Armchair Meteorologist Alert! Here are Some of the Best Links for Weather Watchers
Do you keep tabs on the weather? Not just the forecast, but current conditions, snow reports and weather model predictions? The Northland has some of the most extreme weather on the planet - only Siberia has more extremes in temperature and moisture than the Upper Midwest of the United States. Being weather-wise isn't optional. With that in mind, I want to share some of the (free) links I use every day. It's not a complete list, but we have to start somewhere, right?
Satellite Imagery. If you want to be able to predict the weather you have to start with current observations: what is happening right now, including satellite imagery? If you're interested in tracking storm, nationwide, or trying to figure out what time the sun might come out in Hermantown, CSPP Geosphere at the University of Wisconsin is a good place to start.
Hourly Forecast Out to 48 Hours. This is NDFD data from NOAA, and it shows the expected changes in temperature, dew point, wind chill and wind speed/direction going out 2 days. Hit refresh to get the latest forecast.
Wind Forecasts. Windy.com does a great job giving you a handle on changes in cloud cover, wind and precipitation. You can even dial up different models to see if they agree. The mapping visuals are great on this site and there's a paid version that goes out 10 days.
How Much Snow Fell? Check out this site from Weather.gov (NOAA) where you can zoom in or zoom out, and see snowfall reports for the last hour, or the last 72 hours.
Weather Observations. Looking for the latest rainfall, snowfall, hail or wind damage reports from The Northland. IEMBot from Iowa State is a great resource. Just be sure to type Duluth into the window in the upper left and you'll see the latest reports.
Extended Outlook. It is problematic, and most days impossible, to provide an accurate forecast for a specific location beyond 5-7 days, but meteorologists can provide "trends" with a fair degree of confidence (wetter/drier/colder/warmer). Here's a helpful link from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
Drought Monitor. Much of Minnesota is still in drought, and weekly updates come out every Thursday here.
Predicted Snowfall or Rainfall. Pivotalweather.com has an intuitive web site where you can pick the model you want to see, the parameters (rain, snow, wind, etc) and the time period, and it will generate a custom map for you. You can even loop the data over time.
Departure from Normal. Just how unusual is the cold or heat we are experiencing. This interactive map shows a planetary color-coded snapshot of what is happening now, so you can see (instantly) how many degrees above or below normal the current temperatures are, all courtesy of Climate Reanalyzer.
This is by means not a definitive list, but a start. There are thousands of web sites with weather information, many of them require a paid subscription to view. All the links above are free, and I hope you (or a weather-fanatic friend or family member) can get some use out of them. Because here in The Northland playing armchair meteorologist is one of our favorite hobbies. Yeah, we still like to talk about the weather - because we get A LOT OF IT!
Good luck out there!