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weather tools i use that don't suck

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It is usually true - other than just by looking outside - that the only thing you really need to get weather information is a weather station and/or a big 'ol outdoor thermometer.

What those tools can't do however is tell me a forecast, nor give me any information from a significant distance.

When I was a kid, there were only three ways to get a weather forecast. Television, radio, and newspaper. And no, I never once ever used the newspaper for this information. TV was the way I got the forecast unless the power was out, in which case a battery-powered AM/FM radio was used instead.

Speaking of radios, thankfully there are plenty of choices for emergency weather radios still for sale today.

The way I get my weather forecast info now is either on the computer or the phone.

I'll start with these two sites: NWS Radar for radar, and National Weather Service for forecast.

These two are bookmarked on both computer and phone because they load the fastest and give me the info I want quick.

Yes, there are other weather web sites and apps that are fancier. They suck. On the phone, every single weather app is slow to load, pesters me to buy some "premium" service I don't want and makes it REALLY difficult to scroll and zoom. The government run weather sites, while simpler, just work.

Next up is Current US Temperature Map.

This one is great because it shows the current right-now temperature everywhere in the contiguous United States at a glance. The benefit I get out of this one is I can see what temperatures are statewide instantly.

The last one is the graphic you see at top. This is mostly a Linux thing (although it can be used in Windows I suppose with this), and that's the site wttr.in.

On the command line in Linux, I type this:

curl wttr.in/mytown

...where I replace mytown with the city I live in, and ta-da, current conditions and 3-day forecast. The information is pulled from wttr.in and shown directly in Terminal.

Yes, you can also get the same info just by typing in the address wttr.in/yourtown (replace yourtown with your city) in a browser.

If for whatever reason the town name you use doesn't work with wttr.in, replace with the nearest bigger city or an airport code. You'll eventually find something that works with it.

I've been running Linux for about a year now (I'll be writing about that soon), and yes I have the ability to use a weather widget in the taskbar just like Windows or MacOS. Heck, I remember seeing weather widgets even as far back as Windows 95...

...and I've never liked them because they always have a propensity to "get stuck".

I'll explain.

I install the widget, and it initially works. Okay, great. But then later on, the report doesn't change. It will still be showing information from 6 hours ago and it didn't auto-update itself. Now I have to either force-update the widget or outright restart it. That's annoying.

This is not a Windows, Linux or Mac thing. All the computer weather widgets do this. I've never known any one that didn't, so I just quit using them.

Weather widgets may look nice but I don't trust them. I've always found it better to load up weather sites manually, because I know the information will be current.

Published 2024 Jun 3

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