February 15, 2020
Weather forecasting used to be a joke.
George Carlin, as the Hippie Dippy Weather Man, famously said,
“Tonight’s forecast, dark, continued dark tonight, turning to partly light in the morning.”
Today weather services like Weather.com are extremely accurate.
i am planning a trip to Big Sur for four days, then to San Francisco for another four and a return trip over one of the mountain passes.
First i consulted Maps on my Macintosh to see what route i would be taking.
My desired route will take me over the Tejon pass.
i opened Safari and searched for the weather.com 10 day forecast for Big Sur, San Francisco and Gorman. Gorman is near the summit of Tejon pass.
i opened the web page for each forecast in its own window so i could compare them easily. i do like my 27” iMac for screen space.
The weather in Gorman on the day of the outbound trip will be sunny and on the return trip sunny. Good. Not much risk of getting delayed by snow.
The temperature in Big Sur will be highs around 60° and lows in the 40s. We will be staying in a cabin so the lows are not a tenting concern. This forecast informed my clothing packing.
San Francisco will be similarly temperate. Maybe i will pack a fur lined hoodie for the windy walks in the city. 20-25 MPH winds are predicted.
i also checked the weather at home. Anza will be freezing some nights and will snow mid trip. Good to know. i set up a heater with a timer in the greenhouse to keep Paula’s succulents warm overnight.
Another way to check the weather is to ask Siri on your iPhone.
“Hey Siri, what is the 10 day weather forecast for Anza?”
“Seems pretty good in Anza… for now anyway,” says Siri. She also shows the highs and lows with sun/cloud predictions for the next 10 days.
The iPhone uses the Apple “Weather” app by default. The Weather Channel, AccuWeather and many other developers offer hundreds of weather apps for the iPhone. These apps are almost all free.
Weather is some of the easiest data to access. A Google search for “Anza weather” displays the city name, date, sky conditions (sunny/cloudy, etc.), current temperature, Precipitation, Humidity, Wind and an eight day forecast with graph options for temperature, precipitation and wind. Google also finds 2.6 million other references to “Anza weather”. This takes Google 1/3 of a second.
Since i am a skydiver i like the March Afb (Air force base) weather page. The Wind Direction and Average Wind Speeds graphs are especially useful to Perris Valley Skydiving parachutists. Some days the March Afb weather page lets me turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. Nobody is jumping with a 3000 foot cloud base.
On the other hand, standing around the drop zone looking up at the clouds, hoping for a blue hole and telling skydiving stories is not all bad.
It is not just meteorology tech that is improving. As global warming worsens some weather predictions are easier. Storm systems are larger, more powerful and better defined. It is easier for the forecasters to see the storms coming and patterns developing. Weather in particular locales, however, remains volatile. The larger the storm, the more variables and the more inclined the system to take an unpredicted turn.
Weather is what is happening right now. Climate is the average of weather conditions. If the temperature where you live changes 7° from one day to the other it is no big thing. When the Earth’s average temperature was 7° cooler there was an ice sheet a mile thick on top of Manhattan.
According to NASA, climate due to global warming will include higher temperature averages, higher volume rain storms, more droughts and heat waves, stronger hurricanes, sea level rise (1-4 feet by 2100) and a summertime ice free arctic.
Weather forecasting used to be a joke, but it will soon become deadly serious.
It is good that we will have weather.com to prepare for the disaster of the day.