How accurate is your weather forecast?

StatePoint Media
How reliable are weather applications on our smartphones and/or other tech devices in providing a forecast?

■ StatePoint Media / ContrIbuted

The weather is not just an idle topic for chit chat – it matters. Particularly when you have a vested business interest in the outcome, or you simply want to make plans for the next few hours or days.
These days, there are innumerable sources for weather forecasts widely available. Unfortunately, these sources don’t always say the same thing. So, how do you know which weather forecasting service or app is offering dependable information you can trust?
According to AccuWeather founder, president and chairman Dr. Joel Myers, choosing the most accurate source of weather forecasts and warnings will go a long way to help keep people and their families safe and help to protect businesses’ property and assets as well as minimize liability.
“The greater the accuracy of weather forecasts and warnings, the better the decisions people and businesses can make in the face of hazardous weather events, the more lives are saved, the more property is protected, and the more losses are reduced,” said Myers.
The good news is that weather forecasts are becoming more accurate, thanks to improved data-gathering technology, computers powerful enough to analyze it faster than ever before and better algorithms. Personal technology has also made it possible for individuals to get more localized weather reports, with smartphone apps able to provide weather predictions based on a user’s exact GPS location.
Despite improved capabilities and technologies, many weather providers continue to regularly cough up inaccurate or misleading forecasts to consumers and businesses relying on them. Why? Sometimes it’s due to a flawed algorithm. Other times, it’s a lack of high-quality data, the systemic pessimism or optimism of a particular provider for fear of getting it wrong, or a unilateral system for analysis that relies on computer modeling alone to generate a forecast. While artificial intelligence and supercomputers can perform certain aspects of forecasting, human meteorologists play a vital role in helping average people make sense of it all, say experts.
All weather apps are not equal. In the case of AccuWeather, a leading provider of weather forecasts and warnings globally, leveraging “consensus forecasting,” has proven beneficial, whereby humans and computer models make accurate predictions, and then human meteorologists interpret and communicate the impact.
Indeed, a recent report conducted by independent industry tracker ForecastWatch, analyzing the accuracy of six top global weather forecast providers, reconfirmed that AccuWeather was the clear winner in forecast accuracy and had the highest margin of statistical forecast accuracy in each of three areas it verified: high temperature, precipitation and wind speed.
Available for free on all Android and iOS devices, the award-winning AccuWeather app, can be a good resource before you leave home for the day, connecting to desktop computers and TVs, as well as when you’re on-the-go and using a smartphone or other mobile device, offering push notifications and 24/7 access to weather data and other weather-related tips and resources. It also provides MinuteCast precipitation forecasts, updated minute by minute, up to two hours ahead.
When it comes to weather forecasts, the powerful combination of accuracy and detail – both in location and time – as well as a strong emphasis on how predicted weather conditions will impact users, provides an added layer of insurance for better planning and better living.

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