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Providing your own weather forecasting may sound strange, considering the wealth of services available, except a nasty little secret — weather forecasts are broadly based, not detailed to a location — making it a viable option for critical weather-impacted jobs. Weather can vary significantly in areas only a few miles apart.

Here are a few of the products on the market that might help you and your crews anticipate weather changes more precisely.

Davis Weather Monitor II
Standard version, $295; complete version, $395

New Products for Masonry ContractorsThe Davis Weather Monitor II complete version has everything needed for site-specific measuring of temperature, wind speed and direction, wind chill, daily and accumulated rainfall, barometric pressure, humidity and dew point so that supervisors can track micro-meteorological events.

Knowing the weather at any construction location can give you a distinct safety advantage. Davis Instruments has a solar-powered, wireless unit that allows forepersons to see multiple weather conditions at a glance and track changing weather conditions visually using on-screen graphing capabilities. Optional data logging and software packages allow for longer-term weather monitoring, and can be invaluable when filing reports for OSHA and various other agencies.

Another feature is the ability to set alarms for selected functions. For example, if your foreperson is concerned about winds, an audible alarm can be set that will notify him or her whenever the wind speed reaches a given value. Also, an alarm can be set when the temperature or wind chill drops below a certain degree, thus alerting supervisors that it's too cold for proper mortar setting; in the summer, it can notify of when high humidity and temperature can put workers' health and safety at risk.

For more information, visit www.davisnet.com.

Garmin GPSMAP 376C
$999 MSRP; optional automotive kit, $249 MSRP

New Products for Masonry ContractorsGarmin International, Inc. released the GPSMAP 376C, a highly versatile and portable GPS navigator that can display graphical XM WX Satellite WeatherTM data directly on the unit's display.

The GPSMAP 376C can overlay vital weather data directly on the display — information like NEXRAD radar, storm cells, wind speeds, surface temperatures, forecasts and more than a dozen other weather attributes. The weather data is the same leading site-specific, analytical weather technology and data that is provided to professional meteorologists across the United States.

In addition, users will have the capability to utilize the unit's GPS navigation system. Load the GPSMAP 376C with MapSource City Select&#reg; software and you can access voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions to addresses and points of interest throughout the United States and Canada.

Users also have the option of receiving XM Satellite Radio's 150-plus channels of commercial-free music, sports, news, talk and entertainment programming.

The GPSMAP 376C boasts an enhanced high-resolution, 256-color sunlight readable TFT display. For map transfer or software updates, the unit features a fast USB-PC interface. An included 12-volt power/data cable, a 110-volt wall outlet or a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (providing 4-15 hours of battery life, depending on backlight setting and XM usage) powers the unit.

For more information, visit www.garmin.com/mobile.

Costs vary — check with your mobile phone carrier

New Products for Masonry ContractorsRather than adding one more piece of equipment to your list of "must-have" gadgets, why not add a weather service to your existing cell phone? With Weathernews, you can do just that.

By adding the service to your mobile phone, you can get up-to-the-minute weather information, including current conditions, high and low forecast temperatures for the day, relative humidity, seven-day forecasts, Doppler radar, severe weather advisories and more. Weather information can be given by region, city or ZIP code. You can also use the "My Weather" feature to save five different cities so you can quickly and easily access the weather for the locations you care about most.

The Wake Up With WeatherTM alarm clock will not only wake you up, but also give you the day's forecast first thing in the morning. You can even set the alarm to wake you up early in case of bad weather, such as rain, snow or storms.

Weathernews is currently available through Alltel, Cingular, CellularOne, Dobson Cellular Systems, Midwest Carriers, Sprint and Verizon.

For more information, visit www.weathernews.com/us.



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