Weather is one of the most important things to take into consideration when traveling or relocating to a new place. Understanding the climate and weather patterns of an area before going there can save you a lot of time, money, and trouble. From knowing what kind of clothing to bring to figuring out whether your vehicle is properly equipped, it's always a good idea to do a little research ahead of time. Additionally, it's imperative to know the weather conditions as you travel and whether there are any impending storms or road closures due to weather-related issues.
Trip Planning Weather Sites
Before making any kind of trip, consult a trip-planning resource to find out if your intended route is clear. Traveling for hundreds of miles only to find that a mountain pass has been closed due to snow is just one of many possible consequences of neglecting to keep tabs on the road ahead. The pages in this section are all excellent resources for helping you to plan your trip around the weather.
- Weather Underground Trip Planner - Weather Underground's Road Trip Planner features an interactive map along with route-specific forecasting.
- Weather Channel Trip Planner - From The Weather Channel, this trip planner lets you point and click on an interactive map graphic or enter your departing and destination locations to see weather predictions for your trip.
- Accuweather Travel Weather - Accuweather's Travel Weather page also has a point-and-click map to help you pinpoint your route and check current and forecasted weather conditions. There is also a real-time map outlining all current U.S. flight delays.
- Intellicast Highway Conditions Map - The Intellicast map, created by the U.S. Department of Transportation, lets you click on any interstate in the U.S. and see weather information for the areas through which the highway passes.
- Safe Travel U.S.A. - This easy-to-navigate site offers region-specific weather information for most areas of the United States, including wind patterns, temperatures, and general forecasts.
- The Weather Channel's Interstate Forecast - The Interstate Forecast tool allows you to look up weather conditions by interstate and date, and plan your trip accordingly. There are also lots of extras, like safety tips for traveling in different types of weather.
Severe Weather Watches and Warnings
Another thing to be aware of when traveling - especially to a new area - is the possibility of storms and other natural disasters. Some areas are more prone to events like tropical storms or tornadoes and it's best to pay attention to any warnings or watches if you'll be traveling to one of these places. The following sites all utilize storm-tracking technology to give you current information about severe weather.
- NOAA's Storm Prediction Center - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center has a real-time map with animations showing current and predicted weather patterns. Incoming storms are listed by severity. There's also a National Weather Hazards Map showing all active storm watches and warnings.
- Weather.org Stormwatch - Stormwatch features live tracking of storms around the world. Storms can be referenced by type or region. There are even feeds and still shots from weather cams in many areas around the globe.
- Trucker Weather Watch - The user-updated site is dedicated to giving truck drivers accurate information about weather along the interstates across the United States. Their main focus is safety and prevention by warning travelers about potentially hazardous weather-related road conditions.
Mobile and Offline Weather Information
Most of our vehicles and/or phones are equipped with GPS, which has obviously revolutionized the idea of the road trip. One think a navigation device cannot do, however, is to provide information about inclement weather, road conditions, and route closures. The following links will lead you to solutions for receiving on-the-go weather information.
- Mobile Weather - The National Weather Service also offers a reliable mobile site for immediate access to forecasts, warnings, and even trip planners via a mobile device.
- NOAA Weather Radio - NOAA broadcasts weather information over public VHF radio waves on several dedicated channels, which are indicated on the site. Knowing how to access these channels can be vital in the event that cell phone service and/or internet service is unavailable.
- Yahoo! Mobile Weather - Yahoo's mobile weather site. There's an option to send a link to the site directly to your phone via text message.
Specialized Weather Sites and Pages
These sites and pages cater to particular groups of people or serve a very specialized function. Each can provide valuable insight for anyone looking to find extensive weather information about a specific region.
- Aviation Weather.gov - This site provides weather information specifically for aviators, with constantly updated information about the worldwide airspace system.
- NOAA Aviator Weather Map - NOAA's page for aviators, with current information on weather patterns affecting airspace in and around the United States.
- NOAA Marine Forecast - NOAA's marine weather page, focusing on patterns and predictions in U.S. waters and along the coastlines.
- Wind and Where by iwindSurf.com - iwindsurf.com is a site created around the sport of windsurfing. There is an interactive map that shows current and predicted wind patterns around the United States and nearby regions.
- Weather by Agriculture.com - Agriculture.com is a site set up to help those in the agriculture industry by providing information about current weather and expected climate trends by region.
Other Reliable Weather Sites and Pages
There are still more reliable and accurate weather sites to check out, so don't give up if you don't like the way the information is presented on the sites you've seen so far. All of the following sites are reputable, easy-to-navigate, and updated constantly.
- National Weather Service - The National Weather Service offers a wide variety of weather-related resources, including satellite imagery and regional forecasts.
- NOAA - The main site for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is full of data regarding weather patterns for the United States and surrounding waters.
- Yahoo! Weather Maps - Yahoo has a comprehensive set of interactive weather maps, outlining different weather patterns around the world along with predictions and up-to-date watch and warning information.
- CNN Weather - CNN's weather pages feature high quality satellite images, up-to-the-minute weather reports and predictions, as well as information about major closures or weather-related evacuations.
- Weather Cams from around the World - To get a real-time (or close to it) look at where you're heading, this page from weatherimages.com has pictures and video from weather web cams all over the world.