Well, let me ask you this: Lets say youre confronted with a sudden weather change." What exactly are you going to do? Run for the car? Pull out an umbrella? I mean, weather happens. Better to be prepared for it than expect to dodge it.
That said, Im more than a little bit of a weather junkie, so there certainly are some things you can do. I do like the weather radio bit, for instance. Midland makes a pretty good one called the 74-250C ($35; midlandradio.com), which receives all the NOAA weather channels. I wont guarantee reception everywhere, but you should do OK in most places.
I also think it reasonable to have a pocket altimeter. Any garden-variety altimeter watch offers that feature, because, after all, an altimeter is simply a barometer with different calibration. Bruntons Nomad V2 Pro ($139; brunton.com) is accurate and compact, although not wristwatch-size. It also has a compass feature, so is a useful gadget. Suuntos Core I find rather pricey at $250 (suunto.com), but its a nice instrument and very accurate. But an altimeter/barometer doesnt forecast" the weather any more than a watch forecasts the future. They simply detect changes in barometric pressure, which in turn may indicate changes in the weather.
But there are lots of other resources. You have a Washington state address so maybe you do a lot of trips around here. The regional National Weather Service web site (wrh.noaa.gov/sew/) offers detailed forecasters short- and long-term discussions, giving you a heads-up on weather thats a week out. This is a tough area in which to forecast, but Ive found their forecasts for 48 hours and less to be extremely accurate. Those from 48 to 96 hours are reasonably accurate; anything from 96 hours out is a decent guess but subject to change. The forecasters would agree with this assessment, Im sure. So right away you can leave the house with a good snapshot of whats going to happen. The weather radio may give you more updates.
Then, I always recommend learning to read the weather yourself. Really, sudden" weather changes arent that sudden. There typically are lots of atmospheric tips that something is in the works. Get a copy of KING-TV weather guy Jeff Renners excellent book, Mountain Weather: Backcountry Forecasting and Weather Safety For Hikers, Campers, Climbers, Skiers, and Snowboarders. Its $15 (buy it at amazon.com), and with a few reads youll be divining the sky like a seasoned pro.
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