Even if you're not one to trust a groundhog's shadow as your weather vane, watching a pet rodent emerge from a hole before hundreds of onlookers is a fascinating North American ritual. The rest of us may not have the prognosticating meteorological savvy of a Punxsutawney Phil, Buckeye Chuck, or Shubenacadie Sam, but on February 2, we can have the next best thing--weather widgets and applications.
Here are some of our favorite ways to read the mercury on our Windows PCs.
Weather Watcher Live
A full, but well-ordered display, detailed forecast, animated map, and severe weather alerts are just a few reasons to download this free, longtime favorite. Hour-by-hour forecasts, wind, rain, and dew point particulars, plus a ticker of weather-related news stories, are a handful more.
Yahoo Widgets Engine
Small, light on resources, slickly designed, and persistent, Yahoo's attractive, free weather widget gives you a basic reading of current conditions at a glance. Another click brings you a multiday forecast for any city of your choice, and a swelling gallery of user-generated widgets gives you greater weather widget alternatives online.
What's true for Yahoo Widgets hold for Google's version of its desktop software, which throws a search bar in with its free desktop enhancer. Google supplies its own weather widget, with several user-submitted widgets, such as a weather globe.
For U.S. residents, the free version of Weather Depot provides plenty of maps and current temperatures for five saved locations. An hour-by-hour planner and 7-day planner round out the tools. The premium version gives you a 14-day look ahead and detailed conditions for everything ranging from soil temperature to severe weather forecasts.