There are several sources of weather information available to help farmers make better crop production decisions. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University Extension climatologist, provides the following directions.
* To see the forecast for your ZIP code, go to www.weather.gov. Click the general location of interest within the U.S. map. Then click your "exact" location. If you miss it a bit, don't worry. You get a chance to put in your ZIP code.
This gives your 7-day forecast. Note that you can check the time the wind shifts, the rain starts and other weather-related events by clicking "Hourly Weather Graph" at the lower right portion of the page.
* Information such as wind speed and low temperature also can be found at www.weather.gov. Return to the page showing the map of your location. You'll see a long column of terms on the left that includes "Climate" and "Local" on the screen. The link is marked with a brown box at the bottom of the vertical blue bar in the graphic.
* If you choose "Local" you will get another screen. The site automatically takes you to the "Observed Data" tab. The first choice, "Daily Climate Report (CLI)" will give you yesterday's weather information for the city you select. You also may choose "Preliminary Climatology Data (CF6)" to get daily records for the past months.
* Data can also be obtained for the ISU Agronomy farms that have weather stations. Choose the network from the list in the lower left corner. For 20-minute or even minute by minute data of wind direction and speed as well as temperature and other data, see the ASOS and AWOS networks listed in a bar across the top of the Mesonet page.