Do you find weather.com inaccurate? Can you recommend a better source for local weather?
August 21, 2004 9:41 AM   Subscribe

WeatherFilter: am i the only one who finds the weather.com predictions for my area to be quite often (wildly) inaccurate? i check the site when i get up to decide whether to drive or ride a bike to work, and i'm getting frustrated at how bad it really is at predicting rain. if there's a 70% chance of afternoon rain as of 8 AM, how much can this really change by noon?

does anyone have a better source for local weather, one that might be more predictable?
posted by caution live frogs to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I won't self-link to it, but I do my own personal weather forecasts on my blog. Among other things (Astronomer, Scientist, Photographer, Art Collector) I am an Amateur Meteorologist for the New Hampshire area and outer space. My forecasts are 100% guaranteed accurate so far and I've been doing them for several months. I do reference Weather.com, though, and it amazes me how different our forecasts are - they are almost 100% wrong.

Here are some tips for translating weather.com into useful info:

-If weather.com says that there will be precipitation, check the probability, even it the probability is only 20%, they will say that there will be precipitation. Follow the probability.

-If weather.com predicts anything more than 3 days in the future, it's completely unreliable. Instead, look at their weather maps and make your own judgements.
posted by crazy finger at 9:59 AM on August 21, 2004


"if there's a 70% chance of afternoon rain as of 8 AM, how much can this really change by noon?"

Considerably. Like the finger says, learn to read the maps for yourself and you will stay drier.
posted by mischief at 10:13 AM on August 21, 2004


Slight hijack, but what does the 70% chance rain mean? Does it mean that of all the times, similar initial state has been observed, 70% times it has rained afterwards?
posted by Gyan at 10:16 AM on August 21, 2004


I haven't really checked it out much, but my brother won't stop singing the praises of accuweather.
posted by ferociouskitty at 10:19 AM on August 21, 2004


I use WeatherBug, but more for the convenience--having live temperature in the system tray, and a little standalone app for maps--than for the accuracy of their forecasts. (I can't even attest to how accurate they really are, since I usually just look at the animated maps and make up my own mind.)
posted by LairBob at 10:20 AM on August 21, 2004


Forgot to post the link (even though it is pretty self-evident)...
posted by LairBob at 10:21 AM on August 21, 2004


i'm a fan of wunderground.
posted by amberglow at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2004


I'll go with amber with wunderground, but if you want to get to the source NOAA
posted by mss at 11:43 AM on August 21, 2004


Third on wunderground and second on accuweather, which I used to use and my mother swears by. And yes, weather.com seems to suck :(
posted by cyrusdogstar at 12:07 PM on August 21, 2004


I used to check several sources for the weather, the NOAA was consistently the most accurate, so I've dropped the other ones...

Be careful with Weatherbug, it can sometimes wreak havoc with your system, and is extremely ad-heavy.

And Gyan, yes. A 70% chance of rain means that, for all the other times conditions were similar, it rained 70% of the time. I do not, however, know what the thresholds are for determing "similar" (the same humidty? Within 5 percentage points? 10?, etc).
posted by jalexei at 12:21 PM on August 21, 2004


Weatherbug sucks, and I believe it's either spyware or malware.

I've had good luck with Yahoo's weather page.

And thanks, jalexei, I've always wondered what the "x% chance of precipitation" meant.
posted by Vidiot at 1:09 PM on August 21, 2004


wunderground is good, and I find it to be pretty accurate. Of course, at the moment I live in a place where the weather is the same every goddamn day for 9 months of the year.

Actually, I think that's the only way to ensure predictability in your weather report - move to a place where the weather is in fact predictable. In a place like new england (where I used to live), meteorology just doesn't seem up to short term predictions at all. The number of interacting factors is too high to allow any kind of accuracy, especially on a local scale for the next few hours.
posted by advil at 1:14 PM on August 21, 2004


12-hour Probability of Precipitation (PoP12), is the likelihood, expressed as a percent, of a measurable precipitation event (1/100th of an inch) at a grid point during the indicated valid period.
posted by geoff. at 1:15 PM on August 21, 2004


I use weatherbug and while it is very ad heavy, i can't find anything to lead me to believe its spyware or malware.
Of course I also use privoxy and my hosts file to take the ads off so I could be missing something. Spybot s&d and adaware both say it's fine though.

I think its a pretty good application for quick maps and temperature
posted by bob sarabia at 1:17 PM on August 21, 2004


Unfortunately, weather.com is pretty much worthless. Even their current conditions in my area are inaccurate, and those don't require much beyond proper instrumentation. The forecasts are so wildly inaccurate as to be laughable; at the slightest cloud in the air, they will forecast rain.
posted by majick at 1:23 PM on August 21, 2004


Try weather.gov, which is the official forecast from the National Weather Service.
posted by calwatch at 1:47 PM on August 21, 2004


It's specialized for stargazers, but the Clear Sky Clock is a wonderful resource.
posted by Songdog at 6:35 PM on August 21, 2004


thanks, everyone. i was wondering if it was just me... was getting unhappy with the wather.com website, especially after their redesign (made it take more clicks to get to an hourly forecast). seems odd that they want me to pay for more detailed info when what they already have isn't helpful - i had better luck just looking out the window and guessing.

think i might stick with the NOAA site, i bookmarked the local point forecast. i've seen the weather underground site, but never really checked it for daily forecasts - we'll see, i'll give all your suggestions a whirl and see what suits my needs best, but i'm pretty sure weather.com is off my list of places i can count on. i do hate driving to work and then finding out it didn't rain at all, i'd rather ride my bike while it's still warm enough to do so.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:25 PM on August 21, 2004


national weather service
google: nws: i'm feeling lucky
posted by kid_twist at 7:21 PM on August 22, 2004


weather.gov and nws.noaa.gov are the same thing. It's just weather.gov sounds cooler.
posted by calwatch at 3:12 PM on September 6, 2004


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