Planning an outing tomorrow, but don't know whether it is going to be sunny or cloudy? A bit of rain may spoil your nice picnic, but if you don't reserve your spot at the campsite today, you might never be able to go there! Has this happened with you lately? With me, this is a common occurrence. And I am sure, in order to find a solution to this problem, you might be just flicking on the television and checking out the weather predictions. Now, with all due respect to all the meteorological departments of the world, the predictions are very well-analyzed, well-researched, and well-presented, but, don't we all know how many times these weather reports falter?
What I mean to say is that your satellite channels are not the only source of information. Yes, local channels can help vastly, because the information they provide will be from your own neighborhood, but, there is always a time lag between the research and its presentation on television. Knowing what weather is, it is not a big surprise if the beautiful presenter is predicting warm and sunny climate today, while you can actually see the ominous Cumulus clouds piling up already! So, the telecasts are not all that live. There may be differences in analysis and transmission times, and that could actually make all the difference.
The silver lining is that today we have an army of devices that can help us get our climate predictions in real time, and that is what we really want, isn't it?
Tool # 1 - Cell phones
All cell phone services nowadays have options for receiving weather forecast information. The Smart Phones have inbuilt features to present the forecast in a very smart manner. You might have to activate the service from your mobile service operator, and there could be some charges for that.
The advantages are that you get the weather report on the move. The cell phone services have their own radar and satellite ranging systems (that's how cell phones work, actually) and these can feed the forecast on your phone continuously, or whenever you ask for it - depending on what option you have selected on the phone. The forecast is received by you in real time. You get information like temperature at the moment, how its going to be the whole day - windy, sunny, cloudy, snowy, etc. -, and humidity.
Tool # 2 - Weather Reporting Devices
There are many such gadgets available today. These are typically handheld mobile phone-like devices, which are specially hooked with weather broadcasting stations, and have special displays for describing the prevailing conditions. They have maps on their interface - you can customize for local maps - and there are many options, like radar imaging, color coding, etc. that helps to display the climate related information on the gadgets. The devices work in real time, and hence they are a hit with business planners and coordinators, who have to schedule meetings, conferences, etc.
Not just that, these handheld devices are great for predicting the weather, while on the move. They are interactive, customizable, store archive information, can switch from one location to another - in short, they have all the features that one would look for in a personal electronic assistant.
Tool # 3 - The Internet
One should never forget the Internet, of course. There are many websites that deal specifically with providing weather-related information, whether on a local or a national basis. Mostly, they are national, and you have to click on the name of your city or town, to know the local forecast.
To the credit of these websites, they have great research teams usually, and they help to present all the information they research in easily understandable terms. With the mobile phones and handheld devices mentioned above, you have the convenience, but you have to mostly figure out what that information means on your own. Websites make the whole data more user-friendly and even provide some human speculation, which we are so used to in our normal forecasts. Some of them have videos too, which can make the whole forecast thing quite an easy thing to follow.
Although, to the discredit of the websites, they are not as specialized, as focused, or as convenient to use as the other devices. Of course, you can take the Internet with you wherever you go, but just the thought of visiting the site and exactly finding out the information on it, could be excruciating.
Anyway, the main point is that we have options today that can be counted as more reliable than our traditional methods.