It May Be Time to Cut Weather Forecasters Some Slack

Because they're actually getting better at their jobs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 2, 2017 8:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Make fun of the weatherman if you want, but modern forecasts have quietly, by degrees, become much better. The AP reports meteorologists are now as good with their five-day forecasts as they were with their three-day forecasts in 2005. Both government and private weather forecasting firms are nearing the point where they get tomorrow's high temperature right nearly 80% of the time. It was 66% 11 years ago, per ForecastWatch. In fact, things have improved to the point where Major League Baseball now moves games around based on forecasts. It's partly the result of more observations taken in the air and oceans and better understanding of how weather works. But it's mostly bigger and faster computers that put it all together in complex models that simulate weather.

The improvements are most noticeable during Atlantic hurricane season, which started Thursday, with hurricane forecasts being twice as good last year as they were in 2005. Other improvements include better advance warning on winter storms and predictions on some dangerous extreme events coming about a week ahead of time, including Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Next up: The National Weather Service is developing two national general forecasts—temperature and rain and snow—for up to a month in advance. (Read more weather stories.)

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