Free-Range Weather

Cage-Free Weather Commentary

Favorite Weather Links

Weather forecasts are everywhere — online, TV, radio and on your smartphone. Some are more accurate that others, while others look better, load faster and have less ads. What matters most? Accuracy and clarity. Here are my “go to” weather links for forecasts that won’t leave you wet:

NWS Point Forecast

NWS Point Forecast

Daily Forecast – For the daily forecast your best bet is the National Weather Service’s site, weather.gov. Enter your city name or zip code and a localized forecast, updated several times a day, will appear. Also get radar and satellite. Want a hyper-localized forecast? Enter your address, complete with city and state, and an über-customized forecast will appear. Bookmark it for later use. The forecast is produced by the forecasters at your local NWS office. The forecast period is seven days. (Note that the mobile NWS site doesn’t work very well on my iPhone; I use the desktop version and a magnifying glass.)

Best Place to Check the Weather Near You – With more than 22,000 reporting stations (traditional stations and people like me with personal weather stations) worldwide, the Weather Underground is the site for a quick look at the conditions near you. You can also choose from the NWS forecast or Wunderground’s proprietary Best Forecast, which I haven’t found to be very accurate.

10 Day Forecast – Any honest forecaster will tell you that forecasting the weather for a specific day more than five days out is a fool’s game. I recall one forecaster stating that the odds of getting the forecast right one a specific day after five days was about 50%; you might as well flip a coin! So while the 10 day forecast might not be accurate for, say, day eight, it is worth viewing to get an idea of the trend over the next week and a half, especially if you have outdoor plans. My pick is Intellicast.com. It’s exactly the same forecast that you’d get on the very cluttered, almost trashy Weather Channel site as Intellicast is owned by TWC’s parent company.  The ads are unobtrusive on Intellicast and (knock on wood) you won’t be subject to any teases like, “They found WHAT inside a whale?” or the always fun “Captive Gator’s Horrifying Diet.” Just what you’d like to see when you’re checking the weather over your morning espresso, right? (To be fair, TWC’s app is superior to Intellicast’s offering.)

Climate Prediction Center's 8-14 Day Outlook

Climate Prediction Center’s 8-14 Day Outlook

Best Long-Range Forecast – Your tax dollars fund the best long-range forecast online, the Climate Prediction Center’s 6-10 Day and 8-14 Day Outlooks.

Best Super Long-Range Forecast – Unless there’s a strong El Nino or La Nina signal for the next few months, forecasters struggle trying to predict the weather months in advance. They try nonetheless, and again the CPC’s long lead forecast is your best bet. The Weather Channel and Accuweather produce seasonal forecasts as well.

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