Technicalites: Weather Gets Personal; August 2006; Scientific American Magazine; by Mark Alpert; 2 Page(s)
My mother loves watching the weather news on television. When I was a kid, she insisted on total silence during the five minutes near the end of the evening broadcast when the meteorologist stood in front of a map of New York City and pointed at the various temperature readings. Her face rapt, she gazed at the radar images of storm clouds sweeping through the tristate area. I asked her once why she loved the weather news so much, and she said with a shrug, "I want to know what to wear tomorrow." But this explanation never satisfied me. Her obsession seemed to go way beyond a simple desire to know whether to put on a coat or carry an umbrella the next morning.
Although I don't watch much television nowadays, I've inherited my mother's fascination with weather. When I read the New York Times, the first thing I turn to is the newspaper's weather report, specifically the graph that shows how the recorded and forecasted temperatures compare with the normal highs and lows for the week. So I was intrigued when I learned that Davis Instruments, a company based in Hayward, Calif., had introduced a personal weather station that could wirelessly send me continual updates on the conditions outside, even in the crowded canyons of Manhattan. Although similar devices have become quite common among weather hobbyists, the Vantage Pro2 is the first to combine powerful transmission capabilities with proprietary software than can make accurate forecasts for the microclimate around your home.