Thursday, January 31, 2008
Weather for Randonneurs
My Grandpa was a meteorologist. He didn't have a degree or even any training, but life as a Sampson County farmer made him a good one. He would amaze me, out in his fields, the sky catching his attention:
“Bundle up, boy. It's gonna get cold!" Or, “Don't bother scatterin' feed, rain's comin'."
Sure, I'm impartial. But he was always right.
Maybe my grandfather's influence made me a weather geek. Maybe bicycles are to blame. We randonneurs do have an amazing amount of weather information and tools, right at our fingertips. So until I can read the sky and winds like 'Pa did, these are my favorite ways to get my weather fix.
NWS Raleigh Forecast Discussion
This is my first stop every day. It’s like a weather blog, straight from the NWS meteorologists. Highly scientific, but you can often get the gist of what they’re saying. They even give you a clickable glossary to help you figure it out. The Forecast Discussion gives you a complete picture of what they’re seeing, going beyond the official forecast to talk about what could happen, and why.
NWS Raleigh Hourly Weather Graph
A great visual tool great for short-term forecasts. Will that 9:00am headwind shift to a 1:00pm tailwind? Will rain start falling in the middle of your 300k? Now you know.
WTVD ABC11 First Alert Doppler XP
The best way to track where the rain's headed is with the most powerful radar in the Carolinas. (Sorry- shameless plug)
AccuWeather.com Extended Forecast
So the specific details may be useless 11 or 14 days out, but you'll be surprised at how often the general forecast is pretty good.