Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From Looking for a Landfill to Finding Grass-Roots Weather

On the local news yesterday there was a report of a meeting being held by concerned residents of a very small community about the possibility of a landfill being built near their homes. As I live about 8 miles from this community I took notice. They're talking about the construction of an "inert landfill", meaning that all that's supposed to go into it is stuff like tree branches, cleared brush, and inert construction debris. I was very interested to see just where this potential site was, since they mentioned it was off of a road I take to work each day. But there was no map in any of the reports from the local television news or on-line editions of the newspaper. The only specific location mentioned was that it would be adjacent to a particular subdivision.

So I went to Google to try to find that subdivision. I found some real estate listings for houses for sale in it, but realtors don't like to post addresses in listings any more so I still couldn't get an actual location.

One thing that Google did come up with, though, was a weather report from a weather station located in the subdivision. I thought that somewhat odd, and so followed the link...

And discovered the Weather Underground.

Weather Underground is a commercial weather service that, among other things, collects and distributes weather information acquired by individuals' weather stations that are members of the network. So I checked for my zip code, and boom, there's a weather station located on the same road on which I live not two miles from my house. This is just totally cool.

I checked to see if there were any stations near my parent's home in Minnesota and yep, despite their living in a very small town, someone is running a Weather Underground weather station about three or four miles from their house--through which I discovered they were enjoying sub-zero temperatures this morning (which is a significant factor in my preferring to live in North Alabama rather than anywhere in Minnesota :-).

So I bookmarked my local weather station, and the one near my parents, and was just very pleased to discover that something like this exists.

(As for the landfill, there's still a lot of studies to be done, and so I'll be keeping an eye on it.)

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