Cool Ways to Watch the Storm That Aren't Your Window
As Zooey Deschanel never ceases to learn, there's plenty technology can tell us about the weather that looking outside our window can't. With schools cancelled, plenty of offices closed, and over two feet of snow predicted for the Boston area, we're destined to spend a lot of time staring at screens indoors for the next few days, so here are a few cool ways you can keep tabs on Nemo.
The Blogs: There's nothing like the good old fashioned written word to explain why it's thundersnowing outside or why your basement is flooding, and there is no shortage of experts willing to tell you. Meteorologist David Epstein's “Weather Wisdom” blog, hosted on Boston.com, is focused on the Boston area and goes in depth on the phenomena that are making weathermen have freak outs. And unlike, say, Weather.com and it's size 10 million fonts—the headline is currently “LIFE THREATENING SNOW”—he often addresses everyone's common conspiracy theory that we might be overhyping weather (though in this case, he's predicting some big snowfall.) Boston being the real bullseye of this storm, the national coverage can often feel pretty local. (Hey, even Al Roker is here with a giant yardstick.) So on the national scene, there's Dr. Jeff Master's WunderBlog, by the founder of Wunderground. This guy warns that if you see thunder, you're probably going to get a whole lot of snow, and if you live on coastal Massachusetts, you might get wet.
The Twitters: Aside from following the often cluttered #Nemo hashtag, you can get official word on the weather from the National Weather Service's feed, though it's occasionally stating the obvious:
— NWS (@usNWSgov) February 8, 2013
Henry Margusity, senior meteorologist at Accuweather and extreme weather specialist, is another good follow. And Weather Wisdom's Dave Epstein is always good for some Twitter therapy …
The storm will be big, but panic isn't necessary. We will all emerge from our snow caves safe on Sunday.
— Dave Epstein (@growingwisdom) February 8, 2013
The Pretty Visuals: This storm is expected to be a windy one, with gusts exceeding the threshhold for hurricane force. That means it's as good a time as any to look at this epic real-time map that shows the wind patterns across the United States. If you'd like to see Nemo in space (Side note: Disney, call us. Nemo In Space could be big) check out the satellite image from the NASA MODIS’ real-time view (though at this time, the satellite is over the other side of the globe. It'll come around though.)
The crowd-sourcing: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has launched mPING (for Precipitation Identification Near the Ground), a smartphone app that allows users to report precipitation wherever they are. The project is relatively new, but it will be cool if enough people earnestly buy in, allowing a range of people from scientists to law enforcement to use the data in real time. Look at all the little snow dots on the map of Massachusetts already.
And then there's the dark side of crowd-sourcing: Instagram. With the storm in its infant stages, the Nemo hashtag mostly surfaces pictures of cartoon Nemo, and throughout the storm you're bound to get a few hoaxes, a few pictures of empty wine bottles, etc. But now and again, people capture some amazing weather photography so it's worth keeping an eye out.