A Consumers Guide to Weather Forecasting Information Cliff Mass University of Washington
Being a good weather consumer means
Knowing where to get reliable information Knowing what is hype and what is real Knowing the limits of weather prediction Knowing how to read the sky and how to interpret basic weather information
The most common question I am asked Are the predictions in the Old Farmers Almanac Useful?
Absolutely not Nick Bond of UW/NOAA in Seattle evaluated the Almanacs forecasts over several years Found absolutely no skill. Better off flipping a coin.
Where can you get weather information? Print newspapers Forecasts are generally old and superficial
Radio Often old or wrong (except for KNKX on Friday at 9:00 AM) TV Varies substantially in quality Tends to hype storms
NOAA weather radio Straight from the National Weather Service, fairly up to date. Online and mobile Probably the best and most comprehensive source
Newspaper Print Weather Pages Outdated forecasts NOAA WeatherRadio (good in remote areas, alarm for warnings)
TV Weather Only about half are really meteorologists (i.e., have an actual degree). They are weathercasters The weekday ones tend to have stronger backgrounds. Their forecasts for the first few days tend to be very
close to the National Weather Service Lots of hype- Pinpoint severe weather center County by county forecasts Doppler radar weather Local TV Weather Types with
Degrees in Atmospheric Sciences Online You can get the latest forecasts You can get the raw weather observations (e.g., surface observations, radar)
You can look at the forecasts from the computer models. You can view weather cams all over the region You can get deceiving and wrong information that looks compelling.
The National Weather Service: A Good Source The NWS Forecast Discussion getting into the mind of the forecaster
Weather.com has very good forecastsbetter than the National Weather Service Completely automated. Highly sophisticated
statistical improvement of National Weather Service and other forecast models.
Who has the best forecasts? Check forecastadvisor.com Smartphone Weather Apps Are Very Useful Smartphones are the perfect weather delivery
tool Good graphics, they know where you are, good communications, and more
WeatherChannel App Radarscope: The Professionals Choice for Looking at Radar Imagery
Weather Radar Can Change Your Life! NWS Doppler Radar Weather Radar Can Help You
Plan Outdoor Recreation Since the National Weather Service put the Camano Island weather radar in place during the early 90s, I rarely get seriously soaked while commuting by bicycle. With a little knowledge of NW precipitation
and weather radar, you can protect yourself too. Important Precipitation Info It is RARELY uniform, even on rainy days. If you can shift you ride or outdoor activity by
10-15 minutes you can often miss the heavy stuff. Shift by 30-60 minutes you can usually do so. Moving a few miles can mean the difference between rain and dry.
Example: 4:48 PM -Heavy rainbut waiting will be rewarded in Seattle. 5:40 PM: Absolutely Dry Different Situations
After fronts go through we often have showers and sun breaks. Radar allows you to stay in the breaks! Showers and Sun breaks, wait a few minutes for heavy rain to end
The Most Difficult Situation is When a Broad Pacific Front or Storm is Over Us The Absolute Worst: Pineapple Express!
Dec 3, 2007 But EVEN THEN, there were dry spots in the rain shadow and some places had less rain
20% chance of rain means? It will rain over 20% of the area? It will rain 20% of the time There is a 20% chance it will rain at a specific point over some period.
Most people are not sure The Correct Answer There is a 20% chance it will rain at a specific point over some period (often 12 hours).
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