In this day and age, weather information is readily available from the local news broadcast to apps on your smartphone. The abundance of weather information can be overwhelming leaving you wondering which source is the best. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of tools as simple or technical as you can imagine. Choosing what’s best for you will depend on your lifestyle but understanding the differences between various weather outlets will help you make a safe and educated decision before venturing out.
Weather information can be broken down into three fundamental components: federal, private sector, and broadcasting. The federal component consists of different governmental agencies that fall under the umbrella of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This includes your local National Weather Service (NWS) on Woodley Island. The NWS is the official voice for issuing warnings for life-threatening weather situations to the general public. The private sector is comprised of companies that provide services for profit. Customers will pay for a specialized forecast tailored to their unique individual needs. While the NWS is focused primarily on public safety, the private sector is focused on helping customers make cost effective decisions with safety in mind. Broadcast meteorology technically falls within the private sector but entails the distribution of weather information through the media. Broadcast meteorologists perhaps have the most profound impact and arguably the most influential role when it comes to weather safety as they provide moment by moment updates during dangerous weather. Despite the differences between these major players, they are all making efforts to provide accessible weather forecasts to the general public.
The best weather source for you will depend on what you’re doing and your personal preference. For instance, I will use a little bit of everything to make my weather based decisions. For day to day weather I check an app on my phone but for planning ahead I use the NWS forecast. When I go kayak fishing or surfing I will use the NWS surf forecast as well as several other private sources. I encourage you to use multiple sources for the big and little decisions you make based off of the weather. Ask around and see what your friends and family like to use but remember the Eureka weather office is here to serve northwest California so never hesitate to call when you have a weather question.
Weather tools for your convenience:
Eureka Weather Forecast Office Marine Page: www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/marine/
National Data Buoy Center: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/
National Hurricane Center for the East Pacific: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/?epac
NOAA Tides and Currents: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/map/
Ocean Prediction Center: http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/index.php
California Nevada River Forecast Center: www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/
Climate Prediction Center: www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/
Kathleen M. Lewis
NWS Eureka, CA
Ph: (707) 443-6484