Personalize Your Weather


By Molly Freeman

Additional Contributors: Kenneth Miller, Tanya Silverman, Samantha Spoto, Nakie Uzeiri, Ashley Rodriguez, Aubrey Sanders, Veronica Chavez, and Bill Tressler

With more and more modern technology–television, internet, radio, internet radio, smartphones, and apps–there are numerous ways of getting the weather report for the day before venturing outside. While some may check their phone as well as The Weather Channel, others may trust their eyes over a secondhand report.

Either way, we certainly don’t get our news from Karen Smith.

Molly’s take:

I’m an advocate for always, always, always checking the weather before taking a single step outside. As such, not only do I avidly check the weather app on my iPhone before getting dressed, I also use the weather service Poncho, which sends a personalized email to me every morning before I wake up and every evening before I leave work.

Poncho allows users to customize their weather to include the day’s pollen report, any problems with the commute (if they take public transit), and a hair forecast. The report also features a funny breakdown of the day’s weather that usually includes a pop culture reference. The service is exactly everything I need from a weather report and now I can’t imagine getting my forecast anywhere else.

Kenneth’s take:

Coming from a home of devout Time Warner Cable patrons, I’ve been exposed to the mystic beauty of NY1’s programming my entire life. But, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what draws me in each day. I’d like to think it’s simply because NY1 is the first channel to pop up whenever I turn on my television. But in reality, it’s probably because NY1 is the one news source that has a clear, overly reliable weather forecast every 10 minutes that is wholly centric to my area.

The network’s belief that commuters–regardless of their geographical placement in the tristate area–deserve to have weather updates. “On the Ones” is a testament to their incessant care and dedication to their audience. It also helps–and is of note–that the always-seducing Pat Kiernan introduces the foreseeable weather deterrents I’m bound to encounter during my travels.

A pleasant face alongside accurate weather reports are all I really need in life. NY1 happens to produce both.

Photo courtesy of Bon Adrien.

Tanya’s take:

I live on the sixth floor of an apartment building overlooking a busy avenue. So while the elevation makes it difficult to exit the building immediately, I do have the perfect vantage point to check out not only the atmospheric conditions, but also what type of clothing pedestrians are collectively wearing on a given day.

The visual surveying is a helpful way to gauge what to wear every morning. If I observe walkers clad in light jackets, for instance, I know to grab my own light jacket. On mornings that I notice an abundance of umbrellas bobbling beneath, I know not only to grab mine on the way out, but to refrain from putting on canvas sneakers.

During days that the temperature is in the 60s or 70s, pedestrians often wear a wide array of different garments, making it difficult to estimate what would be most comfortable for myself. Those mornings–when I see middle-aged men sporting athletic T-shirts passing by groups of teenage girls rocking the trendiest of bright bubble coats–I’ll turn away from the window and consult either on my laptop or the iOS weather app on my phone.

Samantha’s take:

You won’t find me sitting in front of my television or radio, waiting patiently for some meteorologist to report the weather to me.

At one time, yes, but not anymore. I have wasted too much time clinging to their predictions. I have organized outings with friends on days when there should have been clear skies and warm temperatures, only to be disappointed when rain clouds rolled in to wash out my plans. Instead, I find the forecast the only way that seems most accurate: each morning I take a step outside, look up at the sky, and see for myself.

Nakie’s take:

It all usually begins when my eyes are half open and swollen in the early morning. I have the habit of checking my phone as soon as I wake up, I like to think that doing so helps me prepare myself to begin the day (even though it definitely doesn’t). So even before checking my text messages and social media, for some reason I head straight to the iOS weather app on my phone.

Practical reasons aside, I also have various locations saved on my iOS weather app. Despite the fact that I am too lazy to delete the cities, I like that most of them are still on there. They’re usually saved onto the app after you’ve looked up the location. Some mornings, I’ll swipe through the other cities and see what their weather is like.

Photo courtesy of Alex.

Ashley’s take:

Each time I see a meteorologist on my television screen, confidently attempting to tell me what to expect tomorrow, I curse under my breath and promptly change the channel.

The disappointment of past weather forecasts has left a scathing scar making me weary of such predictions. Now I usually don’t check the weather at all, unless it’s been raining for more than a day and I’d like find out if it’ll continue. I rely mainly on word of mouth and taking a step outside for my forecasts.

When I do check the weather, I use the Accuweather app on my phone. Not checking it has left me quite literally out in the cold on a few occasions, but I weather the cold just fine. In the winter when temperatures and snowfall are more extreme, I tend to check the app more frequently, still skeptical of everything I read. My tendency to open the weather app also increases if I’m going away, to the beach, or if I have something planned outdoors. I do keep an umbrella handy in my car at all times for emergencies, but throw most predictions out the window and just try to go with the flow.

Aubrey’s take:

My favorite part about weather apps is their animation of the conditions outside. In the event that I may have forgotten what rain looks like, they show me that water will in fact be falling from the sky. In case the meaning of “partly cloudy” was unclear, they illustrate a soft sun obscured by thin layers of clouds and vapor.

Enter the holy grail of beautiful weather apps: Solar.

Solar conveys temperature with a gorgeous gradient of color that gently pulsates and evolves throughout the day. To get your forecast, you place your index finger at the bottom of the screen and slowly trace it to the top. Solar will progress through the day’s hours as you scroll upward, displaying the time and degrees for a full 24-hour cycle and communicating the forecast in shifting nuances of coral, sapphire, and indigo.

But hang on, it gets cooler. Solar animates snow and rain as interactive, glimmering bokeh that drifts or drizzles accordingly. Forecasting thunderstorms, it even flashes lightning across the screen and rumbles the device.

Solar takes a task as mundane as checking the weather and turns it into an awesome sensory experience. It’s safe to say I’ve been forever ruined for other weather apps.

Photo courtesy of Gerry.

Veronica’s take:

Seeing that I’m an avid people-watcher in general, it makes sense that my slightly creepy tendencies would trickle onto even the most mundane of my daily activities, including finding out the weather.

I live on the second floor of an apartment building that overlooks a busy street. Rarely is there a shortage of human subjects to observe.

When I’m not wondering about the intricacies of their lives, I am paying careful attention to pedestrians’ faces, specifically their reactions to the weather.

For example, when I see umbrellas beginning to pop up amongst the crowd I look to see how those without umbrellas seem to be handling the precipitation. If they don’t seem too perturbed, I conclude that it’s more of a mist than actual rain, and pack my umbrella away for later in the day.

If I see that girls have begun to don shorts or skirts, I look carefully to see if I notice a slight discomfort in their step, or the faint trace of regret on their faces. If they seem uncomfortable, I opt for pants.

While my said method adds an extra five minutes to my morning routine, I find it works vastly better than glancing at an iPhone app, at least for a person like me–who can’t exactly pinpoint what 62 degrees truly feels like.

Bill’s take:

I’m a begrudging futurist, at times. I love technology and the convenience it provides; yet I often find myself getting irked at people’s reliance on it. That curmudgeonly behavior extends to most apps. There truly is an app for everything these days, and it only makes sense that weather reports would have an app of their own.

I have always found the old trope to be true, however: weather reports are notoriously unreliable, and can change in an instant, almost always at the worst times.

Living at the base of a mountain, I’ve found that to be doubly true. The mountain disrupts wind patterns and temperature, often resulting in precipitation. The weather there always seems to be an extreme of that in the surrounding area. If it’s 80 degrees a few miles down the road in the flats, it’s usually 85-90 near my apartment. If it’s 35 degrees in town with snow two hours out, then it’s 30 degrees with blizzard-like conditions already at my place. I have a deep-seated mistrust of five-day forecasts, as they rarely apply to my reality.

For me, the most tried and true method is to simply experience the weather for myself. When I wake up, one of my first moves is to throw the window open and get a feel for the temperature. I let the air in, and then to be sure, I head outside to check the skies. Years of being ambushed by rain clouds and gale-force winds have left me acutely aware of when a storm is brewing, when an umbrella is necessary, and when wearing shorts is just a terrible idea.

Many apps, weather report apps included, have greatly improved our quality of life. They make accessing information much easier, and we’re better off for it. Weather forecasts still have a way to go, however, before they’ll get me to rely on my phone, rather than my own senses, to determine the day’s weather.