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by Ray Carlson

Q. How can I track storms on the Internet?

A. Several websites offer the latest weather forecast for a specific location. Enter the phrase “weather forecast” into a search program like Google, Bing, Yahoo, or the like. Click on one of the choices and enter your zip code or city and state. One of the interesting features on these sites is current radar information. Radar will show storm systems moving through the area. The radar maps use colors to reflect the intensity of the storm. Usually, light green reflects storms having the least intensity, with dark green stronger, and yellow even stronger. Sometimes, blue is used to show those producing snow. Check the scale shown next to the map for proper interpretation.

Most maps can be animated to see which direction the storm is moving. You can zoom in or spread out or look at regional compared to local maps to see what is coming. Sometimes the map allows tracking of storms including information about how fast they are moving. Some sites also include maps that show temperature or wind speed or the like. With each map check the scale to see what the different colors represent. Most sites also include satellite images which show the amount and strength of cloud cover. Having this information about storms can be interesting, but it is still useful to check the forecast since forecasters can add information on overall movement of systems, past trends and the like to refine their projections. Have fun.

Published: Courier 4/18/10 - Page 5C