Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Weather Map

A friend and I like to keep an eye on the live Doppler weather map at (click on “US Radar”). It’s pretty much the same as what you see on The Weather Channel, as well as on your local nightly news. This one does not show clouds; just precipitation, colored for rain or snow, shaded for light to heavy.

Most of us, when we were younger, probably looked at the clouds and imagined what their shapes suggested. Horses, cats, a ’53 Plymouth, whatever. It can be hard doing this when you are stuck inside your workplace. But with this site, you can look at the precipitation map and use your imagination to figure out what it resembles. It’s a good mental break from the rigid demands of work.

Yesterday, it seemed to be a large dinosaur: tail in Nebraska, feet down around Louisiana, head around the Southern Tier of New York state, looking for all the world as if it were about to devour New Jersey. One time recently, it looked like a dolphin jumping out of the water; another time, I thought it might be a racehorse with something (a dog?) on it. And, of course, it changes every few hours as weather patterns join together, break up, re-form and take on new visages.

One time last year, my friend called from work, all excited. “Look at Intellicast!” she said. “It looks like a ghost riding an ostrich!”

May we never get to the point where we can’t see ghosts riding ostriches, or dinosaurs ready to eat New Jersey, when we look at the weather map. It makes life so much more fun … even if people say they sometimes wonder about us.


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