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It may seem “old-fashioned” but the World Wide Web is still full of some of the best apps. You don’t have to install them. You never need to update them. You can even add them to your Home Screen. After years of getting bad weather forecasts, I finally acquiesced to using Weather.gov, and it’s made my life much easier.
Weather.gov Offers the Best Forecast
I’ve known about weather.gov for several years, but the excitement over apps had me ignoring it for a long time. I fell for the allure of slick weather apps with animations, overlays and other superfluous features. The problem is that if the underlying data is flawed, that beautiful weather app is worthless.
You often hear criticism that the government can’t do anything right. It’s a gross generalization. I hate the DMV as much as anyone, but some government agencies are highly effective. The U.S. postal service delivers letters and packages for an unbelievably low price with exceptional reliability. They are still essential to our nation’s commerce. Unlike their private counterparts, the mail man seems to be the only one who can actually put packages in front of my door, instead of chucking them at the front of the building, where they can be stolen. Most private couriers can’t even reach remote parts of the nation. Instead, they hand it off to the good old USPS, because they have offices everywhere. Similarly, the National Weather Service has a network of top-notch meteorologists providing reliable forecasts for every area in the nation. This is the underlying data source used by Weather.gov.
The National Weather Service is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It employs 5000 people in 122 forecast offices. No private enterprise has these resources at their disposal. The NWS simply provides the most accurate local forecast available. A lot of it has to do with profits. Private weather services can’t make a fortune from weather forecasts. It takes tax payer dollars to provide these services to the people, because it is simply not a profitable endeavor.
The weather.gov website is ugly. It looks like they created it in the mid 90s and kept the same look for over two decades. It’s important not to judge weather.gov on aesthetics. After all, the actual forecast is most important. Let’s take a look at how to get the most out of weather.gov.
You can access weather.gov using any web browser on virtually any computer or device. For the purposes of this article, I will be using Safari on my iPhone. After all, you will probably need to check the forecast when you’re not near a computer. Simply open your web browser, tap on the address field and enter “weather.gov”. Tap Go on the keyboard to open the site. You can also click on this link to open weather.gov in your browser.
The weather.gov home page displays weather information for the entire U.S. You will often see a weather alert for severe weather somewhere in the country. It also displays a nationwide map with alerts for specific regions.
You probably want your local forecast, and they have that too. Simply type in your zip code or city and state in the field on the top left of the web page and tap Go. You will now see an accurate local forecast. (continue…)