Colder ‘n a well-digger’s a**s? Hotter ‘n dancin’ bobcat? Find out from NWS

It is no surprise to those who know me or who have read this blog for awhile that I have a fascination with weather. I think I have mentioned a million times before that I watched TV weather hoping someday to be behind those cameras delivering with a grin that “Presidio, Texas, was the hottest spot in the country today with a high of 105 degrees!” And that was on Christmas! Just kidding.

Remember times BI (Before Internet) when you had to get your temperatures from TV and a man pointing with a stick? And maybe the weather guy wasn’t even pointing at the place where you were flying to tomorrow or where it was that your loved one might have popped his or her head on a pillow this evening. Well no more of that!

There are a million places which one may get temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, humidity, visibility, time, and your cholesterol and EKG to boot! But for basic weather, there is nothing better than the local pages of the National Weather Service. Those folks, a part of NOAA and the Department of Commerce, are worth every penny taxpayers spend on the agency. Yes, I know some want to privatize weather forecasting and information delivery. I even read some of those products. When one looks deeply into the many aspects of meteorology that the Weather Service produces for the public, the one difference found is in the delivery aspect.

Many private weather products are written in news style or online news style. Some of the NWS products found are delivered in “geek speak.” But, the NWS often has an online glossary link handy on most reports. And, as a former newspaper reporter who often felt embarrassed writing down for readers. I didn’t at all think a reader would be harmed if he or she would look the damn word or phrase or concept up in a dictionary or encyclopedia! Who was it who said “the masses are asses?” Well, that isn’t really true. But people these days often have the attention span of a duck.

One must also remember the NWS has been around a long, long time — longer than the Internet by far.

Dismounting my high horse, when I decide to check out the current weather and forecast, I go to my local NWS site. I’ve been using the site so long it is old Stetson to me.

You can start here. And don’t get distracted by all the ‘purty’ colors which might just be dangerous winter or tropical storms, depending on the time of year and your location.

Just use the pointer (or fat little fingers) to point to the area you are looking for on the U.S. map. “But I don’t know where it is.” Then go back to elementary school and study geography. In the top, upper left of the NWS page type the name of the place or the zip code, or the same for somewhere near it. In my case, I’ll type “Beaumont, Tx.” Why? Well … Okay, it is where I live. How about that one?

I have friends who live all over the U.S. and even the world. But let’s stick to the U.S. Whenever I am just wondering how the weather might be where, say, Sally lives, in Pittsfield, MA,” I just type it in and, let’s see, today, whoa hoss, it’s 26 degrees at 7:05 Eastern time. Looks like a good chance for snow and freezing rain at the end of the week. Better bundle up, Sal.

If all that isn’t good enough for you then perhaps you can rent your own weather person. Good luck with that.


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