Monday, October 27, 2008

Why I don't trust the weatherman

Since moving to NC, I've kinda turned into a weather nut, especially in the last year or so. I started with (The Weather Channel) and then moved onto Weather Underground (the weather site parodying the extremist group, not the extremist group, lol) as well as Google Earth from time to time (OK, its live weather is really lame). But still, while WU is slightly more accurate than TWC (it's got more localized coverage), it can still be dead wrong as much.

We've had some crappy weather the last week or so, but WU promised partly cloudy today with a week-long 10% chance of rain, dropping off at 0% by Saturday. So I was partly surprised when I woke up and we had some pretty heavy wind, and not long after, heavy rain. And the funny thing is, WU still says, and I quote:

Through 8 PM...a strong cold front will continue moving through eastern North Carolina. Scattered showers will move northeast along the front with amounts averaging only a few hundredths of an inch.

Scattered showers, my ass. It's pouring out there. I was thinking of going over to my brother-in-law's place, maybe playing some Rock Band, but now - no way. I'll just stay dry. And only a few hundredths of an inch? Where do they get these people?

There is one nice feature about the WU site. You can access the very same weather data your weatherman on the news has. Pretty much, anyway. I think WU's is easier to read. First, go to, plug in your zip code or city and state, whichever's easier. Now, WU won't always get your exact location if you're real rural - it'll get their closest associate. For example, we live in Chocowinity, NC and plugging in 27817 brings up Washington, NC. So it's not too far off, but it's still 6-7 miles at least. Anyway, you got your local page up... Over on the left, you click on Wundermap. This gives you a pretty Google Maps-based map. Below it, for best results, 1) uncheck "Weather Stations". 2) Move the second slider down all the way to the right. At the leftmost position its caption will read "Animate (Num Frames" but at the rightmost, it'll read "Stop (Num Frames)" but I think they're backwards (bad coding?). 3) Find your zoom level on the left side of the map and click on the ladder rung two down (zoom out two steps). Now you can grab this map and move it around. You can zoom in or out as you like.

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