Weather Radar

May has been wetter and colder than normal, which makes me think about riding in the rain. I’m willing and usually prepared to ride in the rain, but I don’t like to get wet. I dodge the rain whenever I can. I have a very flexible work schedule so I often avoid a wet trip to the office by waiting a few minutes.

In the middle of Bike To Work Month meteorologist Cliff Mass posted at his blog about using weather radar to sneak in a bike ride to work between the raindrops.

An interesting and critical fact about rain is that it is rarely uniform. There are heavy areas and light areas and breaks. By viewing radar animations you can spot the light areas, or make a good estimate when one will be at your location. So if you have some flexibility of when you bike, delaying or advancing your trip by a 10-15 minutes, you can nearly always avoid the real heavy stuff or secure a dry ride even on a supposedly rainy day. The more flexibility you have the better your chance of staying dry.

You can find radar coverage on the web at:
National Weather Service
Weather Underground
(These links are for Seattle, where I live. Each of the top pages has a search box where you can point the forecast site to your location.)
Smartphone apps can deliver weather forecasts and radar views when you are away from your keyboard. The Weather app delivered with the iPhone shows only a very brief summary forecast and no radar. Two better apps for the iPhone are:
WeatherBug is my current favorite. There’s a free, ad-supported version so you can try it out. The paid version removes the advertisements and the animated radar view shows how fast that squall is coming.
Anyone else have a favorite weather resource?
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