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Beacon Senior News

Say goodbye to TV weathermen

Jan 25, 2022 09:29AM ● By Adam Cochran

In 2022, I’m going to write a lot about living with technology in a post-COVID world. I’m not saying that COVID is gone; I’m saying that COVID has forced society to adopt technology in ways that could be avoided prior to 2020.

Banking, communication, education, shopping and health care are just a few facets of daily life that have implemented technology and permanently evolved over the past few years.

This month, I am going to talk about the most essential topic of human conversation: the weather.

TV weather is a waste

The weather is what we talk about when we have nothing else to talk about. Relevant quantitative weather data is produced every second of the day and it is likely scrutinized by more professional practitioners and amateurs than any other scientific field.

Everyone with a smartphone and/or a computer, can access both complex weather data and its plain interpretation. Local and national television news outlets still waste as much as 30 percent of their broadcast on weather forecasts. The popularity of television weather forecasts is a subject that has both baffled and irritated me for almost 20 years.

Here are some ways you can use computers and smartphones to acquire customized local weather information without having to wait for the TV forecast. Best of all, this information will be more timely, accurate and even entertaining than even the most experienced television weather person can provide.

First, I must explain that I’m focusing on weather forecasts, not weather-related news. Local news sources will likely always be the best source for information on how the weather is impacting the community. Weather forecasting is merely the data that allows experts to make an educated guess at what will happen with the weather over the coming hours, days and weeks.

Best weather resources

Accessing weather data, both raw and interpreted, is most efficient with your smartphone or tablet. Although, true weather geeks will appreciate the superior experience available by using a computer.

It’s likely that your forecasts will likely be very similar, if not identical, across all sites and apps because the data is gathered from the same sources: the National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Aviation Weather Center, and numerous other entities. The primary differences between the apps and weather sites are features and functionality.

Some of the most popular resources are accessible online and come as smartphone apps: 

• Weather Underground

(www.wunderground.com

• The Weather Channel
(
www.weather.com) 

• Accuweather
(
www.accuweather.com) 

• Weather Bug
(
www.weatherbug.com) 

• Clime: NOAA Weather Radar Live (www.climeradar.com)

• Dark Sky (www.darksky.net)
I like this paid app that specializes in hour-by-hour forecasts.

All of these resources offer simple weather forecasts, satellite images, precipitation forecasts and current temperatures.

If you love weather science enough to pay for a weather app or website, you can also access complex maps, charts and data such as wind, air quality, tide tables, moon phases and even seismic activity.

If you’d like more laughs in your day, What the Forecast?! (app only) is a humorous weather app that will explain, in real terms, how nasty it is outside. Hourly weather forecasts, weather alerts, moon phases and air quality index are accompanied by almost 10,000 obnoxious phrases that describe current weather conditions. You can even adjust the profanity settings. 

It won’t take long once you’ve adopted technology to access all of your weather data to realize that television weather forecasts are obsolete. But you will be much more interesting when it comes to talking about the weather at your next obligatory social gathering.