I think that it is natural for humans to want to analyze, measure and compare results to understand the mysterious-particularly when the mystery has a profound effect on daily life. The weather is a mystery that can be measured and understood, to some degree. We may not be able to change the weather, but we can understand and prepare for it.
I like simple and inexpensive and use this approach to understand the weather. Radio and television cover the weather extensively plus many of them offer good weather prediction apps. I would also recommend the “area rainfall” Facebook page which has many volunteers who report their rainfall amounts as they occur. Historical rainfall information is also available on the Pennington SWCD site.
If you would like your weather even more immediate and local, then you should get a weather station. A weather station can be as simple as an outdoor thermometer, a barometer and a rain gauge or you can go a bit deeper and get an all-in-one unit that you can view from your phone or internet.
I have approached weather stations in different ways and found they work well in combination. I have a weather station that once belonged to my grandparents and it’s the easiest one to monitor changes in barometric pressure with a simple, mechanical marker. Barometric pressure seems to be the leading indicator to changes in the weather.
My Lacrosse station is great for temperature and wind speed plus it monitors the National Weather Service and delivers a pictorial prediction of daily weather. I can also check it from anywhere which doesn’t really help so much but it gives me something to do when I have a little down time.
I don’t consistently check my rain gauge and I believe it broke last year. Automated rain gauges have never worked well for me either, so I prefer to get my daily rainfall totals from the Facebook area rainfall page. I have one neighbor who posts his totals from only about a mile away, so I just check his entries for a total.
I think that weather is our oldest connection, we all talk about it because it shapes our day. Maybe that is why when I listed my favorite weather stations, the old Grandpa Emil weather station was the one I mentioned first. It’s not only the connection to the weather that it provides, it also provides me a connection to my grandparents. It’s fun to think of how it sat on their shelf as it now sits on our own. It probably provided a topic for conversation over coffee between Hannah and Emil then, same as it does for Lisa and Grant now.