Jesse Ferrell

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MinuteCast vs. Yard Sale Weather

May 8, 2014; 1:09 PM ET

UPDATE: The 2014 yard sale was a success, thanks to MinuteCast! Friday stayed dry; Saturday threatened rain early in the afternoon. I watched MinuteCast on my Amazon Kindle, and (as you can see below) it gave me ample time to plan how to move everything into the garage.

MinuteCast: 44 minutes until rain starts

ORIGINAL BLOG MAY 8th: For the last 16 years, I have participated in (neigh -- organized and obsessed over) a local community yard sale here in Central Pennsylvania. Each year, the weather presents various logistical problems. Wind can topple tables and displays. Rain can ruin merchandise and slow down visitors and profit, as can extreme heat or cold. This year I have a new tool to warn myself and my neighbors when rain will arrive, with enough lead time that product can be moved inside or outside with ease. This tool is called: Minutecast.

No longer will I have to use "the finger method" on my computer's radar display to estimate when rain will arrive. Instead of following the more complicated or subscription tools I previously used, now meteorologists and non-meteorologists alike can use this tool to predict the arrival and departure time of rain at their location. Just input your zipcode on (web or mobile), press the MinuteCast button, and input your street address. It's also available on our iOS7 app.

(PHOTO: Rain significantly reduced visitors Saturday, May 11, 2013, at my yard sale). Right now this year's yard sale looks to be one of the hottest, and rain is possible on Saturday, if not late Friday afternoon, so I should be able to put MinuteCast through the paces. I'll be able to move my stuff into the garage just before the rain, and put it back out as soon as the rain will stop for a while, and tell my neighbors to do the same.

Here's a look at the last nine years of yard sale weather:*

Last year went down as the rainiest yard sale weekend, with over an inch of rain falling. However, 9 out of 13 yard sales featured rain, so using MinuteCast is going to be a smart option. Ironically the earliest yard sale was also the hottest - April 30-May 1, 2010. The coldest was Sept. 16-17, 2011 (although fall doesn't necessarily mean better weather -- all three sales had temperatures averaging more than 5 degrees away from normal, and two out of three had rain). The first three years were cold (as chilly as 41 at setup time) but 2011 won for overall cold. Technically the windiest was 2009, although that wind gust hit after the sale ended on Friday, winds were gusting over 30 mph as the sale closed.

(PHOTO: From my blog on the 2006 yard sale, which was our largest and was threatened by heavy rain: "The weather cooperated fairly well, though there were a few spoiling showers and occasional high winds.")

*DISCLAIMERS: I am using our local airport for reports. 2010-2012 contained both a fall & spring yard sale. 2008-2010 contained both a yard sale in State College, Pennsylvania, as well as in Milesburg, Pennsylvania. The weather history is kind of misleading since it includes the 48 hours from midnight Friday morning to midnight Saturday night, and the yard sale is only 8-3, but this was the simplest way to get the data. All data is shown below.

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About This Blog

Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.