Get to Know more Channels for Acquiring Weather Information
Members of the public can obtain information such as weather report, forecast and warning provided by the Hong Kong Observatory via traditional media such as TV, radio, and newspaper. Yet, the weather information might not be updated in real-time on these media owing to their limitations. To provide a convenient way to obtain weather information, the Observatory established the "Dial-A-Weather" hotline in 1985 to enable the public to obtain the latest weather information anytime and anywhere. The hotline is user-friendly. You are welcome to try it at 1878200.
As Internet became popular, the Observatory established its website in 1996 to provide a more convenient way to get access to weather information. In recent years, visitor statistics on the website continues to soar. The website becomes one of the main channels for delivery of weather information. With people-oriented mindset, the Observatory developed dedicated webpages for various communities such as Senior Citizens (Figure 1), Fishermen and Schools, etc. In addition, you may customize your own weather information website (Figure 2) to suit your needs and preferences by selecting color theme and information displayed on the personalized website.
Figure 1 Weather Information for Senior Citizens to better meet the needs of the elderly for weather information
Figure 2 Sample screen of the personalized website showing various gadgets
If you are a PC user and do not wish to miss any important weather information while working, you are strongly encouraged to try the "Weather Wizard"(Figure 3), a user-friendly software gadget developed by the Observatory. The "Weather Wizard" retrieves the latest weather information automatically from the Observatory's website. It will alert you when there is a change in the status of the weather warning signal and so you can concentrate on your work without missing any important weather messages. Currently, version 3.0 of the "Weather Wizard" has been launched with the installation of a number of popular services. These include UV indices, regional wind and rainfall data, satellite and radar imageries, location-based rain forecast, Observatory's tropical cyclone forecast track, and the special weather tips, etc.
Figure 3 Latest weather information is delivered to user's computer through the "Weather Wizard"
In recent years, smartphone has become highly popular and you may already have one. The Observatory launched its smartphone application "MyObservatory"(Figure 4) in 2010 to provide personalized location-based weather service. Currently, the "MyObservatory" supports iPhone, Android and Windows Phone platforms. If you are a smartphone user, you will be kept posted on the latest weather through receiving notifications of weather warnings and Special Weather Tips. If you need to go out for a while, you can learn whether it is going to rain in the next couple of hours by looking at the "Location-based Rain Forecast". If this service is turned on, you will be notified of any rain that may come. What a convenient tool!
Figure 4 The "MyObservatory" provides personalized weather service
Many online users must have used the highly popular social media websites. If you are an experienced user, you may already know that weather warning information can be acquired by following the Observatory's accounts on Twitter and Sina Weibo(Figure 5). Since 2014, users may also obtain information such as special weather tips, weather forecasts, TV weather programmes, "My Location" weather, regional weather, tropical cyclone information, satellite imagery, and weather radar imagery, etc. through the official account "香港天文台 HKO" on WeChat.
Figure 5 Scan the above QR code and connect to the Observatory's accounts on social media websites
Although you may not have tried all of the channels mentioned above, it is hoped that you can know more about them from this article. The Observatory will continue to innovate with a view to developing more useful services for the convenience of the users. One example is the launch of high-resolution weather programmes produced by the "Weather On-Air" team established in late 2013. The programmes are available on free TV channels, "MyObservatory" mobile app and the Observatory's channel on Youtube website. After this introduction, you may have already decided to pick one or two favourites for acquiring weather information. Try them and be a wise user of weather information!