How much has weather forecasting improved since the 1930s?

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Dear Tom,
How much has weather forecasting improved since the 1930s?
— Roy Kentish, Crystal Lake
Dear Roy,
Tremendous advances in forecasting have occurred and can be directly attributed to the addition of satellites and computers to the meteorologist’s arsenal, making forecasting much more of a science than an art. Today’s sophisticated mathematical simulations of the atmosphere are more accurate than ever, allowing meteorologists to produce better forecasts. The National Weather Service has been verifying forecast accuracy since the 1960s, and now five-day forecasts are as reliable as the three-day forecasts in the 1980s. Short-range forecasts have also improved by a day; that is, today’s Day 2 forecast is as accurate as the Day 1 forecast in the past. Great strides have also been made in hurricane and severe weather forecasting.


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