Watching the Weather: Beyond the BBC/MET Office
Working outside daily and in a ‘calling’ that is ever-dependent on what the weather (and climate) is doing, I have developed a range of sources for keeping up to date with short- and long-term forecasts of events and trends. Sure, I often watch the latest local BBC weather bulletin online, and also check out the MET Office forecast for Haytor Vale. If I want a little more local detail then I sometimes also look at the website for the private Haytor Vale weather station. When I have to pop out to the holding for a short time, and can be flexible on the timing, I have found Rain Alarm to be a great website in keeping track of rain bands etc – you can even set it to provide a pop-up warning of local rain approaching (complete with sound effects) if you want to know when to bring the washing in!
There are plenty of websites out there that provide a little more in-depth analysis. One that I often look at is The Weather Outlook; it provides a daily snap-shot forecast, with links to forecasts for longer time-scales, but the main reason I visit this site is to look at the Buzz section, which provides an analysis and explanation of what is on (or might be just over) the horizon. For instance, today (25th October 2014) Buzz is reporting on the possibility of temperatures hitting the 20s (centigrade) in southern UK next week, as well as discussing the polar vortex (vortices) and the associated likelihood of a severe winter coming up (there is also a forum section, where knowledgeable amateur (and possibly professional) forecasters discuss important topics such as whether we will have ‘White Christmas’ this year).
A great introduction to the changing polar vortices, with animations, can be found on the Suspicious 0bservers website; the chap who runs this site issues a short daily youtube video that shows what is happening on our sun and around the world weather-wise – including talking about how space-weather affects Earth weather. He keeps the videos to 4-5 minutes maximum, and includes information on what is happening to polar ice, the changing climate, Earth’s weakening/flipping magnetic field, nearby comets etc. This has become my ‘must-watch’ daily update! Sometimes it is a priority to know when the next half-hour gap in the rain is coming – sometimes the big picture is what one really craves an understanding of.