by Brandy D. Anderson
One thing that affects us all, regardless of where we live, is the weather. With so many people now receiving the bulk of their weather news and warnings through social media rather than tv or radio, it’s important for everyone to ensure that they follow a few key weather accounts. The following Facebook pages are three of the most reliable pages if you’re looking for forecasts across North America. Two of these accounts focus on the United States and one spotlights Canada. It’s a good idea to follow all three if you’re living in the US or Canada since the weather of both countries are closely affected by one another.
About: “The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community. ”
The National Weather Service (NWS) has been the go-to organization for many Americans since 1970 (and truly, for much longer, since 1890 when it was called the United States Weather Bureau, and was available in print and radio). The NWS covers the entire United States and it has one-hundred-twenty-two local weather offices around the country. No matter where you are in the nation, you can check in with them and plan your day, whether you’re spending time in your hometown or making travel plans.
This is certainly the site you need for planning events or trips. Wondering what to expect for the upcoming week, month, or year? Well, here you go. This Facebook page is updated all the time, and it’s filled with interesting and useful charts, videos, and blogs. Today’s post begins with the caption: “October was a very wet month across Texas and the Southern Plains. Much of the Lone Star State was over 8 inches above normal for the month”, and the caption is followed by two neat charts illustrating the rain across the south. For Halloween, they posted a cool map of the country showing weather conditions across the domestic US: “Going trick-or-treating this #Halloween? Be sure to check the forecast at http://weather.gov, as well as http://wpc.ncep.noaa.gov, if you want to avoid soggy ghouls and goblins”.
If you’re looking for where to book your next ski vacation, you’ll enjoy their post about the Rockies: “Accumulating #snow is likely over much of the Rockies for the beginning of the week. Here are the snow probabilities of at least 2” and 8” of snow. Explore our interactive probabilities here: https//www.wpc.noaa.gov/pwpf/wwd?accum?probs.php”. Another map shows projected rainfall and snow with a nor’easter, with conditions anticipated on the west coast and the east coast. This is definitely a page you need to “like” if you enjoy keeping abreast of national weather.
About: “Welcome to the official fan page of The Weather Network, Canada’s #1 source for weather news and information. JOIN NOW to upload your photos and videos with us: ow.ly/eUqi30bwT4z and #ShareYourWeather! The Weather Network and our French language counterpart MétéoMédia are devoted to Canada’s favourite topic of conversation – the weather. We provide forecasts, news and information on all platforms, delivering your weather when it really matters.”
If you’re in the Great White North, also known as Canada, this is one account you don’t want to miss. The Weather Network (TWN) has been serving Canada since 1988. It also has sister networks in the UK, Spain, Germany, Latin America, and the United States. TWN has a tv channel, a mobile app (which is actually ranked number one for weather apps in all of Canada), and a slew of other social media accounts apart from the Facebook page.
One of the really neat things about TWN is the diversity in their posts. They feature a lot of a science news along with their extensive weather coverage. One science story they recently shared begins with
“Strange but true”: “’Building the future’ with bricks made from human urine. South African researchers say they have made bricks using human urine in a natural process involving colonies of bacteria, which could one day help reduce global warming emissions by finding a productive use for the ultimate waste product.”
Another story tells citizens what they can do to help stop flooding: “Vancouverites ‘adopting’ storm drains this rainy season: Vancouver’s Adopt a Catch Basin is a city-sponsored community program that encourages residents to keep a storm drain unclogged.” Are you wondering about what winter will look like in Canada this year? Then you check out this posting: “An early taste of mid-winter-like temperatures is expected to take hold across the Prairies as we head into next week”. “Welcome to Stormvember” is the caption for a very snowy photo from a viewer in Barrhead, Alberta. If you’re a fan of the magical Aurora Borealias, then this post will excite you: “This immense ‘coronal hole’ – a dark spot on the sun – could light up the night sky over Canada: Speedy solar wind may spark auroras over Canada this weekend”. Reader participation is high, so you can also see a lot of personal weather photos posted from around the country.
About: “NOAA’s National Weather Service is building a Weather-Ready Nation by providing better information for better decisions to save lives and livelihoods. The National Weather Service (NWS) is using Facebook as a supplemental channel for improving weather awareness. Postings to this page highlight activities of interest and importance to both the weather community and the public, and include NWS meetings, constituent and partner engagement activities, and public education efforts.”
While the previously covered NWS page posts about future forecasts and predictions, this is another account you should follow for American weather because it focuses on providing current conditions across the country. You’ll find detailed weather analyses and reports here. There are neat videos posted, and they show amazing footage of weather phenomena from around the globe. Their introductory video features impressive weather shots with the caption: “When weather is at its worst, there is one group of men and women working around the clock to keep you safe, so you know what’s coming and how to prepare, no matter what nature brings. We are the National Weather Service.”
It’s nice to receive a general update for conditions around the country without having to flip to various city or regional forecasts. For instance, a recent statement reads: “A strong weather system in the Northeast will produce heavy to excessive rain and strong, gusty winds; and potential for isolated severe thunderstorms today. As this system lifts to the northeast, rainfall will decrease this afternoon and evening. Strong winds and dry conditions is keeping Fire Weather threats elevated to critical this weekend. An active storm track from the Pacific Northwest into the Central U.S. is bringing snow to the mountains and gusty winds for portions of the Plains. Heavy rain returns tonight in the Pacific Northwest as the next system moves into the area. This system will also bring heavy snow to the North/Central Rockies on Sunday.”
There are posts that teach readers how to interpret basic weather jargon terms: “A Flood Watch means BE PREPARED. When a Flood Watch is in effect, it means flooding is possible in your area. During a Flood Watch, check the forecast regularly, and be prepared to move to higher ground. weather.gov/safety/flood-watch-warning #FloodSafety #FallSafety.” They give good reminders during Daylight savings time seasons: change your clocks, change your batteries, and always be prepared. And, like their sister site, they also proved a lot of maps and charts that will help you visualize the weather and prepare for different circumstances.