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View Full Version : website weather discussion do you read it or go right to the forecast?



David
11-01-2010, 08:59 AM
I am wondering, why you go to www.mountwashington.org and click on forecast for higher summits.. do you actually read that long involved discussion or do you go straight to the forecast? I wonder sometimes who if anyone wades through all that. The weather staff for sure but how about the rest of us?

David

Breeze
11-01-2010, 10:14 AM
When I'm working at the base of the road, I always wade through everything I can find on the website. It helps me to be prepared to answer questions, offer advice, have some idea of what to expect during transitions and frontal passages. When people are arriving at the Auto Road at 7:30-8:00 AM and express their desire to hike in the Alpine Garden, they OFTEN aren't aware of what they may be getting into as the day progresses. Same with Hikers, motorcycle riders.

I feel its part of my job to be aware of the DEVELOPING picture, not just the snapshot. Auto road operations are totally weather dependent, and when operations staff are discussing the plan for the day, awareness is crucial to being proactive rather than reactive.

Breeze

Snow Miser
11-01-2010, 03:49 PM
I usually read it when I have time. By reading the details, it allows me to more clearly visualize how the fronts, etc will be moving and changing conditions.

BAXTERCA2
11-01-2010, 04:33 PM
Dave ~
I'm not really sure what you mean by long involved discussion, as I don't see a discussion anywhere.

Call me weird but, I click on higher summits forecast and the MWV Regional forecast almost everyday and read what's there, long version and short version. Clearly it depends on the author.

Some of it I don't understand but, most of it I do. I like to know what the weather is going to be like up top, its sort of like a surrogate for being there. If I'm planning a trip to the summit or time in the valley, I find the long involved "discussion" very helpful to me.

Brad
11-01-2010, 06:44 PM
When I start to plan a hike or even a drive up Mt Washington I start checking out the forecasts. That helps me select which day I will go - or if I will go at all. A few days before a hike I will read everything I can find on the site to help be prepared.

Knapper
11-01-2010, 10:49 PM
I will be the first to admit that sometimes our discussions are a bit lengthy or a bit on the more technical side of things, especially since I am the one that writes half of them. I strive to find a middle ground of not dumbing it down too much like you see on TV now and days (most big networks can't say front or low/high) and not making it as technical as NWS sometimes makes their discussions. The main reason they are a bit more detailed and lengthy, especially in the winter, is mostly for the snow rangers but it also benefits SAR's efforts, snow making efforts, and guides coming up among others. Amount of snow coming, and what is causing it can play into their efforts and decisions.

The way to look at discussions vs forecast is like a studying for a test. For some, studying everything available works. So they will read our forecast discussions (valley and summit) and then look at NWS discussions (Grey, Taunton, Burlington) and see what they are saying then possibly look at acccuweather or their local news station for a comparison to get the big picture then turn to the higher summits page and see how those fronts will affect the visibility, weather, temperature and winds on the day of their hike. Others will look just at the higher summits page and go straight to the forecast kind of like only studying the study guide sheet you might be given a few days before the test. And that works for them. So far we have seen both sides of this coin in this thread. Some read everything others just get what they need and move on.

I would say whether you are a big picture person or a quick overview person, so long as you are getting what you need the day of your hike and are packing correctly for the weather on your hike to make it up and down safely, then we did our job. But your question does raise an interesting point and we were discussing it tonight as a possible intern project to see how we might better direct our discussions. It won't be an immediate change but it is something we should consider if a lot of people out there feel the same way as you.

David
11-02-2010, 08:25 AM
just to clarify my own thoughts here.. I DO believe that the higher summits forecast is a very important service of the MWO and one of the most important aspects of the website. The discussion today, November 2, 2010 is a perfect length, it could even be a tad longer. What I personally like is to know the track of a coming storm how strong it is, and what the effects will be in terms of cloud cover, temps, wind, wind chill precip etc. There have been other days where I have seen the discussion many times longer, a very long paragraph. For me it at times gets to be too much so I skip over it and get to the skinny. If there was some reason to have a weather discussion 20 lines long (or what ever it gets to) then maybe it could be broken into paragraphs and split into smaller chunks. Imagine reading a magazine article and you have paragraphs that exceed a half page. It's more cumbersome to read.

Also, if folks have ever been to www.accuweather.com (as I have a couple times) they will find a weather discussion that gets ridiculously long and technical. I hope that MWO can avoid doing that.


David

Bill O
11-02-2010, 09:39 PM
If I'm heading to the mountains or if there is changing / severe weather in the forecast I'll read it.

Knapper
11-03-2010, 06:03 AM
...The discussion today, November 2, 2010 is a perfect length, it could even be a tad longer...If there was some reason to have a weather discussion 20 lines long (or what ever it gets to) then maybe it could be broken into paragraphs and split into smaller chunks.

So, November 2 was "perfect" but too short? Not really sure how to interpret that. But I will say, that I usually make my forecast discussions proportional to what is coming and what is important to discuss. Yesterdays forecast discussion was short because it was high pressure with expected nice weather. You can only write that in so many ways. Where as today, there area a few systems coming which I feel needed more discussion. If more were to be occurring, it would be longer. I don't purposely make them long just to show how much I know, I just try to get out as much as I can so people reading it can make an informed decision before their hike. But it is up to the end user (the reader) to do with it what they want; ignore it, read it, skim it, etc.

But, I took your request about separate paragraphs up with our IT observer but our current website update configuration does not allow for separate paragraphs. I will discuss it with them to see if that could change. But we are a small member supported non-profit with a limited IT staff (1 full time valley IT, and two alternating with each other on the summit) so finding time to update this may take a while, so please be patient. But it is a good idea that has been brought up before and it just needs man hours devoted to changing it. We will see what we can do.

Brad
11-03-2010, 04:02 PM
Can a Sticky thread be added to the Weather section - with the zip code we should use for getting the Mt Washington weather? I just had to go back in the Observers' Comments for last month to find it.

Bill O
11-03-2010, 05:42 PM
Ryan - Can you use html code when you enter those discussions? I believe <br> adds a line break for your paragraphs.

Brad - I'd prefer to have as few stickies as possible. Forums tend to get over-run by them, but if the masses agree....

Knapper
11-03-2010, 06:13 PM
Paragraph problem solved. We use HTML code for the comments but was unaware we could use it on the forecasts. But now it should be automatic spacing with the HTML code as a back up.

Brad
11-03-2010, 09:23 PM
Bill, I understand and agree. But, it would be helpful for some key things to be available to visitors. Ryan made a Comment back in October and included the zip code to use on weather reporting sites and applications (like on my Blackberry) to get the real data for the summit and not the valley. This was great information - but it is not readily available on the web site.

BAXTERCA2
11-04-2010, 05:32 AM
Bill, I understand and agree. But, it would be helpful for some key things to be available to visitors. Ryan made a Comment back in October and included the zip code to use on weather reporting sites and applications (like on my Blackberry) to get the real data for the summit and not the valley. This was great information - but it is not readily available on the web site.


Hi Brad ~
Here is a little trick I do when interesting information or links are posted in the forum. I save the link as a favorite :)

Brad
11-04-2010, 07:20 PM
Hi Brad ~
Here is a little trick I do when interesting information or links are posted in the forum. I save the link as a favorite :)
Interesting thought. However, the information to be saved for the future is in one of the daily comments in October 2010. Yes, I would write it down - or save it in a file of "MWO Cool Facts To Be Remembered For Later Use.txt". Or . . .