Regular visitors to The Baltimore Sun’s online Weather Page have noticed some striking changes this week.
My same sorry mug is still there, I'm afraid, but you’ll also find a colorful new 7-day forecast section. You can glide your cursor over any day of the week and find more details in a pop-up box.
You can also enter any Zip Code to zoom the radar to your location. That also activates a forecast for that spot. The "Clickcast" option produces forecasts for any place in the world. You can also select for national or high-resolution local radar, infrared satellite views, watches and warnings. Or, you can call up lightning strikes or ship and buoy data.
You can also set the radar screen to show severe storm and hurricane data. I suspect users will be spending lots of time exploring all this. It's kind of addictive, at least for weather geeks like me.
For obsessive/compulsive planners, there is a new feature below the radar screen that provides forecasts for each hour, beginning with the next one and moving forward for each of the next 24.
Then there's the Weather Almanac, with normal and record temperature data for the date, and sunrise and sunset times. I'm told we will soon restore the detailed weather history from BWI that was available on the old page. That tool provided weather data for any date back to 1950, when the
official weather station for Baltimore was moved to then-Friendship, now BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.
The new page also provides detailed air quality information, including current grass, mold, tree and weed pollen counts. There is an ultraviolet exposure rating (on a 1 to 10 scale, higher being more dangerous), and even a current flu report (only sporadic in Maryland at the moment).
The Maryland Weather Center is still there, providing a link to detailed information from The Sun's own weather station at Calvert and Centre streets. It's a handy place to check out downtown conditions. Lots of features on that, too.
The Weather Blog is still there, of course. And now we have links to more national weather news, and videos from The Sun, from readers and dozens of other sources. The WJZ video forecast is also still available on the page.
We're also currently running a "Bay and Beach" feature with loads of beach news and information.
So go check it out. Explore, play with the new features and tools. You could even buy an ad! And feel free to leave a comment here and tell us what you like, what you don't like and what else you'd like to see on the page. Cheers. - Frank
(SUN PHOTOS: Top, Kim Hairston, 2010; Middle: Hillary Smith, 1996; Bottom: AP/Ted Mathias, 1994)