January 03, 2018

DRILL, BABY, DRILL -- READING WEATHER REPORTS


OK, how many "hurry-canes" can we get (60 mph winds and driving rain that lasts 20 gut-wrenching minutes) before we start paying better attention to the weather? And if you had drilled down a little, maybe there was more information that you could have used to your benefit -- and an appreciation of the forecaster.

WEATHER ON THE WEB

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Clearly, the world is awash in web sites that can tell you the weather. Here is just a partial list:

www.weather.com The Weather Channel

www.accuweather.com AccuWeather

www.weatherbug.com The Weather Bug

www.wunderground.com Weather Underground

Also, internet information providers all have a weather channel -- AOL, Yahoo, Google, etc. Each portrays pretty much the same information that you can get by opening the newspaper over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table.

And you may be surprised to know that they all likely get their weather data from the same source; the US's NOAA -- the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. NOAA (www.noaa.gov) is part of the Commerce Department, which says a lot about what government thinks affects business the most! If NOAA's website has any fault at all, it's the enormous amount of information you can get from it. But, as NOAA says, "NOAA's weather programs touch the lives of every American. Every day, decisions are made based on NOAA weather information -- from the mundane 'should I pack an umbrella today?' to the most critical and potentially life-saving." So, "more" is putting safety first. And that is where safety must be.

So, if all the services get their basic data from NOAA, why don't you just go there and get the info? It is free too!

But the real answer, going back to the intro of this column, is you want to be able to drill down and not every weather service gives you that ability.

DRILL, BABY, DRILL!

On any given day, you can get a weather report that tells you that the chance of rain is, for example, 80 percent. So, if you are planning to do anything outside, you might cancel or move it to another venue. But the 80 percent covers the whole day, in other words, there is an 80 percent chance that it will rain sometime today. But when?

But there is a button of interest on most sites. It says "Hour by Hour." What happens if I drill down on Hour by Hour?

Bingo! If you look at the chances of precipitation, you'll see the chances of rain hour-by-hour, and at some points of the day, it's even money or better that no rain will fall. How about we get some fishing in this morning?

BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at JoinUSCGAux@aol.com or go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department, who are in charge of new members matters at DSO-HR and we will help you "get in this thing…"

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