Monday, February 3, 2014

Evanston: cabin fever; weather sites and apps

        Cabin fever has become pandemic.  Cases are reported as far away as England.  Here in the frozen flatlands, the ailment is nearly universal, particularly among sailors.  Jay treated his symptoms productively, producing the signal flags above last weekend on a borrowed Sailrite sewing machine.  His next project will be a staysail.
        Arranging the flags against the snow on a windy morning, Jay got the shot just before half of them blew askew.  The photo is the image he wanted.  Capturing the vision you see in your mind is rare.  I like it, and thank Jay for permission to share the photo with you.
        I don’t read signal flags, but I would not be surprised if these are part of an affirmation:
        “You can never hold back spring.”


        Admiral Halsey who lost ships in a typhoon whose position he could not determine with all the resources of a wartime navy in 1944, would have given anything to have a fraction of the information available to everyone on the Internet today. 
        There are myriad weather sites and apps.  Here are the ones I view on a daily basis when ashore.
        Earth wind map.  Since this appeared a few weeks ago, I’ve observed that there is almost always a serious low in the Gulf of Alaska and another just west of the United Kingdom.  Also that the Southern Ocean has been relatively tranquil so far this year.
        As you may know, but I did not until a reader, David, told me, clicking on any point on the map brings up a box with Latitude, Longitude, wind direction and speed in kilometers per hour.
        U.S. Wind map.  This has been around longer than the Earth wind map and is only in black and white.  I view the Earth map in the morning; the U.S. map in the afternoon.
        iPad apps:
        Living Earth displays a globe which can be configured to show clouds, wind, temperature, humidity in near real time.  I have mine set to clouds.  
        There is a useful icon that pinpoints and details tropical storms.  At the moment there are none in the world.
        WeatherMap+ usually opens focused on Sweden, its country of origin, but can easily be expanded to the entire world or another small region.  It has overlays for temperature, precipitation, wind, barometric pressure, and all of the above, which on a world view is rather cluttered.
        BuoyData is really ugly, but really useful if you are interested in waters covered by NOAA buoys.  About the only option is to set the radius for “nearby buoys”.  I have mine at 200 miles, and by clicking on that icon I immediately see wind speed and direction of all NOAA buoys within that distance, starting with the closest, which for our condo is 9.28 miles out in Lake Michigan.
        You can set favorites and also search by map or region.
        Tide data is also available.
        WindfinderPro.  Set your favorites and at a glance you know the weather, temperature and wind for all of them.  You can also check forecasts and search by map, proximity, country, name.

        Some of the apps are free.  Some cost a negligible amount that I am glad to pay.