Ben Ellison over at Panbo pointed out a nice, free software product for downloading and viewing GRIBs the other day. GRIBs are compact files created by NOAA’s forecasting models to predict wind speeds, directions, barometric pressure and rainfall. GRIB.US maintains a server and provides the software to easily select a specific region of the world and download this invaluable weather forecast information. GRIBs are very compact, so they are great for downloading when you have a slow data connection.
The UGRIB software is straightforward and nicely designed. Clicking on a point on the map brings up a neat graph window with wind strength, direction, barometric pressure, and rainfall predictions for that specific area. An animated view shows multi-day forecasts in quick succession to give a nice feel for how things are developing. The actual GRIB files are downloaded to a folder on your computer where they can be loaded by other navigation and routing software, too.
I’m not sure what GRIB.US’s business model is, i.e. whether they will start charging for aspects of the service at some point, but I’m grateful that they’ve created this great service and software. To try it out the service, you’ll need to register on the website.