A Fair-Weather Friend
I must have been a bit under the weather or tired of meteorologists making a fool of themselves on TV lately that I decided to take the matter into my own hands. I looked for an alternative. I went to Fry’s Electronics and bought the La Crosse WS-9611TWC-IT Wireless Forecast Station. It features Oscar, a weather boy icon, wearing an outfit that mirrors the current forecast. If rain is predicted, for example, he will be sporting a raincoat and an umbrella in tow. Since I’m a picture person, if that’s all it can do, I’d be satisfied and considered getting my money’s worth. The fact that it packs more features than that made me believe it I had struck gold. It was a real steal at $25. But as you can see later, all that glitters is not gold.
In addition to Oscar, the screen displays a radio controlled atomic time and date, time alarm with snooze function, indoor and outdoor temperatures, indoor relative humidity, and air pressure trend indicator. But wait, there’s more! It also displays the current moon phase as well as the sunrise or sunset time of any one of the 99 U.S. and Canadian cities.
You can imagine my excitement when I arrived home from the store. As soon as I could catch my breath, I opened the package and set up the weather station. To my chagrin, the outdoor temperature display was blank. I went into trouble-shooting mode and followed all the recommendations from the manual. No dice. WTF. I kept my cool, though. I drove 25 miles back to the store and had it replaced. Just to make sure I didn’t have to go back there a second time, I tested the replacement at the parking lot. To my relief, all the displays came up as they should.
The weather forecast station has been up and running in the living room since I bought it a month ago. I could say that most of the features work as advertised. Oh, the temperature readings may be off a few degrees, but that’s ok. I can live with that. It’s Oscar, the weather boy icon, that’s giving me the fits. His forecasts are way off. It’s been raining all this week and he predicts mostly sunshine and suggests that you dress up accordingly when you go out. That is, without a raincoat and an umbrella. When the sun is up, he suggests that you wear a raincoat and bring an umbrella. I guess it’s better safe than sorry. What if it really rains? You don’t want your butt to get wet in case you slip, do you?
According to the manual, Oscar makes his predictions based on current temperature and outside air pressure. At best, it claims 75% accuracy. From my experience, it’s much lower than that. This winter i’ll have better luck if I don’t follow the forecasts at all. In other words, if Oscar predicts sunshine, I should prepare for rain. Maybe he’ll fare better in the summertime. Who knows? I’d consider Oscar a fair weather friend then, if not right now.
To their credit, the manufacturer has issued the disclaimer stating that this product is for home use only and that its forecast should be taken as an indication of future weather and not as being totally accurate. That being said, let the buyer beware.