NWS Tabular Weather Forecast

By RonL Last update Jan 5, 2012 — Installed 791 times.

Script Summary: Enhances the National Weather Service Tabular (2 days, hour-by-hour) Weather Forecast page for Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Des Moines, St. Louis, Louisville, Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Jackson, Omaha, Kansas City, Tulsa, Denver, Casper, Pierre, Bismarck and the rest of the NWS Central Region. Also, coming soon to a city near you. **


The National Weather Service (NWS) Tabular Forecast predicts numerous weather conditions for each hour of the next 48, including the PQPF (see below.) Its advantage is that it does this in a compact space with a minimum of extraneous material. Its disadvantage is that it is not well laid out. I used Platypus to clean it up to my liking.

[If you are unfamiliar with the NWS forecast start here: http://forecast.weather.gov/zipcity.php . Enter your city and state or zip code. If you are satisfied with the 7-day forecast for your area, you may wish to stop here. To get a look at the 48-hour, hourly tabular forecast, click Tabular Forecast, which appears in the Additional Forecasts and Information section of the page. I use bookmarks -- not this script -- to open 3 tabs simultaneously: the main forecast, the tabular forecast and the radar loop (which you may wish to enhance using the NWS Radar Loop script - http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/88924 ).]

IMPORTANT: This script depends on your selecting the following items -- and only the following items -- after you Show Menu on the NWS Tabular page: Temperature, Surface Wind (mph), Sky Coverage, Precipitation Potential, Relative Humidity and Quantitative Precipitation 6-hr 0.10 (see below.) (Also available but not selected are Thunder, Rain, Snow, Freezing Rain, Sleet, Wind Chill and Dew Point, which I found trivial or redundant of other measures.) After you have made your selection by clicking Submit, you can click Hide Menu.

The script performs the following functions:
* Adds the day of the week to the date lines
* Fixes row headings to equalize row heights by eliminating wrapping
* Equalizes column widths
* Adjusts the font size to something in between the small and medium fonts offered
* Reorders the rows so that they make better sense to me.

NEW: I've never understood why the NWS Tabular forecast wasn't more popular, so I decided to mash it up with another web site that is a favorite of mine -- Clear Sky Chart. Attilla Danko has created a wonderful site for astronomy buffs that includes, among other things, an "alarm clock" that will send you an e-mail if the local forecast is for better-than-average viewing. My userscript now refers to a particular town in the middle of the continent, but you can easily customize it to your location after you download it. (See the Discussions tab, above.)

NEWEST: The National Weather Service has added an experimental Probabilistic Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (PQPF, explained here: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tsa/?n=pqpf_explaination ) for certain regions of the country.** This is a big deal. Most people do not know that the Precipitation Potential published by most forecasters is the probability of as little as 1/100" of rain falling cumulatively over a six or twelve hour period. The NWS now allows end-users to retrieve precipitation forecasts that are of more practical value to themselves. My choice was to show the probability of at least 1/10" of rain falling cumulatively over six hours. This leads to a completely different set of expectations. As far as I know, this is not available anywhere else on the web.

** As of 11/21/2011, I have confirmed PQPF coverage in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Des Moines, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Louisville, Nashville, Birmingham, Jackson, Kansas City, Tulsa and Denver.

** January 2014 update: PQPF is available in Portland, ME, Miami, FL, Corpus Christi, TX and probably a few more places in between.