Know why there’s no sun up in the sky

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

The Weather Chan­nel 24 hours, Fox­tel and Aus­tar

WHO would have thought a de­tail such as the weather could jus­tify an en­tire 24/ 7 chan­nel of its very own? Well, me­te­o­rol­o­gists, for a kick- off. And the me­te­o­rol­o­gists of the lo­cal Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy, known af­fec­tion­ately as the BOM, pride them­selves th­ese days on fore­casts that are ac­cu­rate about 85 per cent of the time.

So 15 per cent of the time they’re wrong or re­vis­ing a pre­vi­ous fore­cast.

And this is why, last Satur­day, your cor­re­spon­dent de­cided Syd­ney’s win­ter, which had been drag­ging its cold heels, was fi­nally over. The BOM’s pre­dic­tion, printed on Fri­day in this pa­per for Satur­day, sug­gested a sunny day with temps be­tween 11C and 20C.

Dur­ing the 45- minute drive from my home to the Royal Na­tional Park, with its splen­didly iso­lated, gen­er­ally pris­tine beaches, the tem­per­a­ture dropped about 10C and clouds gath­ered omi­nously. With them, my idea of an early mark to spring died, too.

If only I had checked the Weather Chan­nel be­fore leav­ing home.

Of course I could have tuned in any rea­son­able ra­dio sta­tion on the hour to check if the fore­cast had been re­vised. But the stark and per­haps widely un­known ad­van­tage of the Weather Chan­nel is its Weather Ac­tive fea­ture, which de­liv­ers up- tothe- minute fore­casts as well as a bar­rage of in­for­ma­tion on the weather gen­er­ally, for your post­code, on de­mand. And not just in metropoli­tan ar­eas but across the coun­try.

As with cer­tain pay- tele­vi­sion sports and mu­sic chan­nels, where a press of the red but­ton on the re­mote de­liv­ers ex­tra games or ex­tra mu­sic chan­nels piggy- backed on to the same fre­quency, a push of the red but­ton while tuned to the Weather Chan­nel de­liv­ers the goods for your post­code, or, in some ru­ral ar­eas, the near­est ex­ist­ing weather sta­tion.

Trav­ellers, es­pe­cially those who fly in­ter­state reg­u­larly, can use an ad­di­tional ser­vice by press­ing the blue but­ton, then choos­ing the weather for a des­ti­na­tion.

If you go of­ten to the same places, you can even set up a favourites list with the weather at all your pre­ferred des­ti­na­tions at your fin­ger­tips.

But there’s more to the weather chan­nel than Weather Ac­tive. A host of toothy and cheer­ful pre­sen­ters such as Gavin Mor­ris, is al­ways on hand to de­liver reg­u­lar pro­gram­ming and break­ing weather up­dates, for ex­am­ple on the havoc wreaked re­cently by Hur­ri­cane Gus­tav in the US.

Con­tent in­cludes reg­u­lar spots such as snow­casts, beach and surf re­ports, weather whys ( ex­plain­ing all that stuff about cold fronts and high pres­sure sys­tems other ser­vices just as­sume you know all about) and coun­try skies ( weather fore­casts for Aus­tralia’s key agri­cul­tural re­gions).

My ad­vice? Don’t without it.

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Ian Cuth­bert­son

Frontal at­tack: The Weather Chan­nel’s Gavin Mor­ris

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