Don't let rain take you by surprise
So you're experiencing a late-afternoon Saturday thunderstorm and your power has gone out. Your radio doesn't work, so you can't tell if the weather will continue. Instead of feeling annoyed, you check your home weather station and sigh in relief because the rain will stop in the evening. Now you can plan your Sunday afternoon picnic!
Home weather stations are fast becoming popular in a world where global warming is causing more and more turbulent conditions. The stations can be quite highly developed and include very technologically advanced sensors that measure indoor and outdoor temperature, barometric pressure, indoor and outdoor humidity, wind speed and direction, rainfall, dew point, wind chill, and even outdoor brightness.
They mount nicely on a wall or sit on a table and can be quite attractive, resembling jazzed-up PDAs, so they will match the rest of your garden decor. The stations can even transmit data to the Internet.
Weather stations have a number of different features, such as storm alerts, alarms that signal changes in condition, and phases of the moon. Most of them come with an accurate time and date, so that you can set all the clocks in the house correctly. Models also have data tracking, which allows you to review weather history over periods of time and chart the progression of certain weather systems.
If you have a weather buff in the family, you can get them a wireless or cable-free weather station that uses solar power to operate. But when there's no sunshine, don't worry; there are battery packs and an AC adapter included to track weather through the dark hours. These weather stations often come with software and USB cables so that you can upload your data to your personal website and share your findings with the rest of the area.
Weather stations can cost from $60 to $700, so depending on your commitment to accurate weather, you can buy one that's relatively simple or fully-loaded. Your neighbors will appreciate it when you let them know that it might not be a good idea to leave Fido out all day when a hurricane is on its way. You'll appreciate it too; not only is it a great way to keep track of the weather, you'll always have something to talk about in those awkward silences - "So, how's the weather?"