Right now we are suffering from another ramping up of lock-down. Shops, cinema, travel, gym and indoor shooting are closed or increasingly restricted. Adding insult to injury, the outdoor things that we can do normally like hill walking or outdoor shooting are literally being washed off the face of the earth. Its raining like there’s an Ark in need of floating! We can’t change the weather … but we can at least have an idea of whats coming on shootie days. Welcome to the wonderful world of weather prediction.
We are all aware of the Met Office and the BBC’s websites/Apps where little icons inform the masses with a “back of a postage stamp” summary of the weather. You also get a vague percentage chance of rain. I don’t know about you but if I’m standing in the middle of a field, unprotected from the elements … I WANT MORE DETAIL!
So let me introduce VENTUSKY. (click here to See Glasgow rain right now)
This software gives an insane amount of weather information. Click or touch your place of interest and it will summarise the weather if that’s what you want. Here, Met Office style icon predictions for up to a week in advance are available but where this application wins hands down is in rapid updating and detail the day of, or the day before your interest broken down in 3 or 1 hour increments..
Temperature (both actual and perceived), precipitation, wind (constant and gusts), satellite imaging, even radar images for showing those pesky rain showers. That’s just some of the information shown through the medium of interpretive dance … ok, not interpretive dance! :o)
The display is pictured above were all the information is shown via colour graduated overlays of the weather onto a scalable map allowing you to evaluate just how bad the weather is going to be on your specific location. Mouse over for specific numbers and moving the time slider will give you a good idea how the weather will develop at your place of interest. Are you are about to suffer or is it going to happen to some other poor smuck.
We’ve been using it to judge weather for GA shooting the last few weeks and have found it to be accurate and extremely useful in decision making i.e. will we delay opening the range or should shooting be cancelled? … when is that heavy rain going to hit or will it bypass us? The weekend of 26/27th November was particularly good for a case study.
On Saturday 26th at 8am looking at appalling conditions outside, shooting was cancelled. However Ventusky graphics showed a lessening of the rain after 9 and the band of rain having passed by 10. Their map overlays were giving us confidence that the weather would improve. Arriving at 8:30, conditions were indeed horrible but by 9:15 we saw the promised improvement and by 9:30 conditions were pretty fair. This was repeated the following day with again miserable conditions early but the app urging optimism. So we set up and well before 10am we had a perfect shooting day. We continued to monitor the weather to ensure there were no damp surprises – none were predicted til after shootie, none arrived til after shootie.
Both days, the BBC and the Met office continued to show poor weather all morning with high rain percentages. Both days rather than simply calling shooting off as we might have done in the past, we relied on Ventusky’s visual representation. As a result, we were rewarded with 2 full mornings shooting in reasonable conditions. Had we just looked at the more vaguer predictions of more general forecasts, we would have called off and returned home.
So as we head into what will, no doubt, be yet another typical soggy and wind blasted winter, why not try Ventusky. If you are going to risk getting out of that warm and comfy bed to go to the field, you need information to decide is that sacrifice going to be worthwhile and this is the place to get it.
Available on both android and iOS (if a little expensive) as well as free if you bookmark its website at https://www.ventusky.com/.