Spring weather patterns, where warm and cold fronts clash, bring a greater chance of Severe Weather to much of the country, and our area is no exception. The first step in preparedness is awareness of upcoming weather. With current smartphones or computers linked to the Internet, we have the ability to get regular weather forecasts, and weather alerts and have the ability to do real-time monitoring of the weather. In this post, we will highlight some of our favorite apps and websites that one can use or visit to monitor the weather.
Apps – We like the no-nonsense NWS-NOW app which has no advertising – just the weather. The app is not available in the google app store so you’ll have to go to www.nwsnow.net and use the link there for the free download. It gives you current conditions, severe weather alerts, radar maps, a 7-day forecast, hourly conditions, and for those that want to learn more about the weather forecast discussions. One of the best features is that you can set it up to use your phone’s GPS location so where ever you may be you’ll know the weather.
Next in the Apps is the FEMA APP from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This is another no-nonsense app that allows you to select from a list of every conceivable weather condition to receive Emergency Alerts for a specific location that you can enter. Also, there are dropdowns that give you preparedness tips, as well as, you can set the app to remind you to test smoke alarms, update your emergency kit, etc. This is available free in the Google App Store.
Websites – First and foremost you can’t beat the National Weather Service website for information. The problem for many there is so much available information you can get overwhelmed. The best way to handle this is to bookmark the pages you will want to go back and visit. The first web page we use daily is the NWS main page https://www.weather.gov where you can enter a city name or zip code to get the local forecast where ever you may be located. To get to the web page for North Wildwood weather CLICK HERE The next NWS page we check often is the Daily Briefing https://www.weather.gov/briefing/ a web page that looks at the entire country plus contains links to obtain more information. This is a great web page to look at if you planning a trip outside the area. During Hurricane season we visit often the National Hurricane Center to get the information directly from the source. The website is https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Here are some other websites that provide similar information, some in a different format that you might like better, and others with additional information which you might find helpful.
Weather Underground Wondermap website – https://www.wunderground.com/wundermap. This is a map that shows all the personal weather stations in a given area. We have seen up to seven personal weather stations in North Wildwood (some are occasionally offline and are not shown). They display data in the same format even though they may be different brand weather stations. We use them to compare rainfall amounts and times when the rain starts and ends. A great resource that once you use it you will go back to again and again. This is real-time information and the weather stations are everywhere so the next time you hear about severe weather in a certain area of the country take a moment and locate a weather station near the severe weather and watch the weather change in real-time.
The Ventusky website – https://www.ventusky.com/ this is a website where you can see an almost unlimited amount of data in a graphic format so it can be clearly understood. For example under the cloud drop-down, you can display total cloud cover, fog, low clouds, middle clouds, and high clouds. With other data, you have the option to display it at different heights above ground. Data is displayed in different colors for different measurements. A handy key on the right side shows what each color equates to. Additionally, you can see past weather and future forecasts.
The Windy.com Website – https://www.windy.com/ this website is similar to Ventusky’s graphic display with information shown in colors except where Venusky seems to be for pilots with information at different elevations Windy is for boaters where you can display Waves, swells, and sea temperatures. You also can display different forecast models for the upcoming week. You also can show webcams that are mainly highway cameras to see the weather in real-time. The nearest cameras are in Rio Grande and Cape May Court House.
The Tropical Tidbits website – https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/ this is our go-to website to check on the different forecast models. Under the current storms tab, you will see hurricanes and the different forecast paths. Under the forecast models tab, you will see various models and have the ability to put the map in motion to see what the future weather is predicted to be in up to 384 hours (16 days in the future). Again, another website that has so much information that you may be overwhelmed along with information that you might not understand, it is nonetheless a good resource for the advanced weather watcher.
To see storm chasers in action The Severe Studios Website – https://www.severestudios.com/livechase/ has a map where it will show those storm chasers that upload live video from their vehicles. The only time when you’ll see something is when there is severe weather. The next time you hear about tornadoes breaking out down south visit the website and see live videos. While this isn’t local weather what you see can help you prepare for similar weather in our area.
Last but not least is North Wildwood’s weather station which is located at the 5th Street boat ramp. To visit it go here http://188.8.131.52/datawise/DashBoards/wx.php . One feature you won’t get elsewhere is the tide gauge showing the current tide information. This is a one-stop spot for boaters who wants to know which tide it is and what the wind speed and direction is.
Remember no matter how you keep up on the weather it should become a regular habit to check on the weather so that you don’t have to wait until an alert is issued and then rush to be ready. The more lead time you have for a severe weather event the better the chances are to survive without loss of life or property.