, then the Weather Channel is somewhat useless in reporting current conditions. I think they take current conditions from the National Weather Service which depends on its reporting stations. Not all comunities have those.
If there is no reporting station in you community, then
the Weather Channel chooses a community near you which typically has the same weather. The Weather Channel used to explicitly say where the current conditions were taken. They seemed to have stopped doing that.
I live in Socorro, NM. There is no Weather Service reporting station here. The Weather Channel uses Truth or Consequences for current conditions for Socorro. T or C is about 50 miles south of Socorro.
If you live in or near a small community, using the Weather Underground for current conditions is likely much better than usin the Weather Channel.
One thing about living on in a country that’s slightly smaller than Ohio but has a weather service that feeds almost the entire world’s media is that the weather prediction tends to be pretty good.
Or horribly, horribly wrong.
We tend to get things like this, which was all the more weird in that it covered an area only 2 miles across. Now that’s a proper screwed-up-the-global-warming-has-gone-mad-I-tell-you microclimate.
(Of course, as you probably know, if you really want to be bored by a monologue about the weather then just ask any Brit)
And I’m still trying to get my landlord to fix the tornado-damage to the roof.
Actually, I think that Ms. Nature was displeased with her rejection letter dated Nov. 10. Perhaps you should have accepted her original submission.
Here in L.A. at 3:15pm it’s 90f (33c for our friends in Canuckistan and around the world.) The forecast for the rest of the day reads “continued heat, some wind and HOLY CRAP! Everything is on fire!!!”
This why I love weathercams (well, one reason) . . . when I want to check the weather that isn’t right outside my window, that is.
I’ve spent the last three months in Berlin and the weather here has been fairly mercurial. But the one thing I’ve been able to count on is that weather.com is usually WRONG. Even a day ahead the predictions are useless here most of the time. Maybe they don’t model Germany well? Since I’m going back home to Florida in a few days, I’ll be able to go back to my normal practice of ignoring weather completely unless there’s a hurricane.
I’m truly sorry for the gales of laughter, but this reminds me of the first time I crewed on a schooner in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. We had one of the radios on the weather and one on the ‘safety’ channel (e.g. general broadcasts). Weather would repeat the broadcast, followed by a computerised voice reading out measurements taken by the NOAA buoys.
The broadcast kept reporting (calmly) ‘1-2 ft waves, 5-10 knot winds out of the West.’
Then the stalwart little computer would report, ‘5-7 ft waves, 40 knot winds out of the North. 50 knot gust.’
I’m paraphrasing as this was 7 years back and my
memory isn’t exact. It was obvious the only humans actually paying attention were those of us out in the mess, trying to strike sails, reef sails, repair halyards, etc., etc.
Only one guy got hurt – clocked in the head by a boom – but he got taken off in a Coast Guard vessel to the hospital and joined us in Norfolk later. The rest of us made it down safely and with some boat carnage. Boats can be rebuilt.
I never hear “1-2 ft waves” any more without a “Yeah, right.” response.
I miss normal seasons. It is 90 degrees F in my house, about a mile south of San Francisco. Yet last May it went down to about 40 degrees outside and we had to turn on the heat! Everything is strange in California, EVERYTHING! I think the hippies per square mile ratio causes odd weather patterns.
I’m close to Cleveland, in an undisclosed location.
We’ve got your light rain, John. Don’t worry, it’s safe.
But if you want to see anything besides white stuff for the next five months, you’ll agree to our terms.
A new indie bookstore or two would be nice…
I am envious of your fluffy rain. I love snow. Here in Brisbane, Australia it is 30 celsius, sticky and sunny. Google tells me that is 86 F. Although apparently that’s cooler than in a bunch of places in California, where it’s meant to be nearly winter?? Weird…
HIgh today was ~80F. Clear as a bell (not a cloud to be seen).
San Jose has it’s compensations!
I need a big windstorm here. Got a bunch of leaves from the trees that need to be blow away.
They might get annoying enough that I would go outside and rake them up. But rather the weather gods take care of that for me. I gots important stuff to do.
Veg, play games, veg, take naps, veg, watch mindless tv, veg, oh and take some time to relax too.
So…what’s all that white stuff? We don’t have storms like that here in Hawaii.
I think the “light” in “light rain” was referring to hue. That rain is very light. I might even say whitish.
Weather.com never lies! If it did… I’d get caught in rainstorms, and my futon would get soaked when I’m trying to… OH Fooey, that’s EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME
To paraphrase very early Bob Dylan: You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the snow blows.
well, yeah. But I’m still glad I live somewhere where winter is still a month away.
Andrea, did they not give you the pamphlet when you moved here? The seasons are extremely tentative because, you know, wouldn’t want to harsh your mellow by dumping a bunch of snow on your house, dude. Fall, it rains. Winter, ditto, but somewhat colder. Spring, rain slacks off and it remains sunny until, I dunno, October? Is that okay with you?
I got seriously excited yesterday for the snow =)
And now begins the Cleveland cycle of snow-that-barely-accumulates and rain-that-melts-all-the-snow!
It was 86 here (Salinas, CA) yesterday, and is about 80 now.
Just had to share. :)