Betsy's Gift Guide for Weather Geeks

4:23 PM, Dec 16, 2012   |    comments
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It happens every year.  "Betsy, I have this friend [Dad, Mom, kid, neighbor, etc] who just loves weather!  What would be a great gift for them?" 

I may not be the end-all, be-all when it comes to gift giving, but I do love weather, so perhaps if I share a few of MY favorite things you'll find some inspiration for your shopping adventures. 

From time to time I my send out some last minute ideas on my Twitter feed. Follow me @BetsyKling

So, without further ado... 

1)  A full feature weather station.  

No weather geek is worthy of being called a weather geek if they don't have a weather station. Sure, you can spend hundreds (thousands) of dollars to get weather observations out your window, but you might be surprised at how nifty these gadgets are.  You do get what you pay for.

One really nice feature of any modern weather station is connectivity.  You can connect your weather station to the computer, and in some instances, access that data from anywhere you have internet access! 

Basic option:  Oregon Scientific WMR100N .. $164.95 at www.weathershack.com          

I have done business with Weathershack.com before and you can't beat the customer service!   This is a basic weather station with quite a few nice features, like the digital rain gauge, humidity sensor (hygrometer), anemometer and pressure bar graph that shows a history of barometric pressure (very important for those with migraines or other pressure-induced aches and pains.  Includes software for computer connectivity.                 

Deluxe option:  Davis Instruments 6152 - The WIRELESS Vantage Pro2 $535.95 at www.weathershack.com

-OR-                                                 

Davis Instruments 6250 - The Wireless Vantage Vue $355.95 (LESS if you contact them through their website at www.weathershack.com

For those who are serious about good weather data, you just cannot beat a Davis station.  

It installs wirelessly, the data refresh is super-fast (every ½ second) and you'll have data and data subsets to keep you well informed of everything happening outside.  

Not only that, but when connected through your computer to the internet, you can see your backyard weather from anywhere in the world.  

We have a couple people here at WKYC who have Davis Weather Stations and opted for the optional add-ons (additional cost) to feed their data to the web.  

With Davis' super-sweet WeatherLink site, you can see data from weather stations all over the world!  Davis WeatherLink

Another option is to build a weather station "a la carte".

Oregon Scientific makes some great sensors for temperature, humidity, and wind as well as rain gauges that can be purchased individually.  You can find these pieces-parts at various retailers and on-line.  Most cost between $10 and $50.

2)  NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio - A must have for every home and business.  

These days the weather radio receivers and the NOAA Public Alert radio system have technology that allows you to program your radio to receive alerts ONLY for the counties you choose (called S.A.M.E.).  

So, if you live in Cuyahoga County, you can program the weather radio so that you only get alerts for Cuyahoga County.  It is also a good idea to program your weather radio with a few counties around you as well so you can catch potential severe weather heading into your area.  For example, if you live in Cuyahoga County, you can program your radio to give you alerts for Cuyahoga, Lorain and Medina counties.  

In some cases you can also program the radio to exclude certain alerts, such as a dense fog advisory (but I do NOT suggest you exclude any alerts).  

You will also have access to NOAA Weather Radio forecasts and voice transmitted data. 

Midland Radio Corporation is at the top the class when it comes to weather radios.  They are readily available from many suppliers including Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Target and others, as well as many online sources. 

** All GOOD weather radios have battery back up in the event of power failure (common sense, isn't it!).  Just don't forget to keep the batteries fresh!** 

Here are my picks:                 

Midland WR-300 - Retails $89.99 (You can find it for $40-$45)

Midland WR-120 - Retails $49.99 (You can find it for $30-$35)    

Midland HH50 Pocket Weather Radio - Retails $24.99 (LOVE this for camping!)        

Midland ER102 - Retails $59.99 (Has a crank if rechargeable battery fails)     

3)  Reading Material - Who doesn't love a good book!  

Books about weather make GREAT gifts for weather enthusiasts of ALL ages.  There really is something for everyone. 

A few of my favorites:                 

The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather ... Jack Williams; ISBN-10: 0226898989 (Just plain fun to read!)                 

Atlas of the World ... Oxford University Press; ISBN-10: 0199937826 (LOVE my maps!!) 

International Marine's Weather Predicting Simplified: How to Read Weather Charts and Satellite Images ... Michael William Carr; ISBN-10: 0070120315 (GREAT for boaters!) 

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather ... Mike Smith; ISBN-10: 1608320340 (I have an autographed copy!) 

Six Inches of Partly Cloudy ... Dick Goddard; ISBN-10: 1598510665 (I have a signed copy of this too!) 

4)  Gizmos Galore!  

Being a weather geek doesn't always mean data, data, and data! 

We know how to ENJOY the weather too!  

There is a huge variety of weather related gift items that are always welcome.  

Here are a few ideas to consider from one of my FAVORITE websites www.windandweather.com

Thermometers (non-weather station types) - Everyone wants to know the temperature and whether your give one of those big, cheap, plastic, dial type thermometers (obviously not my top choice) or a classy, brass, estate size decorative thermometer, you will know it will be used. 

Wind spinners and Whirligigs - We cannot see the wind, obviously, but we can see what the wind does.  Wind spinners enchant people of all ages.  Whether they are sculptural, whimsical, or practical they make great gifts for any occasion and any budget. 

Wind chimes - Much like wind spinners, wind chimes make great gifts.  Just be sure to test how loud the chimes are! 

Rain gauges - These are wonderful gifts for anyone who gardens, does lawn care or just wants to know how much rain we get.

One of the absolute best rain gauges is used in a data collecting program called CoCoRaHS - the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.  Not only can you get an amazing rain gauge for $19.95, you can become an official precipitation observer for the National Weather Service.  Program details and information on how to order a CoCoRaHS rain gauge go to http://www.cocorahs.org/ 

5)      Subscriptions and memberships - The gifts that keep on giving!  

When I give someone a subscription to something I feel like I am giving them a really big gift because it is stretched out over a longer period of time (a year usually).  

Magazine and website subscriptions make a great gift that won't be forgotten anytime soon.  

Weatherwise Magazine is absolutely one of the finest magazines for weather professionals and hobbyists alike.  Annual subscriptions are $48 http://www.weatherwise.org/

Weatherbell.com Premium subscriptions are awesome.  All meteorologists love weather models, but weather models that are organized and include written and video blogs from some of the best in the business are primo!  Annual website subscriptions are $160    www.weatherbell.com 

AccuWeather is a huge force in the world of weather.  Their Premium Subscription gives you access to more radar, more maps, more forecasts, more weather data and more weather stories.  One year subscriptions cost $79.95 AccuWeather.com Premium

National Weather Association annual membership - If you love weather and more specifically the day to day weather observing, investigating, analyzing and forecasting involved in Operational Meteorology, the NWA just may be for you!  Annual memberships are $50 (really great to give to students studying meteorology or atmospheric science)   www.nwas.org 

The American Meteorological Society - A global weather entity, the AMS promotes the development, dissemination, information and education on the atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic sciences.  Membership categories range from pre-collegiate ($15) to full-professional ($94).  Prices are varied as well.  www.ametsoc.org
AMS Associate Membership for K-12 Teachers is a very cool gift for any science educator ($46).   

So, there you have it...gifts on any budget for anyone of any age and that might happen to love weather. 

Happy Holidays! 

Betsy Kling, Chief Weather Geek WKYC-TV

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