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Old 07-24-12, 09:05 AM   #1
Sculptor7
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Weather Forecasting Has a Long Way to Go...

Did not go for my morning ride because thunderstorms were forecast within the hour. Bright Sun. Then they were forecast for an hour later. Bright Sun. Then they were forecast for an hour later. Bright Sun, etc.etc.

Since I only take a two hour ride I would have been well within the limits. Now I have lost that chance. Damn!

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Old 07-24-12, 09:21 AM   #2
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My forecast is go into the garden- feel how breezy it is and look at the sky. Hasn't let me down yet but in the drought we have had for the last 3 months- Haven't taken too many rides due to the drought coming over the top of my boots.
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Old 07-24-12, 09:29 AM   #3
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You ever heard of a weather radar ?.

Lot's of sites have some sort of radar loop you can watch to get an idea if any rain headed your way.

I use WeatherBug on my Android phone. Of course yesterday I'm looking at the sky as I bike north and see nothing but dark gray rain clouds. Definitely rain ahead. WeatherBug shows zip. Local stuff is not that easy to spot I guess.
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Old 07-24-12, 09:30 AM   #4
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Since I start my rides around 5:30 and at my latitude, checking the sky doesn't work too well in the dark,
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Old 07-24-12, 09:33 AM   #5
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We rely heavily on local radar but at this time of year thunderstorms pop up quickly, so even with totally clear skies you can end up with thunderstorms an hour later. In the summer here, there's always at least a 60% chance of afternoon thunderstorms but they are localized enough that it might be raining hard 3 or 4 miles away while it's bright and sunny on our riding routes.
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Old 07-24-12, 09:34 AM   #6
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I had a similar experience yesterday afternoon. The exception was that I went out for a shorter hour ride and did loops near my home. This way is there was serious lightening I wouldn't be out in it very long. Even the shorter ride is better than on ride.
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Old 07-24-12, 09:40 AM   #7
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Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the poster. Living on the Gulf gives us the opportunity to have pop up storm in the summer so quick it will make your head swim. With the lag in the Doppler radar we see and what is happening, usually around 15-30 minutes here, you can see clear on the scope and get hit before they even show the rainfall. Just part of life for us here.

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Old 07-24-12, 09:58 AM   #8
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Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the poster. Living on the Gulf gives us the opportunity to have pop up storm in the summer so quick it will make your head swim. With the lag in the Doppler radar we see and what is happening, usually around 15-30 minutes here, you can see clear on the scope and get hit before they even show the rainfall. Just part of life for us here.

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+1 Oh, good, it stopped storming. Scramble to put on cycling clothing and pump tires. Walk out front door with bike. Downpour.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:15 AM   #9
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If there is any threat at all to my morning ride, then 1 -2 hrs prior to my ride-time I'm glued to: (1) 24 hr weather channel on cable TV, which shows doppler radar for my region (Mid-Atlantic) and immediately westward; (2) local forecasts from 2 or 3 local TV channels; and, (3) a look westward out of my upstairs windows.

The dopplar radar seems to be the most useful as I can see current weather over and approaching my area, and whether I can see a break in weather masses, allowing me to ride. Now, in the Summer, if it's just rain (no lightening/thunder) I usually ride anyway.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:39 AM   #10
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Radar is great, as long as it's up to date. Live radar is the best. I find the weather apps radar data are often 20-30 minutes stale. A lot can change in 20-30 minutes. For example, I headed out for a ride last week based on 20-minute old radar returns. Within 10 minutes of leaving home, a thunderstorm was chasing me down.

I should have paid attention to the gusting winds that suddenly came up. Since the storm was essentially directly above my house, I headed for shelter away from the storm (and lightning!) It was quite a workout riding uphill, fighting 15-20 mph wind gusts!

Rain I don't mind. Pop-up thunderstorms are things to be feared and respected.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:45 AM   #11
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What is laughable is several years ago the weather guessers said when they could have a computer that ran at 1 teraflops, they could very accurately predict the weather out to 5 days. There are now computers that run at 1 petaflop. That is 1000 trillion flops per second. Yet the weather reports really are not any better than they were 30 years ago.

Personally as someone suggested your best bet is go to a good internet weather site and watch the sequential radar. You then will know just as much as the local weather guesser!!!
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Old 07-24-12, 12:17 PM   #12
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What is laughable is several years ago the weather guessers said when they could have a computer that ran at 1 teraflops, they could very accurately predict the weather out to 5 days. There are now computers that run at 1 petaflop. That is 1000 trillion flops per second. Yet the weather reports really are not any better than they were 30 years ago.

Personally as someone suggested your best bet is go to a good internet weather site and watch the sequential radar. You then will know just as much as the local weather guesser!!!
But, they can forecast a general increase in average temperature of 0.5 degrees over the next fifty years, right?
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Old 07-24-12, 01:08 PM   #13
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I would like to "reply with quote" but there are so many that suggest the doppler radar that I will just say this:
Generally I do check that out and it is usually pretty accurate. Today, however, each time I checked: 9 am, 10 am and 11 am it showed the storms coming in at stated times which they never did in fact. Then, around 2 pm we got hit with a nasty storm with hail and wind. Knocked the hell out of my beautiful Oriental Lilies and blew away my neighbor's tent shelter. Glad I was not on the road.

BTW I have been a small boat sailor for many years and always check the sky. A half hour before this latest storm I went into the supermarket and the sky was so benign one would think the whole day was going to be beautiful. When I came out a half hour later the sky to the West was a wall of dark cloud.

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Old 07-24-12, 02:10 PM   #14
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A Meterology prof. at the University of Washington recently wrote a blog entry on why thunderstorms are so hard to predict:

http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2012/0...ast-these.html

His blog tends to be focused on Northwest weather, but the principles are the same elsewhere.

For radar, just go to the NOAA site, they own the radars and feed the data to all the other sites that everyone looks at.

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/radar_tab.php
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Old 07-24-12, 02:21 PM   #15
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I believe the saying about NewEngland weather goes something like this: "Don't like the weather, just wait a minute."
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Old 07-24-12, 04:25 PM   #16
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Not that I get as much rain as Stapfam but my method is simple. If I want to go for a ride and they are predicting rain I simply go out front and see if it is raining. I will look at the weather radar on my Iphone and head in the direction the rain is supposed to be coming from. If I get more than a drop or two on my face then I turn and make a run for home, away from the wind. Sort of like sailing, start out upwind and so you can easily turn for home downwind or on a reach.
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Old 07-24-12, 05:19 PM   #17
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But, they can forecast a general increase in average temperature of 0.5 degrees over the next fifty years, right?
Yup, the same way a chemist can tell you about the average behavior of a mole of gas but can't even make a reasonable guess about the behavior of any one gas molecule in the sample.
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Old 07-25-12, 05:40 AM   #18
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If they're doing it right the forecasters are never wrong. The forecast is actually a probability or percentage, and as far as I am concerned they overplay the storm probabilities.
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Old 07-25-12, 05:56 AM   #19
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Yup, the same way a chemist can tell you about the average behavior of a mole of gas but can't even make a reasonable guess about the behavior of any one gas molecule in the sample.
Here comes that pesky Heisenberg principle again! Be still atom, dadgum electrons just look like a foggy day, grrrrr.

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Old 07-25-12, 06:10 AM   #20
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Different forecsting computer models yield different results .
Weather Channel, NWS, and Weather Underground
all seem to have different ideas on how any given day
is going to play out.
Snow showers and thunderstorms
are very hard to predict due to the fluid nature
of the conditions that produce them.
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Old 07-25-12, 06:15 AM   #21
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[QUOTE=qcpmsame;14524914]Here comes that pesky Heisenberg principle again! Be still atom, dadgum electrons just look like a foggy day, grrrrr.

Bill[/QUOTE

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Old 07-25-12, 06:44 AM   #22
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Here comes that pesky Heisenberg principle again! Be still atom, dadgum electrons just look like a foggy day, grrrrr.

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They need a Heisenberg compensator.
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Old 07-25-12, 09:34 AM   #23
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Old 07-25-12, 01:10 PM   #24
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+1 Oh, good, it stopped storming. Scramble to put on cycling clothing and pump tires. Walk out front door with bike. Downpour.
And let's not forget our famous rain with the sun shinning, blue skies and not a dark cloud in the sky.
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Old 07-25-12, 01:24 PM   #25
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+1 Oh, good, it stopped storming. Scramble to put on cycling clothing and pump tires. Walk out front door with bike. Downpour.
One word: "mudguards"
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