This evening I had plans to eat with some friends at a lovely outdoor spot in Coral Gables. I anticipated yet another agreeable dining al fresco experience (see my recent post, "Dining al Fresco"). But in South Florida, you can't always count on clear weather. Today turns out to be a case in point. As I write this, dark clouds are gathering and I hear the sound of distant thunder. As if that weren't enough to tell me I won't be eating outside tonight, I also checked the radar.
Online radar has improved enormously in recent years. With a simple click, I can check weather.com for virtually any place in the country and instantly see that area's radar. Not only that, but I can view the radar in motion, so I can tell what direction the rain is coming from and how fast. This isn't just an amusing pastime. Checking the radar helps me in all sorts of practical ways.
Take walking the dog—when it looks like rain, I check the radar. If I see a huge swath of green with dangerous-looking yellow and red cells approaching Miami on the radar screen, I quickly dash outside with Cosmo and get in a quick walk before the rain starts. On the other hand, if the radar indicates that a quick-moving storm is about to hit but soon the sky will clear, I wait until it's over to take Cosmo for a more leisurely stroll. You may scoff at at my bothering to make such precise calculations, but have you ever had to take your poodle out in a downpour so he could relieve himself? Not a pretty picture.
The radar came in handy this afternoon. Even though I could see from my window that it was about to rain, I hoped against hope that the sky would clear in time for our dinner reservation. One glance at the radar, though, and I realized that the dark clouds and thunder outside were only the beginning. The rain extended all the way west to the Gulf of Mexico and would take several hours to pass over Miami before finally departing. Definitely, an evening for a nice cozy indoor meal.
With radar on my side, I always arm myself with an umbrella if the screen shows rain. One less thing to worry about. As a world class worrier, I need all the help I can get.