7 January 23

Weather Watching

I think we’re in the middle of the fourth storm here in 2023 already, and we have so far gotten 3.09” of rain in January. This has meant paying a lot of attention to what the weather is going to be doing in the next hours or days. Today for instance I wanted to know if I’d be able to cycle out to fetch take-out burritos sometime between 12:30 and 1 PM without getting rained on. It’s about a 4 mile round trip bike ride. So I studied my weather apps scrupulously. No precipitation was predicted to fall before 2 PM, so out I went.

There are two apps I’m finding especially useful. The first is Windy, which is available equivalently as a webapp or as a iOS or Android app. It provides many different weather visualizations, including reported temperatures and wind speeds, and radar and weather satellite views. Here is a view of radar imagery from Windy, showing a precipitation cell about 3 minutes away from reaching Davis.
A weather radar image over Davis, California showing areas of precipitation. A flag reads 10mm per hour of precipitation.

The scientist in me particularly likes how Windy give you several different major forecast models to choose from, at various different spatial extents. For instance it lets you animate the ECMWF global weather model over the next 11 days, good for predicting how long this rainy pattern will last. But Windy also has visualizations of the HRRR (High Resolution Rapid Refresh) model for North America, which is at a 3 kilometer resolution and is updated every hour. Here is a view of predicted precipitation from the HRRR model over a 15 minute period, the image being straight from the HRRR website.
A map showing predicted precipitation in Central California over a 15 minute time period.

I also just discovered the wX app, available solely for Android. It is basically a repackaging of many different National Weather Service products, allowing you to avoid wading through lots of different NWS website page. From the app’s starting page you can just scroll down to see the NWS text forecasts for your location, and you can also click on an icon to get to a comprehensive suite of different weather radar products e.g. storm relative mean velocity, or reflectivity at various different radar tilt angles.

Posted by at 09:53 PM in Nature and Place | Link |

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