In accordance with prophecy, it’s -20 degrees outside and I’m at home. I have had one opportunity for a five-day work week in 2015, and during that week I was sick for two days. Tomorrow morning it is expected to be colder, and while there are going to be less issues with precipitation (we’re also getting lots of blowing lake-effect snow, which is nasty) I think colder than twenty below means I’m likely at day one of a four-day weekend right now. Generally, twenty below is regarded as the magic number. I think it’ll be a few days before I’m back at work.
Allow me to discuss a website and a mobile app for a moment. I don’t know what you use for your weather forecasts, but you should be going to Weather Underground.
(I note that, despite what I just said, the temp for tomorrow morning– shown by the vertical line– is at -17 and not -20. Nonetheless.)
The critical times for closing school are 6:00 in the morning and 3:00 in the afternoon. For those of us who care about such things, knowing what the high and low are going to be during the day is actually not terribly relevant, especially since meteorologists don’t know what the words “high” and “low” actually mean. Elsewhere on this page the low temp for today is listed as -6, a temperature that appears nowhere on the actual forecast for today on the same damn page, but instead happens tomorrow morning.
Note: the “high temperature” for a given day is the warmest it is at any point during that day. Similarly, the “low temperature” for a given day is the coldest it is at any point during that day. If meteorologists are using any other definitions for “high” and “low,” they are being stupid and should stop. Come up with your own words. “High” and “low” have seven goddamn letters between the two of them and we know what they mean. Stop being dumb. I don’t care what good reasons you think you have for defining those words wrong; you’re being dumb and you should stop. Call your dumb things something else. “High” and “low” belong to people who speak English.
Anyway. That’s actually a separate rant. Back to what I was saying: The important times are 6 AM and 3 PM, because those are bus times, with 6 AM being considerably more important than 3 PM because kids are walking to school and/or standing outside waiting for their buses. Twenty below goddamn zero is too bloody cold for a little kid to stand outside and wait for the bus even before you get to the part where a lot of them don’t have anything between them and the cold other than a thin hoodie. Add crappy precipitation that slows the buses down (and sometimes knocks them off the road or keeps them from starting in the first place) and it becomes massively irresponsible on the part of the adults.
Which is why I love the hell out of this graph. It’s got all the usual sources of error built into it that any weather forecasting model does, of course, but it gives me everything I could possibly need to figure out what a day’s going to be like at a glance. I have never seen any weather site other than Weather Underground that presents data this cleanly or this usefully– and, looking at it, I’m a little concerned about Tuesday and Friday next week, too.
(Note, by the way, the high and low for next Tuesday. A low of 13 degrees when it gets down to -1 during that day? No. That’s not what that word means. The low is -1.)
Anyway. Not only is the site awesome, but they have an app now too, and that includes not only the ability to see that graph but lots of fun radar stuff too. I strongly recommend you check them out.
And now to figure out what I’m doing with myself today.