Thursday, February 25, 2010

Looking Ahead

I'm on or around the internet for much of the day at work, but at the house we don't have a TV (due to lack of reception) and in my vehicle I no longer have AM radio. What that has meant this winter is that there have been quite a few times when the snow just up and surprised me. Generally I hear about the big storms because everyone is talking about them every where they go, but the little ones (3-5 inches) just seem to come out of nowhere. Likewise when it hits -6 in the middle of the week (like it has this week) it often hits me like a ton of bricks.

So, lately I've been doing something I rarely do and I've been looking at long range forecasts hoping to catch a little break and at least have some positive thoughts about the weather. When I say long range I'm talking 10 to 15 days ... which I think means they are highly inaccurate, but if they tell me what I want to hear I'm going to check it out at this point in the winter.

Example #1 :: The 10-day forecast from As you can see the beginning of March is showing us temperatures slightly above freezing, but maybe not quite enough to do a lot of damage to our deep snow. The one nice thing about this forecast is the sun ... sun is nice, although it can be a bit deceiving on below zero days like today.

Example #2 :: Now on the left you will see the beginning of March forecast from They actually do a 15-day forecast and the days after this look even better, but for comparisons sake I decided to just look at the same days from each site. For obvious reasons I'm a big fan of this forecast (as long as it comes true). I mean who can argue with highs in the forties! That would mean some melting snow (and mud), less bulky clothing during chores, and less wood for the fire. But, I'll admit that I'm just a little bit skeptical.

What does all this mean? I think it means that it's been a long winter! Although, I will admit that there have been times when it was nice not knowing what was coming and just being surprised the ebbs and flows of the weather. I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for a pioneer family in Iowa in the 1850's when the were really starting to settle our area.


Rich said...

Why not have a TV in the house just for checking the weather?

If the skies start to darken unexpectedly in the summer, turning on the TV and checking for a tornado warning or tornado watch might be the first thing you want to do.

We even had wildfire reporting on our local stations during the last couple of droughts. After the sun sets, you would be surprised how valuable knowing which way and how fast a wildfire is moving can be.

A TV can be used as a tool as easily as it can be misused as a mindless diversion.

eddie said...

Rich, TV's have taken all the innovativeness out kids and entranced them with useless garbage. I've also tossed the tv, but do have internet. Kids can play with a hammer and nails or go build a snow fort. Sometimes you gotta take charge of your life instead of being a pawn of the media. It also is a great way to keep your home spiritually focused.

Rich said...

eddie, I don't see how anybody would become 'a pawn of the media' if they simply turned on a TV to check the weather once in a while.

All I know about the subject is that my grandmother survived a tornado because she saw the tornado warning on TV and took shelter minutes before the tornado hit. After the tornado hit, her house was completely destroyed, but she was still alive. I would assume that she was probably thankful for the timely warning and wasn't that concerned about the 'useless garbage' on TV.

All tools can be misused, but that doesn't mean that you should never use tools that can be misused. I still think that a TV can and should be used as a tool.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

We aren't against TV, and actually wish we had one for news and weather, as well as giving our kids the opportunity to learn self control with one. The problem is that we don't get reception in our steel building. Ethan and I have talked about putting an antenna on the roof, but I just can't seem to want to put a big TV antenna on a roof of a building that we spent so much effort making look like a barn. Just doesn't seem right. :)

We're brainstorming though since I have had MANY tornado nightmares during tornado season. Thankfully our NOAA weather radio picks up signals in here . . .

Rich said...

Since digital TV has replaced analog TV, I believe that it is possible to find an outdoor digital antenna that is much smaller than the traditional analog roof antenna.

Some of the outdoor digital antennas look like a small flat box that you can mount on the side of a building or a post. Due to the erratic nature of digital signals during storms, it might be a good idea to pair a weather radio with a TV.

After seeing the aftermath of the tornado that destroyed my grandmother's house, I would say that if you remain calm and take shelter, you and your family will be fine if a tornado threatens.

Ethan Book said...

Rich ... I have tried those smaller antennas, but in my experience they just haven't been enough to pull in reception. All of the channels around here have their towers quite a ways away and so far we've had trouble pulling them in without a huge antenna. That being said, we do have the weather radio and it goes off for us and is a nice thing to have.

Eventually we'll probably find a way to do it that works for us, but just not yet ... hmm, maybe we can make this whole metal building an antenna :)

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