I’ve spent years not really considering where our weather forecasts have come from. Other than having a vague sense of awareness that Cray Supercomputers are involved, that the forecasts themselves covered too great an area to be of any use and we’re frequently inaccurate. If you want to know the weather look out the window was my mantra.
Recently though apps have started sending notifications for weather warnings, such as rain starting in 10 minutes, for your “local” area. It’s unclear what area the warning covers and what they consider to be local but here in the UK you can search by postcode which covers about 15 houses. I’d never really thought that the forecast was for such a small area but something I saw this week made me challenge that thought.
What’s up that pole?
Previously I had thought that local forecasts must come from the weather station at the local university. It is also possible, of course, that the forecast for here could come from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts based down the road. Point was I didn’t know.
Walking down our road this week I spotted something unusual on a lamppost. On closer inspection, it turned out to be an anemometer powered by the electricity already running to the light. There was also a box about the size of a shoebox which, I assume, contains other sensors to record temperature, pressure etc and send the results back to home, wherever that might be.
Since spotting this I have been on the lookout for others around the area but haven’t yet seen any. If this is feeding into the weather and notifications I am receiving on my phone I think we can say that would be pretty accurate. Now this really is hyperlocal weather forecasting!