I’m a weather freak and I use my Mac to track every detail possible about local weather, U.S. weather, storms, cold fronts, and weather history.
My tool of choice is one of the slickest utilities ever on a Mac. It pulls in data from all over the country and processes it giving me advisories, watches, warnings, and detailed historical information.
This little tool is called “Wx” which is short for Weather. That’s what you get. Weather. All of it. The only thing you’re missing is the wind in your face, and the flood rising to your knees.
Wx pulls down weather data in the free XML format provided by the U.S. National Weather Service. Yes, weather is free, and there’s more Widgets and tools available to display the day’s or week’s weather than ever before.
Wx is more comprehensive. Configure Wx to track weather conditions for up to 20 different locations. Get weather conditions on your Mac, including warnings, watches, advisories, and live radar information.
Think about what weather really means to you. For Mac360’s Ron, who lives in sunny Honolulu, it means tracking hurricanes and storms and tides and surf conditions.
For Mac360’s Alexis Kayhill, who lives in San Diego, it means the same thing. Ditto for Kate and me in New York. Except for the hurricane part.
We use Wx to monitor ski conditions in the winter, and marine conditions in the summer. Between New York’s sweltering summer heat with thunderstorms that come in from nowhere, to the hundreds of inches of snow upstate, Wx is where it’s at.
Wx can be tuned to be passive or aggressive. Passive pulls down weather conditions on a periodic basis, so you can check when you have time. Aggressive means Wx pulls down weather data on demand so you know what is happening when you want to know.
There’s a handy Dock icon and Dock menu so you can get a quick summary without switching to Wx, and Wx includes a floating miniWx panel so you always know what’s happening where.
The latest version is available for Mac OS X Leopard and comes with an export setting for your iPhone, which lets it use the iPhoneWx web application. It’s a bit slow when using AT&T’s EDGE network, but works fine on WiFi.
As you would suspect with an well crafted Mac utility, Wx gives you information at a glance, or details you can hash over until cows come home and leave again. There’s the large main display window which holds all the information for your selected locations. The radar console is particularly captivating and display seven types of radar, including national site maps, mosaics, and more.
Since the data comes from the U.S. National Weather Service, you standard zone forecasts on your Mac, and you get a graphical point forecast that can be specified in latitude and longitude.
If you’re into weather detail within three mile spatial resolutions, NWS’s National Digital Forecast Database provides the details in Wx.
The National Weather Service has over 1,700 observation sites throughout the U.S. and Wx lets you access the nearest information for even more accurate weather tracking. Setup is simple. Enter a City, State, Zip Code, or ven a location via Google Maps, to get started.
Weather on the go has new meaning for iPhone and iPod users, and award winning Wx developer Dr. Craig Hunter is on top of it with Mobile Wx—set up Wx to a special Safari bookmark, sync your weather via iTunes, and view weather locations and conditions on either iPhone or iPod touch. Truly, this is weather on the go.
If there’s another Mac weather utility that does more than Wx, let me know. I’m the Mac360 resident weather freak. What do you use for weather tracking? How accurate is the data? How easy is it to use? Talk Back to Mac360 in the Comments section below.