Here’s a a not-so-secret secret for you: The experts at NOAA’s National Weather Service are like kids when it comes to snow.
“We love it!” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says on its website.
The NOAA is inviting each Kane County resident to become a “snow-it-all” and geek out with six winter-weather forecast tools you can tinker with online.
It might look green out there right this minute, but Kane County has more extreme cold coming up in the forecast this week and snow on Thursday (Jan. 5), so now’s as good a time as any to start boning up.
The chilling temperatures of the polar vortex made a bold appearance in December, and many parts of the country have already seen significant snow. But winter is just gearing up. At weather.gov, you can plug in your zip in the upper left-hand window, click “go,” and get a custom forecast for your location — including any local watches or warnings in effect — directly from your local forecast office.
This tool provides an excellent snapshot of what the next few days might have in store for you.
Or, take a look further in time: You can identify large-scale storm systems many days in advance by using this tool.
The NOAA is expanding this tool to 44 locations in the country this year, including the Chicago area. It can tell you the possible range of snowfall amounts from oncoming winter storms.
This awesome tool provides an hour-by-hour play of the forecast. If someone asks you “What time will the snow start falling?” this should be your go-to resource for the answer.
The NOAA has a little-known office way up in Chanhassen, MN, that monitors total snow and ice cover in the U.S. If you have a free weekend and need help figuring out where to go for some good skiing or snowboarding, these snow cover maps will point you in the right direction.
Finally: Whichever tools you use, arm yourself with the best data on which to make good decisions until the spring thaw. See the NOAA’s tips on how to stay safe before, during and after a winter storm.
- Want to know more about how the cold, white stuff is created? Check out How do snowflakes form? Get the science behind snow.