Weather Gadgets

June 30, 2011

Extreme Weather -- Forty-Seven Fabulous Photos at's The Big Picture


At our Weather Snob workstation, we are officially experiencing "extreme drought conditions", one reason we recommend rain barrels. Elsewhere people and animals are enduring wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and severe thunderstorms.

Whether this strangeness can be attributed to global warming of human intervention or climate change outside of human control, it is strangely different these days. Check out forty-seven fabulous and frightening photos on the subject at Is weather becoming more extreme? |The Big Picture |

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Check Out This Week's Wind & Weather Deal of the Week

June 29, 2011

Bathtubs Provide Shelter from High Winds and Tornadoes


After all the weird weather this past spring, we are hoping summer calms down a bit. The frenzied tornado activity, even as far north as Springfield, MA, was among the weirdest, not to mention the saddest.

Smaller, less dramatic tornadoes can crop up during any severe storm, including hurricanes. A safe room (see instructions here) or the basement is still the best place to seek refuge upon hearing a tornado warning, if you have one that is. If not, seek shelter in your bathtub during a tornado, advise the good folks over at Accuweather.

The bathroom has strong framing and the pipes in the walls could help hold them together. The bathtub and toilet are directly anchored to the ground (unless your bathtub is the old claw-footed style). They are often the only things left intact after a tornado passes. Once in the bathtub, cover yourself with a couch cushion to help protect you from falling and flying debris. And be sure to remember to grab your Voyager Solar/Dynamo Emergency Radio that has all the features you will need in an emergency weather situation.

tvc.jpgFor more on tornadoes, check out these Tornado Video Classics.

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June 28, 2011

WeatherWear: Shopping Sunglasses -- 3 Tips to Get the Right Fit


Sunglasses are a must-have now that summer is here. Many of us wear them year-round, so a good fit is important. On the Runway | New York Times offers guidelines for getting it right, having learned that your individual features, lifestyle and your taste in fashion often matter more than face shape. Here are 3 tips:

1. Smile Test: When you smile your frames should not be resting on your cheeks. If they lift up when you smile, they are too large.

2. Choose Contoured Frames: You want to minimize the amount of space between your temple and the edge of the frame.

3. Pay Attention to the Bridge: Too much space between the bridge of your glasses and the bridge of your nose is a sign of poor fit.

Browse styles -- Men's Sunglasses and Women's Sunglasses.

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June 27, 2011

Canine Cooler Thermoregulating Pet Bed for Dogs


Is the hot weather stressing out your dog? Treat your favorite pooch to a Canine Cooler Thermoregulating Pet Bed for Dogs. This bed will give your dog a constant cool spot this summer, plus cushiony support. And it's toasty warm in cooler weather too for year-round comfort.

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June 24, 2011

Hot Tips to Protect Your Car from the Summer Sun


Few places in the US endure a summer sun as brutal as the one that beats relentlessly down on South Florida. Keeping your car cool | Sun-Sentinel offers comprehensive advice on how to best maintain your car in the summer heat, and they should know. This useful article covers the roof, under the hood, engine fluids, windows, interior, a/c, and tires. Some basic tips:

Park in the Shade. As the article points out, try to park in the shade as often as you can--easier said than done we know. Your car and your passengers will thank you. It can lower interior temperatures by as much as 40 degrees.

Children and Pets. Your parked vehicle will start to heat up in as little as 3 minutes. It's not safe to leave a child or a pet in your car while you just run in the store for a few minutes. In 10 minutes, the interior temperatures may rise as much as 20 degrees even with the windows cracked and feel like an oven.

Air Conditioning. Instead of instantly turning up the A/C full blast on "cold", try rolling down the windows when you first get going to air out the intense heat of the car.


Auto Finish. We did our homework, and this is what we use on our vehicles. Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax protects your auto's finish against UV damage. It provides a sharp, wet-look shine and eliminates fine scratches and swirls.

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June 23, 2011

Extreme Winds -- How to Build a Safe Room


Many of us live in areas subject to dangerous, destructive extreme winds generated by hurricanes and tornadoes and worry about the risky of injury to ourselves, our loved ones and our animals.

Thumbnail image for fema320_cvr_2008.gifFEMA issues a publication, FEMA 320 - Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business, that will help you decide how best to provide "near-absolute protection" for yourself, your family, or employees:

Near-absolute protection means that, based on our current knowledge of tornadoes and hurricanes, there is a very high probability that the occupants of a safe room built according to this guidance will avoid injury or death.
FEMA provides a free manual, Safe Room Construction Plans and Specifications, which provides safe room designs that will show you and your builder/contractor how to construct a safe room inside and outside your home or small business. Download it from the site or order a hard copy or CD-ROM from the FEMA Distribution Center.

Graphic: Photographic Poster Print by John Dominis, Residents Trying Out Newly Built Community Storm Shelter, After Tornado Devastated the Area

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June 22, 2011

Always Cool Pillow Keeps You Super Cool at Night


Having trouble with the heat at night? Even air-conditioned houses can be stuffy. This Always Cool Pillow actively regulates the temperature around your head and face. It absorbs excess heat from you when you are hot, so you have a comfy pillow temp every time you lay down your head. The pillow is covered with a fabric developed for NASA to help astronauts adapt to extreme temperature fluctuations.

At Hammacher Schlemmer and Amazon

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June 21, 2011

WeatherWear: Native Shoes for Hot Summer Casual Comfort


These waterproof Native Shoes are terrific for casual summertime wear. Flip flops are fine, but Natives provide the ventilation with a little more support. They are breathable, washable, odor-resistant and animal free. Unisex Natives come in a wide range of colors for adults and children.

native shoes.JPG

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June 20, 2011

Climate Changes May Increase Health Problems Related to Indoor Air Quality


Heat waves, floods, and other extreme weather not only affect what's going on outside but likely affect the quality of your indoor air and raise your risk of health problems, according to a new report issued by the Institute of Medicine.

Dampness and poor ventilation contribute to indoor mold and allergens. Emissions from building materials also affect air quality, and misuse of electric generators result in sometimes catastrophic carbon monoxide poisonings.

jeffmayhomehealthtips.jpgJeffrey May, principal scientist at May Indoor Air Investigations in Tyngsborough, MA, and author of several books, including Jeff May's Healthy Home Tips explains: "If you cool air, you get water. You have moisture in the coil of the air conditioner and if you don't have a good filtration system, the dust builds up, and wet dust turns into mold.

Minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) ratings are used to rate how well an air conditioning filter removes dust from the air as it passes through the filter. To minimize allergens in your home, you want an air conditioner filter with a rating of MERV-8 or a MERV-11.

[via WebMD]

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June 17, 2011

WeatherHawk WM-200 WindMate Hand-Held Wind Meter


This is the very first wind meter to incorporate wind direction measurement in addition to wind speed, essential for sailors and anyone else who depends upon the wind. The WeatherHawk WM-200 WindMate Hand-Held Wind Meter measures wind 0.1 to 89 MPH, measures average and maximum wind speed over 10 second intervals, calculates cross wind, head wind, tail wind, measures temperature, wind chill and wind direction using the digital compass.

The jackknife case protects the mechanism and functions as a handle. The WM-200 is water-resistant, fits a tripod, has an auto shutoff feature, a thermometer as mentioned, and a convenient back light.

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June 16, 2011

Hot Summer Weather Brings New Label Requirements For Sunscreen -- FDA Announcement


Hot summer weather and sunburns go hand in hand. Just in time for the summer tanning season, the FDA has announced new requirements for sunscreen currently sold over-the-counter (OTC), i.e. non-prescription. The requirements take effect by the summer of 2012, but consumers may begin to see changes to sunscreen labels before the effective date. Here's the scoop from the Q & A:

Sunburn is primarily caused by UVB. Both UVB and UVA can cause sunburn, skin cancer, and premature skin aging. A certain percentage of a broad spectrum product's total protection is against UVA.

Under the new regulations, sunscreen products that protect against all types of sun-induced skin damage will be labeled "Broad Spectrum" and "SPF 15" (or higher) on the front.

ArrowContinue reading: "Hot Summer Weather Brings New Label Requirements For Sunscreen -- FDA Announcement"

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June 15, 2011

Decorate with Patriotic Wind Spinners for the 4th of July


In the summertime we like to have few wind spinners around on the patio or at the beach to create a festive atmosphere while we chat and sip summer drinks. Patriotic Wind Spinners are just the decoration for weather buffs on the 4th.


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June 14, 2011

WeatherWear: Packable Fedora Protects Against the Sun


Bring along this handy Packable Fedora when you are on the go this summer, whether hiking, boating, beaching, barbecuing, or sightseeing. You can stay outdoors longer while protecting your head and face from harmful UV rays with this packable, completely crushable hat that's perfect for travel.

This durable hat is made of salt-resistant, easy-care polypropylene weave and should serve you well for many years. It has a tuck-away chin strap for windy conditions and an adjustable nylon headband for the right fit. In natural, sizes S , M , L , XL.

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June 13, 2011

Waterproof Outdoor-Furniture Covers


Protect your expensive investment from the ravages of Mother Nature with Waterproof Outdoor-Furniture Covers . These lightweight polyester covers are similar to high-quality car covers.


They're impervious to sun, rain, and snow, and won't crack or turn brittle in cold temperatures. Fully fitted with elastic leg loops and hems, these waterproof outdoor furniture covers even feature built-in vents to reduce condensation buildup and lifting during high winds.


Made of polyester, the waterproof covers are available for various sizes and shapes of patio furniture, as well as fire pits, grills and cushions.

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June 10, 2011

Oregon Scientific BAR1000 Crystal Weather Station


This diamond-shaped Oregon Scientific Crystal Weather Station makes a unique weather forecaster/work of art combo for your home or office. It is designed to stand upright on a tabletop. The Station integrates Swarovski crystal elements into familiar weather symbols for forecast display, illuminating the appropriate crystal symbol in colored light to predict the weather.

The red sun signifies sunny, blue clouds represent cloudy skies, and green raindrops predict rain. On its left side, the weather station toggles between the atomic time and indoor and outdoor temperatures--a THN132 remote sensor is included. Wave a hand over the top of the weather station to manually toggle between the time and temperature information.

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June 9, 2011

Sun-Proof Your Home or Business -- Coolaroo Window Sun Shades


With a heat wave descending upon much of the country, you may be looking for ways to cool down. You can reduce the effects of the searing heat and blazing sun on your porch, patio or the interior of your home or business--and reduce your weather-related energy costs at the same time. These weather-resistant Coolaroo Window Sun Shades are woven of a thin and elegant fabric that looks fashionable for any setting. They are resistant to fading, mold and mildew and are easy to keep clean.


The shades block up to 80% of UV rays while still allowing air to flow through. They also let in just enough light--without darkening the shaded area--to ensure you can see what's happening on the other side of the shade.

Available for interior/exterior use at Amazon or exterior use only at Orvis.

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June 8, 2011

Safety Maps -- Design a Meeting Place After a Weather Disaster


With the start of the 2011 hurricane season we got to thinking how hard it had been to find and stay in touch with relatives and friends during the last few we endured in 2004 and 2005. First comes that depressing moment when the power dies and electrical activity grinds to a halt. Then cell towers are overloaded or even go down and landlines are flooded out. Where is everyone and are they okay?

Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes. Have you ever thought about how you'd stay in touch with your loved ones if you experienced a natural disaster or other emergency? Safety Maps is a free online tool that helps you plan for this situation. You can use it to choose a safe meeting place, print a customized map that specifies where it is, and share this map with your loved ones.

[via The Consumerist]

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June 7, 2011

Amazon Hot New Weather Book -- Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities


It goes without saying if you need small talk, talk about the weather, right? The weather affects us all and this recently released Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities by Paul Yeager explains why.

The book is packed with fascinating facts to surprise and entertain. It's full of useful (and sometimes, useless!) weather information for the weather junkie and amateur alike and how weather affects our health, sports, historical events and more.

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June 6, 2011

Ship's Hull Tendency Barometer


You can forecast weather just like 17th Century mariners did with this wall mounted Ship's Hull Tendency Barometer. Glass tubes are positioned above a model sailing ship's wooden hull. We understand that barometers measure atmospheric pressure, but what exactly is a tendency barometericon?

The tendency barometer was patented on December 23, 1818 by Alexander Adie, a Scottish optician, calling it a Sympiesometer. Sir James Clark Ross used it on his expeditions. The tendency barometer consists of two liquid filled tubes mounted parallel to each other. The barometer tube is in a U-shape, which is open-ended and filled with a red fluid, and a closed thermometer tube is filled with a blue fluid. You can predict the weather with glance across the room:

  • When the fluid levels are equal, the weather is changing.
  • When the red fluid level is below the blue fluid level, the weather is fair since high pressure pushes the red fluid down in the tube.
  • When the red fluid level is above the blue, stormy weather is predicted as low pressure allows the red fluid to rise in the tube.

The Ship's Hull Tendency Barometer would make a tremendous Father's Day gift. It comes fully assembled on a frosted-glass frame and sturdy hanging hardware is included.

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June 3, 2011

Multi-Purpose Super Brella Beach Umbrella


Weather Snob headquarters is equipped with two of these popular Super Brella Beach Umbrellas. They provide instant portable protection from the sun, rain, and wind with UPF 50.


This sturdy umbrella sets up quickly and easily. Fold back the flaps or leave them tethered for use as a beach umbrella.


You can also tent it to protect you and your little ones from wind gusts and sudden rain storms.


Comes with a carry case in Red, Green or Blue.

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June 2, 2011

WeatherWise -- How Are Hurricanes Named?


Every year a list of names for hurricanes is generated. By who? And how do they come up with these names and when do they retire them? This short video over at AccuWeather explains.

stormgeorgerstewart.jpgThe video cites the book Storm (California Legacy) by George R. Stewart (1895-1980, a professor of English at the University of California Berkeley) which initiated the custom of giving storms feminine names. The book chronicles a Pacific storm called Maria in 12 chapters, one for each day in the life of the storm.

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

Originally, only women's names were used, but in 1979, men's names were introduced and are currently alternated with the women's names. The lists are re-cycled every six years, so the 2011 list will be used again in 2017. The only time that there is a change in the list is in the event of a devastating storm. Several names have been changed since the lists were created.


Worldwide Tropical Cyclone Names can be found at the National Hurricane Center.

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June 1, 2011

Australian Water Spout Video

This water spout video is beautiful:

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