Beginner | Flow of the Week: Get Seattle weather reports delivered to my email.

Hi Flow Friends,

It’s starting to finally feel like Spring season up here in the Greater Seattle area!

However, this also means there are days that will start nice and sunny and somehow turn dark, dreary and rainy at the tip of a hat. As someone who commutes far to work, I often pack business clothes for a full day of work and pack some active clothes for playing ultimate frisbee in the afternoon or evening.

But like every proper Seattlite, I need to know when it’s going to rain so I know to pack all my rain gear (rain jacket, umbrella, rain boots) and when to leave it all at home when it’s going to be sunny.

Here are the decision scenarios I need to make, written out as logic statements:

  1. If “Is it going to rain?” = TRUE, then BRING rain gear.
  2. If “Is it going to rain?” = FALSE, then DO NOT bring rain gear.

Hmmm, checking the weather is something I would need to do every day (i.e. recurring manual task) to make sure I make the right decisions on what to pack (i.e. results from recurring manual tasks impact my success of my work day)…

With the themes of “recurring manual tasks” and making an impact on the success of my work day – this sounds like the perfect problem to solve with Microsoft Flow!

Lucky for me, Microsoft Flow already has a template for to address this kind of scenario: CLICK here for the “Get daily weather reports delivered to your email and phone”.

LET’S BEGIN! The following steps outline how to plug-and-chug your scenario requirements and parameters into a Microsoft Flow template.

1. Open the Microsoft Flow template.

Just as the arrows in any Flow suggest, we start our plug-and-chug from the top of the Flow with our trigger (in this case, it is the blue “Recurrence” box) and work our way down with the following actions we expect to follow due to the trigger being set off. The template already has a few suggested inputs (ex. in the grey “Condition” box, it suggests using whatever value “Rain Chance” may be as the condition you check to execute the following steps) to consider. 

2. Identify “How often do I want to check the weather?” – i.e. “Recurrence”.

For example, I want to check:

  • Everyday: Interval = 1, Frequency = Day
  • Or every start of a new work week (Mon) at 7:30AM: Interval = 1, Frequency = Week, Start time: 2018-04-30T09:30:00Z, On these days: Monday, At these hours (0-24): 9, At these minutes: 30. Click “Show advanced options” to edit these fields.

For today’s FOTW, I want to check every day @ 7:30AM (PST) so I can know what I should pack before I leave for my commute in the morning:

3. Identify “What geographical location do I want to check the weather for?” – i.e. “Location”.

Both my work and post-work activities thankfully take place in the same area, so for the purposes of planning out my day, I will want to check the weather for the Kirkland, WA area, so will use the Postal Code “98033”.

4. Identify “What units do I want to see my weather report in?” – i.e. “Get forecast for today (Imperial/Metric).

In case I ever want to scale my Flow to a global location or have someone who may be familiar with either Imperial or Metric, I will provide both.

5. Apply your logic condition – “If chance of rain is HIGH, email me to bring rain gear. Else, email me to leave rain gear at home.”

The Flow template already suggested the input “Rain Chance”, which works perfectly for my scenario!

6. Identify what actions you want taken “if YES” or “if NO” conditions are met. The template makes this super easy by already plugging in a suggested Body text (HTML formatted for easy customization) to get you started. This is the email I expect to be sent to me “If the weather is good” – i.e. “If it’s NOT going to RAIN, leave rain gear at home!” and “If the weather is bad” – i.e. “If it’s GOING to RAIN, bring rain gear!”.

7. Click “Save Flow” at the bottom of your Flow to save all the steps you’ve created.

8. Once the Flow runs, this is the formatted email I would receive to the email address I used to sign in to my Flow account:

9. Last minute, I wanted to change the wording of my email subject line to “Fair weather: leave rain gear at home!”. I jumped into my Flow, made that edit to the email subject line, and used the handy new Test Flow feature to use old data from previous runs to see how the email would look from a recipient point-of-view:

After hitting “Save & Test”, you can watch the Flow execute step by step based on the previous data and incorporating your new edits. Saves on the number Flow runs you do!

And this is the adjusted email I get, just minutes later after clicking "Test Flow":

And you’re DONE!!

Now you are all equipped with a Flow that will help you make better packing decisions for your busy days out and about at work and post-work activities. :)

Overall, I hope this FOTW helped walk you through how to use Microsoft Flow templates as an easy way to plug & chug you scenario requirements and how to use the new Test Flow feature to quickly test quick edits to your Flow.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!

Happy Flowing,

-AT (Flow Community Admin)