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We'll be camping at Yellowstone for a week. What solutions are there to get weather forecasts?

I am aware of:

  • NOAA weather radio: would prefer to avoid if there's anything better because it's bulky and costly (for something that's only used this once and only works in the US)

  • Smartphone + data plan: do not have a smartphone

  • Sign up for text message alerts: weather.com had a service, but despite the still existing webpage it appears to be discontinued (no command works and calling support plays a message saying that subscriptions are discontinued).

Are there other simple solutions that I may have missed?

My cell phone does have a standard FM receiver built in.

  • I made the question specific to Yellowstone only because some services may be available only for certain locations. – Mili Aug 20 '14 at 17:55
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    Frontcountry camping or backcountry camping? If frontcountry, often the campground office has weather forecasts. – gerrit Aug 20 '14 at 18:55
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    Also, do you expect to be in areas with mobile phone coverage? – gerrit Aug 20 '14 at 19:07
  • @gerrit Front-country. It's very useful to know that the office there might have forecasts, I didn't think of this ... (as obvious as it is :). Phone-coverage: I expect sketchy coverage. I have an AT&T pre-paid card. I was hoping that I would be able to receive text messages at least once per day. – Mili Aug 20 '14 at 19:40
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    Just going to say, the lowest tech solution involving your phone will be to call someone back home who has internet access and ask them to look it up for you. If you arrange it ahead of time, maybe you could buy him/her a couple beers afterwards in return for their weather services. – pheidlauf Aug 20 '14 at 19:46
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A forecast should be posted daily at all ranger stations and visitor centers in the park. This will be the most reliable (i.e. not dependent on technology) way to get an up-to-date forecast.

On the National Weather Service website, it says the following:

The National Weather Service does not provide direct email/SMS alerts to the general public.

However, they do have a list of alternative sources for weather alerts via SMS and email. The text service by weather.com looks to be the most promising from what I can see. It appears to be much more up-to-date than the weather.com page you linked to, perhaps it's superceded the page you found.

Most cell carriers allow you to send and receive very short emails via text message. If you send a new text message to an email address instead of a phone number, you'll see what email address corresponds to the phone. For example, mine is <myphonenumber>@vzwtexts.com. You could then use that email address to subsribe to weather alerts if you find a service you like that isn't available via SMS but is available via email.

  • Thank for the answer! Aren't those weather.com alerts only for severe weather conditions? (I'm hoping I'm wrong about this.) Is it also possible to get daily forecasts? The other list from weather.gov also looks like it's mostly severe weather alerts. Sounds like ranger stations would be the most reliable. – Mili Aug 21 '14 at 4:18
  • EXCELLENT answer actually - the NPS and other agencies' visitor centers, etc. are quite good about posting forecasts and such, I can speak from experience. – studiohack Aug 22 '14 at 7:16
  • The most useful bit of into here is that forecasts are posted at ranger stations. I didn't know it was possible to send emails to cell numbers as texts. I used this functionality to pull data from the wunderground API, summarize it and send it to my cell number (running on an Raspberry Pi at home). It also turns out that the weather underground "severe weather" alerts send standard daily alerts (not just severe weather). – Mili Aug 23 '14 at 19:52
  • Awesome! I'm glad you got a system figured out @Mili. – nhinkle Aug 24 '14 at 2:56
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Update after coming back from Yellowstone:

I was originally looking for a way to get frequent weather forecast by text message. As @studiohack pointed out in the comments, cell phone coverage is very spotty in Yellowstone. I have never managed to catch an AT&T signal. Don't count on being able to use a cell phone. That said, Weather Underground can send frequent weather forecasts, not only severe weather alerts (like most services).

The best advice is the one from @nhinkle. Look for weather forecasts at ranger stations, general stores, etc. They have it posted.

These are however daily forecasts, and again as @studiohack mentioned, the weather changes quickly there. A sunny day (and sunny forecast) doesn't mean that there won't be a hailstorm the same night (it happened while we were there).

  • It looks like you have two different TGO user accounts. Either way, an update to your own question is prefered in the form of an answer, as you just did. – ppl Aug 30 '14 at 23:30
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    You should be able to merge your two accounts: outdoors.stackexchange.com/help/merging-accounts – ppl Aug 30 '14 at 23:33
  • @ppl there's nothing wrong with posting a self-answer though. – nhinkle Sep 2 '14 at 3:33
  • @nhinkle Absolutely; but preferably not in the question itself I would say. – ppl Sep 3 '14 at 2:50

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