Weather forecasting has improved, sadly weather apps remain oddly deficient

20 March 2024

Four day weather forecasts are now as accurate as one day forecasts from thirty years ago. That’s good news. Access to accurate weather information is perhaps more vital than many of us can appreciate.

Weather forecasting has come a long way. In 650 B.C. the Babylonians would try to predict weather patterns based on cloud patterns and movements. Three centuries later, Aristotle wrote Meteorologica, discussing how phenomena such as rain, hail, hurricanes, and lightning formed. Much of it turned out to be wrong, but it represents one of the first attempts to explain how the weather works in detail.

But more of this data needs to be ported through to the weather apps on our smartphones. I don’t know if it’s me, but the number of times I’m caught outside somewhere, in what I call “off-app” rain — that is, where no rain whatsoever is predicted for hours, if not days — seems to be increasing.


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