If you've had a chance to visit DaculaWeather.com, you've probably noticed that there is a LOT of weather information available. The number of web pages available at the moment is around 1200 and always growing. Because of that, I've had people ask me what I look at when the weather starts to get bad or to figure out the latest forecast.
Meteorologist use many different charts, maps, and models to create forecast, and many of those would be past the scope of this post, but I'll show you a few of the pages that I use.
- 500MB Upper Air Loop - This GFS model loop is looking at the air patterns and heights. By looking at this loop, you can get a sense of how the air patterns are moving and what maybe coming toward our area. The numbers you see on this loop are meters above sea level (and add an extra zero on the end), and 500 MB's is generally around the 18,000 foot region. But as you can see, the height varies depending on whether it is a low pressure (lower heights) area or high pressure area (heigher heights). The GFS model runs 4 times a day and this is the 06Z or 1am EST model run.
- Storm Prediction Center Meso-Analysis Map - Love this map. Many, many parameters can be viewed here. This defaults to the southeast but if you hover over "Change Sector" you can view the entire US or other sectors around the country. The map defaults to sea level conditions. The "Basic UA" menu item allows you to view conditions at the different levels of the atmosphere. Other menu items that are used under normal conditions are "Heavy Rain" and "Winter Weather". I use this ALL the time.
- MESONET Conditions - I've started using this since I added it not long ago. This map displays conditions from other stations besides the normal NWS stations. Much better coverage of the conditions. Again, this defaults to the southeast but you can view any part of the country with it. This page loads a little slowly due to the amount of data it's retrieving so please be patient.
- Interactive Radar - This map has a lot of different options and this is also new. Play with this one to see what it will do.
- GRLevel3 Radar Loops - I have about 6 permanent loops going that covera ll of Georgia and the surrounding areas. Most of these are Dual Pol loops that contain additional information that most loops don't show you. Some of the TV stations use the same technology and call it "Viper" and other creative names. These loops are available under the main menu under "Radar".
- Satellite Loops and Images - You can access all of the images and loops from the main menu at the top of the page, but there is also a loops page with many additional satellite loops that include infrared and water vapor loops.
- Area Forecast Discussions - Very informative. This is an insight to what the NWS is currently thinking with all of the "why's" and "wherefore's" to their forecast logic. These are available for all of the forecast offices in the southeast.
- HPC and SPC discussions - The SPC is the Storm Prediction Center. They are responsible for issuing Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Watches. Very informative when severe weather approaches. There are 6 different SPC reports. The HPC is the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. They do all of the national precipitation forecast predictions including rainfall and snow. They were responsible for the forecast of Hurricane Sandy after is was passed off by the National Hurricane Center. There are 8 different reports that you can view.
These are just a few of the pages I use to monitor the weather. When the next storm approaches, I'll get more specific with each page.
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