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Website of the Week: Weather.com


Weather.com, the online counterpart of U.S. cable television's popular Weather Channel, brings Internet users forecasts and current conditions for almost everywhere on the planet. From the temperature in Timisoara to the dew point in Dubai, it's all available at the click of a mouse.

"Weather.com offers a variety of weather reports and forecasts for close to 100,000 locations across the world," says vice president Tom Flournoy. "We have maps, satellite maps, radar images, 10-day forecasts, and we have current conditions reported from places around the globe."

To assemble its forecasts, weather.com must first acquire the raw information about temperature, atmospheric pressure and so on. "Different state-controlled agencies across the world provide the current conditions for those countries," explains Mr. Flournoy. "Forecasts are the Weather Channel's own forecasts for each of those points. We have a very sophisticated data-modeling system that allows us to provide a forecast for each of the 100,000 points for which we forecast."

Computers process the raw data and provide an automated forecast. But human experts make the final call. "We start with a computer model," says Mr. Flournoy. "Then we have humans -- 24-hours a day -- meteorologists who look at the forecasts and if they see an anomoly in what the model is producing, then they will correct the forecast."

In addition to current conditions and forecasts, you can learn about weather with educational features such as the Weather Glossary. There is also a wide variety of weather maps and satellite images to help you visualize the weather situation.

One downside: weather.com is advertising-supported and there are multiple ads on each page. So, on a slow Internet connection, you will have to be patient. Instead, you may prefer to sign up and have forecasts sent to you by e-mail. Either way, you can easily get worldwide weather information from weather.com.

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