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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, February 26, 2016

recorded weather forecasts

Recorded Weather Forecasts

Get Recorded Weather Forecasts Any Time

Options for obtaining weather forecasts have increased throughout the years. No longer is one forced to wait for local radio and television stations to broadcast the forecast. Anyone with a smartphone can ask that phone’s virtual assistant for weather conditions and receive basic data like the current temperature, whether or not precipitation is falling and a very basic forecast for a selected location.

Often, however, the information someone seeks is much more detailed in scope, and it may or may not be local weather information. What would someone do, for instance, if they lived in Philadelphia and needed to travel to Seattle—how would they get the forecast for Seattle? The Weather Channel is an option, but because of its national focus, it may not provide all of the information one seeks. In addition, its current practice of providing little audio feedback during its “Local on the Eights”, the time when it shows local weather information on the screen, is unhelpful for blind people—even those looking for their local forecast.

Another option is NOAA Weather Radio, an absolutely necessary service during times of severe weather. While a few smartphone apps provide coverage of some NOAA radio stations, the coverage is spotty much of the time so you can never be sure that you can hear a station from a particular city or state using such an app. Thus, NOAA radio, though it is extremely beneficial while one is in their local area, probably will not help provide information for someone who is traveling until the person arrives atht their destination, preventing the traveler from using the information to make appropriate preparations.

The National Weather Service has provided a solution to this problem. It maintains a listing of recorded weather information which anyone can access 24 hours a day via recorded messages. The list covers all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and other territories. As you examine the list, you may notice that there is quite a bit of overlap; large areas of one state are covered by one weather service office while some offices cover portions of multiple states. The office in Mount Holly, New Jersey is an excellent example of this tendency as it covers all of New Jersey and Delaware as well as portions of Pennsylvania and Maryland. By calling a given number, you may listen to forecasts for all of the areas covered by a particular weather service office as well as marine forecasts, climate reports and an hourly roundup of temperatures and weather conditions.

The one drawback of this service is that it will not keep you updated on currently occurring severe weather; you cannot depend on the recorded information to do that for you. Nevertheless, if you plan to travel to a certain area, have friends or relatives in a particular place or just want to know what the weather is like somewhere else, this recorded information should assist.

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