Have you ever had the experience of enjoying a beautiful, clear or partly cloudy day in which you felt that the temperature was perfect, the atmosphere was just right and everything felt great outdoors? Suddenly, almost without warning, the sky turns almost black and lightning strikes abound and light up the entire landscape and then rain or first hail falls in sheets. The wind is gusting around you and the rain is actually falling sideways. You have to run for cover and the entire atmosphere is quickly turning dangerous and risky. Has this ever happened to you? It has happened to most people at one time or another. Beautiful weather can suddenly turn nasty without much warning.This type of situation is both frustrating and frightening. Many people believe that when a day is beautiful chances are it’s going to stay that way. When this happens, people often take to the outdoors and are often further away from home and shelter than they’d like to be when the weather turns against them. Can this situation be prevented?Of course, no one can control the weather and, though weather forecasting has come a long way over the last 50 years, even the experts, with all the great weather instruments and radar, can be wrong. They are not usually extremely wrong, like they were in decades past, but inclement weather can also take the weather professionals by surprise at times.One very interesting and fun way to learn how to predict weather is by buying a fairly inexpensive set of basic weather instruments or a digital home weather station and learning how to use them appropriately. If one uses this method, they’ll find themselves the envy of those around them, such neighbors and friends, who will be calling them frequently to find out if the weather is going to change.By simply observing their amateur weather instruments and using some common guidelines, the amateur meteorologist can learn to be very accurate in his or her forecasts and predictions. This method, of course, only pertains to their local or neighborhood weather, not forecasting on a national or global basis. Leave the big picture to the humongous, expensive weather instruments that are owned and operated by The National Weather Service or NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration). The local weather is what most people are interested in anyway, so the local amateur weather person can be a great source of information.It also helps to know what a region’s chances are for having inclement or fair weather on a daily or weekly basis. One place to locate this type of information is Intellicast’s Severe Storm Outlook. They have a web site that gives a large color coded map of the US and, the color coding provides a determination about whether the chance of severe weather is General, Slight, Moderate or High Risk. Everyone has access to this site and, if you have any question about what the chances are for inclement weather occurring in your region, you should simply go to this site and take a look at their map.Of course, if you are an amateur weather-bug, you’ll probably have a nice array of your own weather prediction instruments that will help you give a more accurate forecast as you will know what your chances are for rain or shine and you can observe your instruments and make some awesome predictions for your neighbors. A person may even make friendly wagers that, in most cases, can be easily won via the combination of some weather instruments and the Intellicast website.If you do decide to make wagers for fun (or otherwise), you probably shouldn’t share your sources such as your own instruments and the Intellicast website, otherwise, no one will bet with you because you’ll have such a huge advantage.However you use them, amateur weather instruments are both fun and educational. Start using them and then introduce your kids and their friends to them. Before long, there may be a whole neighborhood of weather forecasters around you.