Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weather on the Web

Revised for the 2013-14 ski season

October 29, 2011 Snowstorm
It goes without saying weather plays a big role in skiing. When you are going to shell out big bucks for lift tickets, you want to know what the weather is like the day your are skiing. It also gives you a chance to get super-excited when a snowstorm is bearing down on ski country... because a powder day can lead to the best ski day ever.

There are a million places on the web to get info about weather. Here are the best places the family skiing in Maine have found to get our weather information from.

Weather Web Sites

NOAA
The national weather service has a great on-line weather presence. They are not trying to sell you something - they are just giving you the weather. Their radars, interactive maps and weather forecast discussions gives great information about what is going on weather wise. Use the detailed point forecast map to get weather for a specific ski mountain at elevation. The forecast at 3000 feet can be much different than in the valleys! Here is a link to the Saddleback forecast at 3500 feet elevation. Also the mountain summit forecasts can yield good information - particularly about winds. (See my post about lift wind-holds)

Intellicast Radar
I like Intellicasts radar service quite a bit. It is pretty good at showing rain / snow lines. The map loads pretty quick and is visually easy to understand.

Snowforecast.com
Once ski-season gets rolling this site gives specific forecasts for resorts and they have a nice discussion about any upcoming events. Pretty clean and straight forward weather reports and forecasts.

Weather Underground
This is a pretty cool site with lots of weather info. The best part is what they call a 'WunderMap' where folks with backyard weather stations, measuring temp, wind speed etc., send their data to the site and it displays on a map. This is great for checking real-time weather data close to your favorite ski hill.

Twitter #MEwx
Using the search hashtag #MEwx you can find a lot of discussion on upcoming storms and the Maine impact. You will see tweets from official meteorologists, meteorologists in training, at-home weather junkies and regular folks reporting rain and snow totals. It is sometimes useful to see what the conversation is about an upcoming storm but often there are lots of debates and twitter flame wars about whose forecast is correct.

AccuWeather
If you want an over the top - worst case scenario weather forecast, visit this site. Their discussions border on the absurd as each storm is ARMAGEDDON. However, they do draw pretty snowfall maps and their weather widget, which I use on the right column of this blog, is the best one I found.

To be fair, they have a lot of very talented meteorologists at AccuWeather, it is just that their marketing department goes overboard with the hype machine IMHO.

Famous Internet Skiers
These guys forecast a snow storm, then they go ski it. Awesome.

Meteorologists 

Matt Noyes
Matt is the meteorologist for the cable network NECN. He is the one guy on TV I really pay attention to. He gets really excited with big weather events but doesn't go into DOOMSDAY mode unless the forecast really merits it. His forecast track record is usually excellent and he covers all of New England with his forecasts. His website and live stream goes into super technical detail for all the weather nerds out there. You can also follow him on twitter.

Charlie Lopresti - Meteorologist for WGME out of Portland. He has a nice 'weather extra' that he does on social media that goes in-depth into forecasting significant weather events. You can follow Charlie on Twitter.

Tim Kelley - Meteorologist for NECN. His twitter handle is @surfskiwxman. With a handle like that he has to be good. He does a lot of ski specific forecasting and is associated with the dudes at SkiTheEast.

Keith Carson
He is the former news meteorologist for WCSH out of Portland and is now at the Weather Channel. His focus is more nationally now but he does throw occasional Maine forecasts out on social media for New England. He has a nice mix of forecasting, model analysis and humor. You can also follow him on twitter and on Facebook.

When planning a ski trip I use these sites to see who has or is going to get the snow! Feel free to comment to share your favorite weather sites.

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