You boss just told you to knock out a weather report and you don't have the slightest clue how to begin. You don't have to panic, nor do you have to go outside with a thermometer and look at the sky. You can write a weather report quickly and easily with an easy resource and a few simple steps.
Get the weather for your area. Visit the National Weather Service website and click on the main page map for the weather in whatever area you want to write about (see Resources below). Keep clicking on the map until it is as narrowed down as you want to get. First click on the state, then the city.
Start with existing conditions. Begin your report with the current weather for whatever area you are researching. For instance, let's say you clicked on "Southern Arizona" and then specifically wanted "Tucson." Once your choice is narrowed down, a five-day grid appears across the top of the Web page. "Sun continues through the afternoon in Tucson, with a high of 74 degrees and slight winds of 5 mph."
Note any advisories and warnings, if any. Warnings and advisories are color coded with a key beneath the maps. An area with an advisory or warning will appear in whatever color applies.
Move on to the forecast. "Sun may give way to rain for this evening, with a 10 percent chance of precipitation and a low of 50 degrees. Winds are expected to remain calm at 9 mph."
Choose words and phrases carefully. Since weather is not an exact science, and forecasts often don't match the reality, make sure to use words like "may," "is expected" and "is forecast" instead of "will," "guaranteed" or "You can bet your bottom dollar."
As much as you may want to write, "Rain expected--that stinks," leave your opinion out of it.
If you need additional information, such as hurricane outlooks or rain measurements, the National Weather Service home page has additional options from a menu on the left-hand side.
- Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski