WEATHER TOMORROW

TECH

Weather sites always have pretty pictures, especially when a hurricane is racing across the Pacific Ocean. A favourite topic around the dinner table, WIND. A complex force of nature, influenced by activity on and inside the Earth, The Sun, and cosmological forces beyond our own solar system. Many animals, including birds, have the ability to sense the coming of a change in seasons.

As humans, we quickly noticed the need for a more accurate form of weather forecasting to survive. Farming requires a strict regimen of planting as soon as the weather begins to warm, and harvesting before the rains start. Fertilization stands a better chance if the offspring appear at the end of summer.

Lightning

Advancements

Weather observations have moved on from looking at birds flying south, to using highly complex satellite information and supercomputers crunching statistics from 200 years of observations.

Quantum computing is going to be the answer to solving the most complex of weather questions, when and where is a storm going to hit. We may want know how humid it going to be in a desert or how cold it is in the Arctic.

Magnetic clouds stuck to a picture of your area are all gone, replaced with 3D animations of lightning strikes. It is possible to see the weather in great detail in any region in the world, at any altitude, and on information relevant to the viewer: wind, dust, wave height, humidity.

For those of us that can understand some of the science behind the information, we now have the freedom to produce our own forecasts. We
have gone through some of the online weather forecasters to see which ones are flexible, which ones are thorough, and which ones are set up to be hooked into a website.

AccuWeather

Accuweather Screenshot

This one came to mind first since it could possibly be the oldest, created in the 60s. They have consistently been front runners in using the latest technology, because of this they have been the first choice for a lot of big news companies.

This is often preinstalled on new mobile phones, giving a temperature on the area with a graphic of a glowing sun or a grey cloud. Not a big fan, since the basics forecast is too basic and fully interactive experiences appear to require subscriptions. Moving on.

SailFlow

Weather flow owns Sail flow IWINDSURF  SAILFLOW  WIND ALERT  FISHWEATHER  DATASCOPE  SYNOPTIC. Sailflow is a good platform, it clear and easy to navigate, the home page has a simple link to an interactive map. It is meant for sailing, so Wind is the main purpose of it.

The maps are a little restrictive unless you pay for the package, even though the basic free version is enough to give an idea of how the temperature and wind will be for a couple of days. Apart from anything else, it was one of the easiest sites to get a code to add to a website.

Windy

Unless another site starts sending me free hats, this is going to remain the favourite. All information is up for grabs. Dust reports, altitude variations, wave heights, everything is there, for free.

They also use the nicest of purple hues for the hurricane animations. Very intuitive easy to use, even simple to embed into a webpage.

This is very much weather forecasting tool, giving the user all the information for them to make up their own mind. It could be said that this is a recipe for disaster and attempting to beat the predictions of a room full of professionals using the latest computers is impossible.

For now, it is going to be better to use both. The site has a long-term forecast, but 4 days seems to be the limit of its accuracy.

RainViewer

Apparently, it is the best app for radar. It is easy to get the embed code and the interface is quite simple. It is there for ease of tracking a cyclone or other storms. If that is all you want then this is a great app, easy to install on a phone.

There are other programs, such as windy that do not need installation and still supply more information. If you find raw radar information fascinating to trawl through slide by slide, then this is a good place to start.

PassageWeather

Again, very much aimed at the sailor, with detailed information on sea temperature and wind direction. The software upgrade, for a price, does have a route planner for those wishing to navigate the perfect storm.

A lot more functionality for free would be good, 2D still graphics seem a little last century and paying for the full package is not of much interest for the purely curious.

WindFinder

Popular with seafarers and for good reason. Easy to use, nice graphics and only advanced features that most of us do not care about cost anything. The embedding was straightforward, and it is just a good all-round package.

Windy is still better in my personal opinion, but this is a high-end system with plenty of statistical data on offer to help give informed decisions on whether to go to the beach.

NOAA

Live Satellite Update of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico
Live Satellite Update of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico

Basic, but a genuinely nice true colour satellite image of the earth provided by the naval research lab NOAA. They do breakdown the information, but it is really for professional use.

For the amateur meteorologist, it offers some fantastic pictures of the Earth covered in storms.

WunderGround

They have some nice graphics and information. Weather.com is one of the biggest channels around, ultimately owned by IBM. Set up in the 80s as the internet wave was beginning to build, it has gone on to be the most trusted networks for TV stations.

Weather.com bought Weather Underground in 2012, probably for its superior set-up. Most of the features are paid subscriptions.

OpenWeatherMap

This site uses OpenStreetMap.org, the free open-source map service, to display weather information. It is an interesting site, but the name is a little misleading since you need to pay a subscription to get any real information from it.

Weather predictions on the day are free, but longer forecasts need the subscription. I find it hard to see why you would use this over another site.

It is a preference thing. Do you want the information or flashy lights? Windy is my choice, but I use it to make half-baked weather forecasts. Now it is getting to the point where with a bit of programming, we can implement our own parameters have something a bit snazzy on the start-page.

Check Your Own Wind

Simple

Serious

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