Free-Range Weather

Cage-Free Weather Commentary

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How to Get the Best Local Weather Forecast

Duck weather vane

Will it be fair or fowl?

Local weather forecasts are ubiquitous – it’s hard to visit any website without a three- or five-day forecast prominently displayed. The accuracy of these forecasts could be off, however, if the site has guessed wrong on your location.

The solution? A hyper-local weather forecast, pinpointed to your exact location, obtainable wherever and whenever you need it.

Your National Weather Service has a site that let’s you do just that – and it’s pretty easy to use. Here’s a how-to on getting the most local weather forecast available.

How to Get The “Most” Local Weather Forecast

  1. On your mobile device or computer, go hereenter your zip code and click or tap Go. A forecast for your general area will appear.
  2. Move or scroll down to the map and expand it so you can find your location (+/- on computer; pinch/zoom on phone).
  3. When you’ve zoomed in enough to find your desired location, tap or click it and the page will reload with your requested pinpoint local forecast. (Pro tip: Changing the map view from the default Topographic to Streets or Satellite will make it easier to find your mark.)
  4. Bookmark your freshly created hyper-local personal weather site. You’re done!

If you’re a weather nerd like me or just want the most local forecast you can get, check out the pinpoint forecasts at weather.gov.

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Look What the Wind Blew In!

Wind-Blown Barley

Wind-blown barley

Why does the wind blow? I stumbled upon this post from Weather Underground that answers the question and gives you a mini-meteorology lesson to boot. Do you know or are you just blowing some hot air? (Full disclosure: I knew what caused the wind from researching a presentation on the weather that I gave to my son’s second grade class.)

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Weather.com Goes Viral!

Weather Channel Home PageWhile The Weather Channel is going through a nasty dispute with DirecTV (surprise! – it’s about money), its sister property weather.com has experienced a surge in traffic over the past year or so, yet it’s not because people are interested in the weather. Far from it, unless you consider click bait like “They Found WHAT Inside a Whale?” and “Captive Gator’s Horrifying Diet” somehow weather related. (The “Is There a Pandemic Brewing?” headline from the screen grab above is one of least sensational weather.com “stories” I’ve seen recently.)

After being a fan for many years, I quit watching TWC as it seemed like every time I tuned in to, you know, watch live weather coverage I was confronted with “Real Stories of Coast Guard Rescues” or other reality-type programming. (Not coincidentally, these shows are much cheaper to produce and/or buy than live studio time with meteorologists actually discussing the weather.) Weather on the web is available anytime, and on my schedule, not TWC’s.

But I digress. I have been curious about why weather.com migrated away from reporting on real weather and embraced trashy non-weather related content. Now I know, thanks to Marc Tracy’s excellent piece in The New Republic. He was also interviewed on CBC’s Q; the interview starts at the three minute mark. You’ve probably guessed the reason by now: they attract more visitors and make more money with stories about gator diets than with stories about meteorology. It’s interesting reading/listening for weather fans.

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Great Quotes About the Weather

The weather is always fun to talk/whine/muse about, especially when creative types are the ones doing the talking/whining/musing. Here are a few of my favorites, courtesy of goodreads. Enjoy

~!~!~

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”

― Carl Reiner

“But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of
knowing about it beforehand.”
― Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat

“It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the
opportunity to rain on a tent.”
― Dave Barry

“Pray don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always
feel quite certain that they mean something else. And that makes me quite nervous.”
― Oscar Wilde

“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.”
― P.D. James, A Taste for Death

“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a
conversation.”
― Kim Hubbard

“There is no way that we can predict the weather six months ahead beyond giving the seasonal average”
― Stephen Hawking, Black Holes and Baby Universes

“It was raining in the small, mountainous country of Llamedos. It was always raining in Llamedos. Rain was the
country’s main export. It had rain mines.”
― Terry Pratchett, Soul Music

“After three days men grow weary, of a wench, a guest, and weather rainy.”
― Benjamin Franklin

“The weather and my mood have little connection. I have my foggy and my fine days within me; my prosperity or
misfortune has little to do with the matter.”
― Blaise Pascal

“The rain thundered down so heavily that Pritam could imagine that space itself was made of water and was
pouring through rents in the sky’s tired fabric.”
― Stephen M. Irwin, The Dead Path

And finally…
“Weather is a purely personal matter. There is no such thing as a climate that is cold or hot, good or bad,
healthy or unhealthy. People take it upon themselves to create a fantasy in their imagination and call it
weather. There’s only one climate in the world, but the message that nature sends is interpreted according to
strictly personal, non-transferable rules.”
― Álvaro Mutis, The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll

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First of the Season Tiny Little Snowflakes

Snow on Tree

(We didn’t get this much!)

They’re so tiny that I have to squint to see them and it’s doubtful that they’ll amount to even a trace, but the season’s first snowflakes are indeed flying today. Flying may be a stretch, as they are wafting lazily down before hitting the ground and vanishing, becoming indistinguishable from the bit of rain we had yesterday.

Are they a harbinger of an early winter? A look at the Climate Prediction Center’s 6-10 and 8-14 day forecasts show that the computer models believe the Northwest is in for a cold first couple of weeks of November. I’m not ready for the weather to close in just yet, but Mother Nature didn’t consult me.