Yesterday we had lunch with a friend out on the tip of Anna Maria Island at a place called the Rod and Reel [875 N Shore Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216, 941- 778-1885, Get directions).
This place is hard to describe … fishing pier, bait shop, bar, restaurant, all built at the end of a pier overlooking the blue waters of Tampa Bay where it meets the Gulf of Mexico. It has lots of character, charm and color (e.g., the men’s room is marked “Outboards,” the Ladies room “Inboards.” The food is good and affordable, but the ambience is priceless.
But while my friends smoked, I wandered around and noticed a peculiar mast atop the building, fitted with solar panels. When I went to investigate, I found that it is a weather monitoring station, with website listed.
Turns out there are quite a few of these stations scattered about the region, and their website will tell you where they .. and YES, you can view current, local conditions.
Cool? Take a look: http://comps.marine.usf.edu/
Click the rectangle in the center of the map to see that inset in detail. Station 23 is the one at the Rod and Reel; 21 is at Mote Marine near New Pass in Sarasota.
Now if there were just a live webcam at each site!