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Online weather resources

There are a lot of excellent resources available on the Internet for weather – observations, weather radar, forecast models all abound and many quality sources are available at low cost or free.

I've been interested in weather observations and forecasting since I was a kid. Being a Brit probably has a lot to do with it – the British always talk about the weather. The British Isles sits in the middle of a number of different weather influences making the forecasters job challenging (to say the least!).

The Internet has not only made the dissemination of weather information easier, it's also helped collect observation data that can be factored into the forecast models. More powerful computers have been put to use by increasing the granularity of the forecast to a smaller grid so having access to more weather observations really helps. The Citizen Weather Observer Program is one source of observations from around the US that get fed into the National Weather Service (NWS) and serve as additional input to the modeling process.

Two great web sites I use to keep track of the forecast and actual weather conditions are the Weather Underground (from which the NEXRAD image at the top of this post was clipped) and the Aviation Weather Center run by the NWS. The Weather Underground in particular has great weather radar and access to both the NAM and GFS forecast models – perfect for the amateur weather forecaster (me!) in the family. Last but not least, the NWS has a forecast discussion available in the links at the bottom of the web page giving the local forecast for all locations in the US. This discussion shows how the professionals are interpreting the model forecasts and generating the daily forecast.

Comments

Robert Dewey

I'm amazed - I thought I was the only entrepreneur with an interest in meteorology!

One of my BIG hobbies is amateur forecasting and storm chasing. There's quite a community surround the hobby... If you're into that sort of thing, I suggest you checkout http://www.stormtrack.org and become a member of the forum - it's a high-quality (and strict) forum for the discussion of meteorology and storms comprised of weather-weenies, storm chasers, and NWS employees. Just be sure you use your real name if you sign-up -- user handles aren't accepted (and send me a note, I'll try and speed up the application process).

If you're really into forecasting, I've found MetWise has a pretty awesome tool for model visualization (http://www.extremeforecasting.com/net/overview.htm)

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STU PHILLIPS
MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA

Intense Brit, lived in Silicon Valley since 1984. Avid pilot, like digital photography, ham radio and a bunch of other stuff. Official Geek.

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