Your Forecast (and other resources)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 | Weather

National Weather Service – Madison Forecast. Reliable, briefly-worded “spot” forecast.

Hourly Forecast Graph or Hourly Numerical Data. A much “higher-resolution” view of the predicted weather to come. These give the NWS forecaster’s best prediction for future hourly readings of parameters like temperature, sky cover, wind speed and direction, precipitation potential, etc. They do not, however, indicate the confidence level (probability that the forecast will be accurate) for any given data point. For that, you should refer to the Forecast Discussion, issued daily around 3 AM and 3 PM, which will provide a much more nuanced view of the forecast being made, including reasoning and justification. While it usually contains some jargon and abbreviations, most technical terms are hyperlinked to definitions.

Milwaukee/Sullivan radar image, via Weather Underground. Updated every 5 minutes, with storm tracking (bearing, speed) and cell characteristics.

Visual/IR Satellite image, Upper Midwest via UW-SSEC. 32 frames, roughly previous 6 hours.

Water Vapor Image – 6KM, 24 Hr. This longer, wider-view water-vapor image of North America from College of DuPage is the best one we can find, but we can’t link it directly so you need to click “24 hour Water Vapor Loop (US)” under “Quick Links” on the R-hand side of the web-page that appears. You can also choose from a number of other excellent graphics from the five menu items below “Satellite and Radar” on the L-hand side of the page, first by choosing the type of image you want, then clicking into the map that appears to select a region. Once a static image has appeared, lengths of loop can be chosen from the “product menu” above the map.

Water Vapor Satellite image, North America. GOES East (geosynchronous), 30 minute interval, roughly previous 12 hours. Image can be glitchy to load and may have sequencing issues at certain times of day.

7-Day Satellite Review. A useful and informative visual for comprehending larger scale atmospheric patterns over North America at a glance, courtesy of the Space Science and Engineering Center at the UW-Madison.

Wind Map. This popular (and beautiful) live graphic is actually a quite useful tool for seeing how surface-winds are blowing across the country.

Earth Wind Map. A similar graphic, but on a rotatable, tiltable earth and with views of many height levels, including stratosphere. (To change the view, click the word “Earth” in the lower left.)

Severe Weather:

SWODY1, SWODY2, & SWODY3 give the Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlooks for future days 1 (today) thru 3. Text and graphics assess risk-level, risk-type and etiology of the day’s threats. These are the go-to products for virtually everyone interested in severe weather, including spotters and chasers. Mesoscale Discussions (MDs) – which include a small weather map with near real-time analysis – are an excellent resource for assessing particular, more localized threats when severe weather is occurring.

Additional Graphics & other resources:

CPC Seasonal Outlook. This Climate Prediction Center page not only includes forecast maps out to 13 months, but also long-lead discussions for the upcoming 30 and 90 day periods which are updated around the 1st and 20th of each month.

Climate Prediction Center.  The CPC’s homepage has assessments of drought and other hazards, as well as links to information on longer-term patterns like El Nino / La Nina, the Madden Julian Oscillation and the Arctic Oscillation.

Snow Cover. This NOAA site provides a wealth of data including snow depth, temperature, density, water-equivalence and much more (but remember to hit the “redraw map” button each time). Zoom in on the map for better detail.

Mondays @ ~10:00 AM
Wednesdays @ ~6:40 PM
Rob McClure
Rob McClure is the Weather Emperor, and rains his forecast into your ears during Global Revolutions and In Our Backyard.

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