Is the iPhone weather app better than the National Weather Service?
2 minute read
Safety from winter storms video
Winter weather is dangerous for both humans and animals. Stay warm and take shelter inside unless absolutely necessary. Here’s what you need to know.
Michael V. Petigano, NorthJersey.com
The weather can be unpredictable. Even some of the most confident meteorologists can make mistakes sometimes, but it’s interesting to note how different forecasts are from each other. Many people rely on the weather app on their iPhone, but their forecasts can be very different from other weather forecasts.
Let’s compare the Friday snow day forecast in Paramos between the iPhone weather app in the latest iOS version and the National Weather Service.
Different forecasts for snowfall on Friday
As of 1 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service forecast snow accumulation in Paramus “mainly before 5 p.m.” with a 50% chance of snow falling in the evening, especially before 8 p.m.
The Weather app on iPhone provides a more descriptive look at the weather. At 1 p.m., they said there was a 90% chance of snow within the next hour, but starting at 3 p.m., Apple only showed clouds in its future forecast for later that day. From 3pm until later in the evening, Apple showed no percentage of snow for any of the hourly forecasts.
The National Weather Service and the iPhone weather app shared some similarities with their forecasts with wind gust estimates being in the same range and temperatures also being nearly identical.
While one weather forecast expected snow to fall throughout the day, another predicted that the snow would stop by early afternoon and not continue. Let’s take a closer look at why these forecasts differ in the same region.
How does iPhone get weather data?
Apple gets weather data from a variety of sources. Temperature and precipitation forecasts are provided by The Weather Channel. Apple’s air quality map comes from data by BreezoMeter and QWeather
The National Weather Service has its own data from satellites, Doppler radars, computer models and high-speed communications systems.
Which is more accurate?
Forecast Advisor, which tracks the accuracy of weather forecasts, shows that for the Hackensack area code, it was the Weather Channel, which provides weather to Apple, that had the most accurate forecasts in December with an accuracy rate of about 89%.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service’s Digital Forecast Service and AccuWeather had an accuracy rate of nearly 80% in December for Hackensack.
Why did the predictions stop?
The National Weather Service explains the challenges of trying to predict the weather, saying that the amount of research and data that goes into forecasting makes the process complicated.
NWS forecaster Mark Bloomer explains that they deal with several forecast models that are run multiple times a day and must determine which models are the most reliable by “how well they handle current weather, how realistic their results are, and how consistent their forecasts are.” The prediction models run from round to round.”
Whether it’s through your phone app or through the NWS, meteorologists will never be 100% accurate. So check the forecast, but be prepared for anything.