Weather apps and sites you don

Obtain accurate weather forecasts and data from these sources for free or for a relatively small fee.

  Photo of screenshots of meteorological data from Google Assistant, Apple Weather, Bing, Amazon Alexa and DuckDuckGo.

Photo: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic

The weather affects everyone, but we don't always pay attention to the source details of the weather forecasts we see, hear or read. The weather can make the difference between an easy or difficult trip, on-time or delayed deliveries, and / or successful or canceled events. That is the reason why transportation providers, delivery services and the main outdoor event managers pay significant fees for personalized weather forecast information.

Almost everyone, from individuals to small and medium-sized organizations, can access a significant amount of highly detailed and accurate information. weather information. Below, we explain how to better understand the source of the weather forecast information, identify accurate forecast providers for a location, and obtain additional weather data for free or for a relatively small fee.

SEE: How are relief workers using data analysis to support and measure their efforts (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. Start the search

If you have a computer connected to the Internet, you have access to a weather forecast. Search for the keyword "weather" along with a name or location identifier (such as a zip code), and the results will show the current temperature and a forecast. Voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri also answer questions related to the weather, such as "what will be the weather forecast for tomorrow?" or "will it rain today?"

Meteorological data providers vary by provider. For example, Google delivers data from The Weather Channel in response to weather queries from Google.com and Google Assistant. The Weather Channel also provides data for both Apple's Weather app on iPhone and for Siri responses. Microsoft's Bing and Windows 10 weather applications are based on Foreca forecasts. Amazon's Alexa sources come from AccuWeather, while DuckDuckGo provides the results of its Dark Sky partner ( Figure A ).

Figure A

  Screenshots showing the weather in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from each of the 5 different sources listed.

Different applications depend on different data sources. From left: Google Assistant (Weather.com), Apple Weather (The Weather Channel), Bing (Foreca), Alexa (AccuWeather) and DuckDuckGo (Dark Sky).

2. Look for precise sources

The accuracy of different forecasters varies. ForecastAdvisor allows you to enter a location and then provides a precision classification of the performance of the forecast providers for that location. Compared providers include AccuWeather, Dark Sky, Foreca, MeteoGroup, National Weather Service, The Weather Channel, Weather Underground and World Weather Online. Note: "Persistence", which is also on the list, is simply a forecast that predicts tomorrow's weather will be exactly the same as today's weather. Persistence provides a baseline forecast against which to measure other forecasts.

For example, The Weather Channel can provide the most accurate forecast during the last year for a location, while in another area, AccuWeather can score better. ForecastAdvisor can help you identify a weather forecaster to rely on for each site ( Figure B ).

Figure B

  Screenshot showing "Accuracy data from last month's weather forecast" and "Weather forecast Last year's accuracy data" for several different sources "data-original = "https://tr2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/07/16/4438e708-00ac-45b6-ae43-030eef1cb870/resize/770x /d3c4a5ea328d306d4ee9aba534821921/img-1504.jpg[1965902323sScreenshotquemuestra"Datosdeprecisióndelpronósticodeltiempodelmespasado"y"Pastweatherforecastaccuracydata"forseveraldifferentsources

Enter a location in ForecastAdvisor, then compare the accuracy of the previous forecast for several different weather forecast services. Different sources may be more accurate in different locations.

3. See different forecasts

Windy provides free access to forecasts based on four different models, along with a compelling weather data visualization application on the web, as well as Android and iOS applications. You can choose to show wind, temperature, radar, air quality and much more. The application includes access to meteorological data (known as METAR) from airports.

Windy also offers the possibility to view four different forecasts simultaneously. These include the basic model of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a regional model administered by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, a model developed by Meteoblue, as well as a model of the European Center for Forecasts Meteorological Medium Range. A review of these four forecasts can help give you a good idea of ​​the potential climate range for a location ( Figure C ).

Figure C

  The screenshot shows the map of wind flow and temperatures to the top; then four sets of forecast data, each in a horizontal row of NOAA, ECMWF, Meteoblue and NCEP. "data-original =" https://tr3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/07/16/ 9ddf9e13-b600-4dbc-83ed-302c37873c18 / resize / 770x / 388e90f741c76a9fc7af8c963c521607 / img-1505.jpg [19659030] The screenshot shows the wind flow and temperatures at the top; then four sets of forecast data, each in a horizontal row of NOAA, ECMWF, Meteoblue and NCEP.

Windy includes the ability to view forecasts based on four different models.

4. Add an application that allows you to change data sources

In addition to the weather applications available directly from major weather services, some third-party weather applications may display forecasts from different sources ( Figure D ).

Figure D

  Screenshot of Hello Weather (left) and CARROT Weather (right) showing different data sources listed in the article text. "Data-original =" https: //tr1.cbsistatic .com / hub / i / r / 2019/07/16 / 1e091654-f1c9-4f59-8f4a-b25e59c785b3 / resize / 770x / 819f33d09f6aee244bb62023eee9d564 / selectdifferentdatasources.cbc 1965jpg90b38bc which show the different data sources listed in the article text.

Some weather applications, such as Hello Weather (left) and CARROT Weather (right), allow you to select a different data source.