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National Weather Service explains why our weather records come from Logan, where the weather isn't the same as in much of the rest of Boston

The local National Weather Service answers a frequently asked question:

We receive a lot of enquiries why we don't move our climate site away from Logan Airport given it is perceived to be unrepresentative of Boston. Here's a thread on why it's not that easy from a bureaucratic standpoint or even climatologically desirable to move it

The primary purpose of the Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) is to support Aviation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the full say on the contract observer. The ASOS itself would only be moved ever if the FAA or Airport Authority needed it it moved.

The Logan site is not alone at being unrepresentative of the city is associated with. Cincinnati & Pittsburgh are two others with airports well outside city limits. Also, if we create a new site, it takes 30 years for new climate normals to become official.

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Comments

The easy thing to do is to make Hanscom Field in Bedford the Boston-area site. Hanscom's weather is generally much more representative of the Boston area than is Logan's.

The problem arises especially when there's an east or southeast wind and there's a big difference between the air temperature inland and the water temperature in Boston Harbor. For example, on a warm May day with an east breeze, it might be 85F in Bedford and but only 65 at Logan. The issue is really important in winter, when the water temp is warmer than the air temp. With any east or southeast wind, the relatively-warmer water temp makes Logan's air temp significantly warmer than Bedford's.

While it's true that places like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have airports well outside the city (Cinci's is even outside the state!), the meteorological difference between Pitts/Cinci's airports and their respective cities is way, way less than between Boston and Bedford.

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Voting closed 19

The weather broadcasters have strayed so far from the actual temperature that it has been rendered insignificant. They report the "wind chill" and the "heat index" as gospel, disregarding the actual, technical temperature. It's 30 degrees but will feel like 17". Just tell me the temperature please, and let ME decide what it "feels" like.

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The problem is, when the weathermeister sez "It's 30 degrees but will feel like 17," you can't know what 17° feels like -- because when the actual temp is 17°, we''re told that it feels like 9°.

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I have been making this exact complaint for years

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They all, every one of them, use the NWS forecast as the basis for their own forecasts. They try to embellish it so it looks like they're doing something original, but it all starts with the NWS data. You don't need them; you can get the NWS forecast directly from https://forecast.weather.gov/. If you don't like the Logan forecast, pick some other locale.

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Build your own weather station. Everyone knows about how the yeast wind works. Don Kent knew it, Harvey Leonard knew it, Bob Dole knew it, Matt Noyes knows it, Cindy Fitzgibbon knows it, and the American People know it. All that matters in February is whether the #7 bus can make it down Broadway and the #28 can make the hill on Blue Hill Ave.

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Voting closed 19

I'm not sure what people are going for here. Sure the current temperature at Logan isn't exactly what it will be out your front door, but it's New England, it's going to be different in 15 minutes anyway.

As for Hanscom, the weather there is often materially different than it is in the city proper as the water and urban heat island tend to moderate the extremes. And you can get all sorts of onshore winds and other quirky things that extend 2-5 miles inland on occasion. For that matter, the weather can be as different from JP to Harvard Square as it can be from those to Logan.

If you want hyper-local observations, Weather Underground lets you see privately-owned stations all over--it looks like there's a couple dozen in the 617 area. This nasty link goes to their "Wundermap" and if you select "Weather Stations" then "Temperature/Wind" you can see what is going on around the area. As of right now, it's about 75° all over but if a front is moving through or we're getting an onshore wind it can become more dynamic.

https://www.wunderground.com/wundermap?lat=42.342987&lon=-71.06682600000...

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I've spent lots and lots of time at Hanscom. It represents the weather in the western suburbs. (Bedford, Lincoln, Concord.) But Logan is better representative of downtown Boston. And by "Downtown" I'm talking about the Common.

But that's the problem with coastal cities with jagged coastlines and a fair amount of hills once you get inland -- there's no good definition of where the official weather should be recorded. On most days it's going to feel considerably different on the Greenway vs Brighton vs Hyde Park.

So Logan is a reasonable compromise. Most residents figure out that if it's 50 and sunny at Logan, it probably feels warmer a few miles away in Brighton. Or if it's 33 and raining at Logan, expect a snow/rain mix on the way into the city.

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Voting closed 23

This part gets me

The Logan site is not alone at being unrepresentative of the city is associated with. Cincinnati & Pittsburgh are two others with airports well outside city limits.

Logan Airport is definitely within the City of Boston (yes, part of the runways are in Winthrop, but that's not where the weather station is.) Moreover, Logan is only a few miles from downtown, which makes it a good data source. City centers matter.

In any event, when I enter my zip code, I used to get Milton-Blue Hills conditions, and now I get Norwood Airport conditions, which are physically closer to my location. I believe accuweather gives me conditions in Cleary Square, which is great, especially if I am doing a run over that way. Now, accuweather isn't as accurate as NWS, but it's something.

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Voting closed 20

In recent years, you .. yourself or business can become a weather station and report 'officially' for AccuWeather. All it takes is for you to shell out the $ for the station equipment. Its not hard, but its your job to maintain it (for accuracy).

Its just more and more common now. I live less than 2mil from Logan and I get access to 3 closer places for conditions (all of which are within Chelsea)

(edit: fixed the whole you cant have a greater than sign thing)

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You want & gt ; (no spaces) to make >

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Weather Underground (www.wunderground.com) which is owned by the Weather Channel (along with its own presentation) allows personal weather stations that meet their technical requirements to connect and provide data. There are several in Roslindale or vicinity.

One is on Murray Hill Rd just off Roslindale Sq, and another is on Rosecliff St just a stone throw from Tony's Market. Rosecliff is at a slightly higher elevation and that can be shown in air temp differences.

All data is measured at these independent stations in this area. For local wants this is pretty good.

You can scroll through these stations and bookmark then for quick access.

I find their 10-day forecast graph to be quite useful.

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Voting closed 8

Wunderground is great - though I think they took a dip in quality after being acquired by weather.com and some of the stations are frankly reporting batshit data.

One thing I’ve noticed this summer when comparing local wunderground station data (westy) with Kbos is just how much lower the dew points seem to be at Logan. Many recent humid days, the reported dew point at Logan has been under 60. This is fake news for the rest of the city, where dew points have clearly been in the mid 60s.

Surprised that the seaside situation of the airport would keep the humidity down so much.

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What about the Blue Hills observatory as a temp taker?

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Enough to matter? I don't know.

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(aka George Carlin) on the Smothers Brothers show used to wonder about it too, because, as he said, "nobody lives at the airport".

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The reason they collect the data at airports is that flight is weather dependent. If it's 40 a Logan but 30 in Roslindale, they won't have to deice the planes.

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Now, stop complaining. Else they might put that doppler radar in your backyard….

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