Tailwinds for you

I wrote an application that checks the weather forecast each morning for select US West Coast cities. If higher winds are forecast, this application automatically tweets the time, direction and speed for your possible beneficial use. You can check my Twitter after 6 AM Pacific for these forecasts.

wind speed and direction tweet

For the set of test tweets shown above, I tweeted the peak wind time regardless of speed, but after today these tweets are only sent when winds are forecast for over 20 MPH in Seattle; Portland, OR; San Francisco; Oakland, CA; San Jose; Santa Cruz, CA; Salinas, CA; Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Winds under 20 MPH are common, so I think that’s a reasonable threshold speed. These wind forecasts will be tweeted out beginning after 6 AM each morning.

I think I’ll add Colorado Front Range locations next, which famously have downslope winds that can exceed 100 MPH. I once clocked 54 MPH while riding a fixed gear bicycle on St Vrain Road in Boulder County with the help of a very strong tailwind. Another time, my riding partner and I struggling against a crosswind watched a barn disintegrate before our eyes somewhere in western Weld County. Note also that high winds can also be associated with storms. Strong winds can be fun, but try not to be too stupid about it.

I also need to add additional California locations in the Central Valley, and perhaps Orange County and the Inland Empire. The free weather API I use is generous but I don’t want to get too crazy about my usage. How about Sacramento; one of Modesto, Merced, or Fresno; Bakersfield; and either Riverside or San Bernardino? Where do people ride in Orange County? Which Ventura County city should I select — something inland like Simi Valley, or a coastal city like Ojai?

I’m looking at the Strava Global heatmap for suggestions, but I’d like your nominations too. What other cities should I add? What’s a good wind speed threshold for your locations?

Update: In testing, I just noticed peak winds for several cities can take place at zero dark thirty, i.e. when everybody is sound asleep. Should I eliminate those 2 AM wind speed forecasts?

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  1. I was wondering how you coded this too. Could you open source it and people could contribute? I would vote for Santa Barbara county

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