Predict The Weather As Well As The Guy On TV
By: Madison Lockwood
The weather resources on the Internet are many and varied. They
range from highly sophisticated dedicated sites to national
newsfeeds that produce fairly comprehensive weather reports, to
regional news organizations that feature weather as part of
their online news service. These can be from TV and radio
stations or local newspapers. In addition, the major search
engines have a weather feature that allows you to consult for
forecasts in your local area.
In all cases, however, their weather information is gathered
principally from national sources - in almost all cases, the
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
We're going to review here the principal dedicated weather sites
online, and give a quick critique to what the search engines and
national news sites provide.
Perhaps the best known dedicated commercial weather site is www.weather.com, a spin-off of
the cable television network The Weather Channel. This website
allows you to punch in your zip code for local weather, or a
city/town name for some other location. The site will give you
temperature readings, wind chill and precipitation forecasts. It
will provide forecasts on an hour-by-hour basis, for the
weekend, and will peer into the future with a ten-day forecast
on one page. Graphics include satellite photos and Doppler radar
representations of storm movements.
Much of this information is gathered from the NOAA's National
Weather Service website. Here you will find "official" U.S.
weather, marine, fire and aviation forecasts, warnings, climate
forecasts and information about meteorology at www.nws.noaa.gov/. The NOAA
has a massive network of weather stations nationwide, providing
readouts for highly localized areas. It's also user friendly,
with a wealth of visual information provided by satellites and
other graphics tools. There is a vast amount of marine weather
data available here as well.
The Weather Underground (www.wunderground.com) is
a spin-off of the University of Michigan's weather website.
Weather Underground is a commercial site peppered with
advertising that presents its forecasts based on zip code, city,
or on a clickable U.S. map. It also has international forecasts
- click by country - and a comprehensive list of maps on its
home page that show national trends for such factors as
temperature, wind, visibility, precipitation, snow depth, etc.
Register with them and send ten dollars and they'll email you
your daily forecast.
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor's weather lab: http://cirrus.sprl.umich
.edu/wxnet/ is among the pioneers of online weather
products. Currently, they maintain a quality national weather
forecast site - but perhaps their most valuable resource for
weather addicts is their list of 300 links to weather related
Intellicast (www.intellicast.com) is an
advertiser supported national site that will also email you your
daily forecast. Their site offers a clickable map and the usual
categories of satellite and long range forecasts. Www.weather.org is another of
the lesser national websites that is exclusively for weather.
Their site has an interesting map of worldwide conditions that
is constantly changing as the center of their homepage. Along
with the usual localized and national weather feeds, the site
offers weathercams, tides and currents, and commentary from the
Other dedicated locations include www.AccuWeather.com and www.Weatherbug.com.
Weatherbug offers downloadable software that provides your local
weather forecast and weather report. Yahoo and Google both
provide weather forecast features, as do the national news
feeds. CNN.com/WEATHER will provide international weather news
and five day forecasts by location. USA Today has global
forecasts and information on meteorological topics such as
global warming at: http://asp
Finally, Unisys has chosen to showcase its Weather Processor
analysis software package by building a website for global
weather information at http://weather.unisys.com/.
Not something you'd expect just looking at their main homepage.
Apparently even people who do tech consulting and enterprise
servers need to know if it's going to rain.
Madison Lockwood is a customer relations associate, specializing
in small business development, for Apollo Hosting. Apollo
Hosting provides website
hosting, ecommerce hosting, vps hosting, and web design
services to a wide range of customers.