I could talk all day about weather. Weather is one of my favorite subjects and I learned about it growing up and later over the Internet. Yea, I bought a few books about it too. It's one of those things that, as you grow older and get into a career, you wish you had done it instead of your current career. I wish I had become a meteorologist but I've done the next best thing. I have my own home weather station that I forecast my local weather with.
What's really fun is when I can look at my weather equipment and get the same results as the guys on TV and they have the National Weather Service (NWS) to get their information from. My neighbors all come to me when they have questions about the weather and what to expect the next day or so. If they're going out of town, they call me to find out what I think about the weather in a city 400 miles away. I usually just tell them to look at the weather map for that information because I can only predict what the weather is going to do here in my town.
You know what? You could do the same thing. It's a lot of fun and it's comforting knowing that the weather is going to change without having to run to the TV or wait until the news comes on to get my weathercast information. In order to start forecasting and learning about your own weather, all you've got to have are some simple weather instruments like an indoor outdoor thermometer, a barometer, a rain gauge, a windvane and an anemometer. There are a few other tools that you'll pick up and learn about as you get more into it but for now that's about all you need. Oh, yea, and access to either NOAA or NWS weather maps on your computer.
The thermometer gives you the surrounding temperature. We've all grown up with some type of weather thermometer all our lives. The barometer provides a measurement of the atmospheric pressure which tells you when the weather's changing or likely to change very soon. The rain gauge just catches the rain, when it falls, and tells you how much fell over your area. The windvane and anemometer are two instruments that tell you which direction the wind's coming from and how fast it's blowing. There are a few other instruments that you can pick up if you want, like a hygrometer or a psychrometer. Both of them measure the relative humidity, something you'll want to know later. You can get all these components one at a time or you can do like I did and simply buy a home weather station that has all this stuff already in it and it comes in one box. You unpack it, take the different sensors and instruments outside and install them, put in some batteries because it's wireless and go inside and set up the software on your computer. It took me about an hour to do the entire thing. Now, I'm the neighborhood meteorologist.
There are thousands of amateur meteorologists all over the world and all exchange information and keep weather records for their communities. Though most are not formally educated in meteorology, the point is, they love it and have a lot of interest in watching the weather.
If you happen to be looking for some good wireless home weather stations at a good price let me make a few recommendations here. Keep in mind that the prices go from low to high and the big difference is the grade of technological advances used in the instruments. Most lower priced stations will work very well, especially if you're just beginning to become a weather bug.
For the higher priced models look at the Davis Instruments 6152 Wireless Vantage Pro2 with Standard Radiation Shield. A great piece of technology and can be had for around $750. Another much respected and highly recommended high end weather station is the Davis Instruments 6153 Vantage Pro2 with 24-Hour Fan Aspirated Radiation Shield.
For the really good weather stations that are not priced quite so high, consider the P3 INTERNATIONAL METRIC Wireless Professional Weather Station or the La Crosse WA-1340 Weather Direct TALKING Wireless Weather Station. Oregon Scientific also makes some great home weather stations as does Honeywell.
Whatever your choice, you will not believe how much fun it can be to watch the weather and predict the next big storm before the guys on TV.