(For resource suggestions and web links scroll down to the bottom of the page.)
If you aren’t the sort of person who pays a lot of attention to weather reports you’ll probably want to start if you’re going to become a park maven. You don’t have to go to my extent, with over a dozen tablet apps and website bookmarks, but you’ll want to know what’s going on out there.
It’s rare that Seattle weather is so miserable that you should completely nix the idea of a park outing. (There’s no rule that you have to get out of the car.)
So if you’re in the mood to go to a park, weather should only dictate how you prepare and where you go.
If it’s hot, a place by the water where you can catch a breeze might be just the ticket. Or a park with lots of shade. Most parks take on a whole new atmosphere in a thick fog. And if dark clouds are doing dramatic things in the sky, a viewpoint is a good place to watch.
The most important thing to keep in mind about Seattle weather, especially if you are new to the area, is its variability. For much of the year our weather can vary wildly from day to day, or hour to hour. It can even vary drastically from one part of the city to another.
Because of the variability, weather forecasts aren’t completely reliable. You want to pay attention to details, not just the current temperature and sky conditions. Are the clouds moving in or clearing out? What direction is the weather coming from? What is the wind doing and what is the humidity?
One trick I’ve learned is to use online webcams, including traffic cams, to see what the weather is doing. The Space Needle webcam is an excellent resource because you get an unobstructed 360 degree view of weather conditions.
I’m a big fan of the Weather Bug app. It provides all the important weather details at a glance, including sunrise and sunset times, and webcam views around the area.
When you set up Weather Bug you choose a weather station fairly close to where you live, so the info is a lot more accurate than other apps. Most of the other weather apps just report the conditions at SeaTac, which can be quite different from where you live.
You can get Weather Bug for phones, tablets, and desktops. And it’s free!
Weather Bug – described above.
NOAA Weather – I like this one for just a quick glance at the forecast for the week, and it is an easy app to set up for several locations so you can also keep track of weather where your friends and relatives live.
Radar Express – quick and easy access to a current radar map.
NOAA Now – satellite imaging. Useful for keeping an eye on the weather headed our way, especially storm systems. Doesn’t have good reviews on Amazon, but I like using it on my Kindle Fire HDX.
Wunderground – tons of great info all on one page. Enter your zipcode and then bookmark that page for easy future access.
Cliff Mass Weather Blog – Cliff Mass is a professor at the UW and his blog provides all kinds of interesting Seattle weather info.