weather information sources

Since turning off the television about 28 months ago, I've found more accurate weather forecasting online.

I used to default to The Weather Channel as my "background noise" channel, the one I had on the TV when I was busy around the house and didn't want to get tied down by a plot line (or when nothing else that interested me was on any other channels). When I turned off the TV, the Weather Channel website became my default weather outlet.

(The Weather Channel, on cable/satellite TV, doesn't have good local weather for the Asheville area during their Weather on the 8's segments, so it really isn't the great resource that it can be in places like Rochester NY or Tampa FL. Going online tremendously improved my home forecasting ability.)

The Weather Channel website's radar is good, and I still use it a lot, but their pages are full of clickbait video links that eat up bandwidth (if you do click on them) and are never as "OMG" as the links would have you believe. Their hourly forecasts are passably accurate for Canton, but I live 10 miles south of town, in very different geographic conditions, separated from the forecast location by numerous mountains. Weather systems tend to travel west-to-east here and I'm less than a mile east of a 6000-ft-high (3000 ft prominence) north-south mountain ridge. Canton is situated on an east-west river valley, relatively open to the weather compared to my place.

Lately I have been partial to AccuWeather's Minute-By-Minute™ forecast. If you plug in your address, it will give you pretty accurate precipitation forecasts for the next couple of hours - accurate, believe it or not, down to the minute that the rain will start and stop. I've been checking this on our summer pop-up storms and it's pretty accurate for 15 or 30 minutes out. Cold Mountain, Shining Rock and the rest of the Great Balsam range make forecasts any further out sketchy, at best. They are able to magnify or destroy storms in minutes.

Rather than typing in my entire address at the AccuWeather link above, I just enter "Shotgun Cove, 28716" in the search box and I get information for my next-door neighbor's house, which is maybe 600 feet up the road.

Accuweather's radar isn't as helpful, however, for area overviews. Quite often it will not show all of the precipitation. For the big picture, I go back to the Weather Channel. Their radar seems to be more sensitive and while it occasionally tells me that it is raining when nothing is reaching the ground, at least it will generally show me precipitation when it really is raining lightly. Accuweather misses the lightest rain.

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