If you’ve ever used iPhone’s weather app to check how things look for the week, you’ve likely been deceived more than a few times. The app will often show rainy conditions on certain days, that mysteriously change to sunny or overcast in a matter of hours. So why can’t Apple get their weather app to work reliably? Well, it has less to do with Apple and more to do with the nature of meteorology. The study and prediction of weather phenomena are often considered just as much an art as a science. There is no single algorithm or computer that can accurately predict weather patterns 100% of the time. There are different prediction models, different processes, and different interpretations of data that can result in a range of weather forecasts for the same city.
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That’s why an app like Dark Sky might show rain for the day, while AccuWeather only shows clouds. The iPhone’s weather app compiles its data from a variety of sources. The Weather Channel is one of the largest. And according to forecast advisor, a group that analyzes various forecasting companies, The Weather Channel consistently places in the top three most accurate sources at about 82%. But that still means 18% of their data turns out to be incorrect. Translating to one and a half days of inaccurate weather forecasts each week. And there isn’t much Apple can do about this. Achieving near-perfect forecasting typically requires the expertise of local meteorologists. Since they have years of experience in a specific region. This know-how allows them to predict weather patterns with an accuracy unrivaled by national weather corporations. The problem is that these highly-accurate local forecasts can’t be compiled in any way. Leaving companies like The Weather Channel stuck making less accurate predictions of their own. So if you’re only concerned about temperature, the iPhone’s weather app does a good job. But when it comes to precipitation and storms, your local weatherman would be more reliable.