When I’ve spoken to holiday makers, one of the most common mistakes is getting the weather wrong. Yes the holiday is a bargain, but will you be staying inside the hotel during your stay and not on the beach?
All travel brochures have tiny graphs that give a rough indication of the average weather conditions. But are these averages the average highs, lows or just the average? One tour operator gives a brief introduction to the weather in Mauritius listing the average temperature and rainfall. There is no mention of the cyclone season that runs from November to May.
You may already have your favourite weather forecast website, but I have listed a few here. They are mainly American biased, but should still prove really useful in determining the best time to visit a particular destination, or to find out what you should pack if you are already booked.
This website provides local forecasts for everywhere in the United States and over two million locations world-wide. They also provide more detailed information to paying customers. Their HQ claims to have the greatest number of forecast meteorologists in one location anywhere in the world.
Input the city and click on search. This British site uses information provided by the Met Office
Weather information is found in a similar manner to the BBC site. The site also contains information such as weather maps and allergy reports. There are also links to weather emergency sites such as disaster relief and NOAA weather radio.
This website forecasts the weather for 60,000 sites in the U.S. and around the globe. It offers detailed local forecasts to hurricane tracks, severe weather warnings and international conditions.
The Met Office
The home site for the Met Office, which is a Trading Fund within the British Ministry of Defence. The site also provides a useful iGoogle gadget to send customised weather information direct to your desktop.
The National Severe Storms Laboratory
If you’re really worried about the weather, then perhaps you should check this site out. Their team is committed to their mission to understand the causes of severe weather and thereby give out better warnings.
This isn’t a forecast website; instead it lists the average weather conditions for various locations throughout the world. They have collected, from a number of sources, comprehensive information for 16,439 cities world-wide. It doesn’t cover everywhere, and some locations such as Sharm el Sheik will take some detective work, but it is on the whole very useful. You can even switch between imperial and metric units.
The Weather Channel
This site is operated by the Weather Channel cable TV channel and has over 40,000,000 hits every month. Most of the cities in the world are covered. You just have to enter the city name into the search box and click ‘go’. If there is more than one city with the chosen name, then a list of options in a drop down menu is generated.
There is also other weather related information on this site including weather maps, weather headline news, tropical updates and storm watch. It is also possible for users to customise the weather information that they wish to receive from the site.
Weather Underground is committed to delivering the most reliable, accurate weather information possible. Their state-of-the-art technology monitors conditions and forecasts for locations across the world, so you’ll always find the weather information that you need.
As with the previous sites, there is a search box. This one will also accept the airport code. If your search term generates a list, just click on the location of interest. Depending on the location you could be shown the current conditions, including information such as temperature, wind-chill, humidity, dew point, visibility, flying rule, and wind speed, a five day forecast, a seven day forecast, historical maximum and minimum temperatures. It is also possible to find astronomical times, and links to other sites that provide satellites and radar images, ski conditions, weather maps, and marine weather.
A similar site to Weatherbase, WorldClimate.com gathers in one place a world-wide range of climate data in an easy-to-use form.
Weather2Travel.com also provides climate content providers with extensive coverage that spans major cities and holiday destinations in every country of the world. It combines historical data with short range forecasting. It also has a more graphical interface than Worldclimate and Weatherbase.
This website also suggests destinations based on weather in your chosen month of travel.
World Meteorological Organization
Weather information from the United Nations. It’s a great website if you are really into weather, but it does have forecasts, including smart phone apps.
This isn’t really a website to use when making travel plans. It’s just a bit of fun. It uses a set landscape picture to show the current weather conditions of your place of interest. So you can choose a beach, a farm or even an airport and the scene will match the weather.