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Weather Forecasting: Who’s More Accurate?

A+screenshot+of+a+forecast+from+The+Weather+Channel.
A screenshot of a forecast from The Weather Channel.

A screenshot of a forecast from The Weather Channel.

A screenshot of a forecast from The Weather Channel.

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Weather can be unpredictable. However, in the years since weather forecasting was introduced, it is becoming easier to predict the weather.

The purpose of weather forecasting is to send information about upcoming weather events to people. They would then use the forecast to plan events and activities, which is why forecasts need to be accurate. But, are local forecasts more accurate than national forecasts? Or, are national forecasts the more accurate ones?

“On most occasions, I look up weather.com and look a day ahead,” said Patterson Mill High School Media Specialist Lucia Samra. “If I have time at home, I’ll look up the local weather station. They’re both really convenient.”

In a self-study conducted in 2012, four weather services were used to test forecast accuracy. Two of them were local (centered in the area forecasted) and the other two were national (centered in one headquarters, usually not the area forecasted). One of them was also used to record the actual weather for the day. After running this test for 50 days, it was determined that The Weather Channel (National) was the least accurate in terms of temperature, forecasting an average high of 68° F and a low of 51°. Compare this to the actual results: an average high of 67° and a low of 45°.

The other national forecast, AccuWeather, predicted an average high of 67°, which is accurate, but predicted a low of 56°, which is not. Therefore, in terms of temperature, local forecasts are more accurate than national forecasts. A local station (WJZ) forecasted an average high of 66° and a low of 46° and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted a high of 67° and a low of 48°, which are both near the actual results. But, what about the actual weather conditions?

“It’s a 50-50 shot,” said Samra. “I think weather is unpredicatable.”

In terms of weather, local forecasts are slightly more accurate, with 15 correct predictions. National forecasts had 13 correct. The other 22 were inconclusive.

“I often use it, especially with school-related activities,” said Samra. “If I need to know whether or not we have to cancel, I’m always looking at the weather 5 days ahead to see if I might need to re-plan.”

Based on all of this data, it can be concluded that local forecasts are, indeed, more accurate than local forecasts. However, this does not mean national forecasts are completely inaccurate. Which one do you prefer?

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Weather Forecasting: Who’s More Accurate?