Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In Business, a "Free Weather Forecast" Often Fails To Get the Job Done...

As a private sector weather information, forecast and storm warning firm, one of the most common questions that we're asked is "why should I pay you for weather forecasts when I can get them for free on the internet or TV?"  Without a doubt, this is a situation where the old adage "you get what you pay for" rings true more than ever.  We'd like to share just one recent example to better illustrate this for you.

"Free" weather information typically finds its origin at the National Weather Service (NWS), which is the government agency responsible for providing weather information, forecasts and storm warnings for the United States and its territories.  For the public at large just trying to determine what to wear to work or school on a given day, etc., this information is often sufficient - but for a business or organization that depends on precision and accuracy, it almost always falls short of what is actually needed.

National Weather Service "Point" Forecast for Kyle, Tx on 9/19/13

The graphic above shows the NWS "point forecast" (a term meant to convey a location-specific and presumably more accurate outlook) for Kyle, TX for this past Thursday, September 19th.  Kyle (a Southern suburb of Austin) is one of the fastest growing cities in Texas and is bustling with construction activity, the managers of which are in need of highly accurate, pinpoint weather information.

I've highlighted the "Precipitation Potential" portion of the NWS forecast, which as you can see called for a 60% chance of rain throughout the entire period from 7:00 a.m. that day, through at least 6:00 a.m. the following morning.

The problem?  Coverage of precipitation was no where near the 60 percent level during the majority of that period of time.  The radar image below (with Kyle near the center) was taken at 2:00 pm CDT on that day:

New Braunfels, TX Area Radar Image at 2:00 PM CDT on 9/19/13

...and as you can see only 20 percent (or less) of the region had any form of precipitation ongoing, and what was there was very light in intensity.

The WeatherGuidance SiteWarn® forecast for that day called for no chance of rain during the morning hours, only a very slight (less than 20 percent) chance at midday and then a 20-30 percent chance of rain during the mid to late afternoon hours, as you can see on one of the forecast graphics that was provided to our customers:

WeatherGuidance SiteWarn Rain Probability Forecast for a Kyle, TX job site

Furthermore, we informed our customers that any rainfall would average less than 0.35 inch, as indicated below:

WeatherGuidance SiteWarn Rainfall Forecast for a Kyle, TX Job Site

Our much more precise forecast prompted our construction clients in the area to continue working, and at least one of them told us that they would have ceased or scaled back operations had they gone with the "broad brush" NWS forecast of high precipitation potential - which never materialized.

Above is just a small example of the type of work that we do for our clients in the construction, agriculture, aviation, event planning and other weather sensitive industries - day in and day out.

If you're tired of wasting time and money on "free" weather forecasts, give us a call today at (512) 504-3151.  We'd love to set up a free, no obligation trial demonstration of our services so that you can evaluate them in real time.  You can also visit our website for more information and request your free trial at this link.

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