Are today’s weather forecasts any more accurate than they were back in the 1950s?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,

I’m wondering with all the technology, if today’s weather forecasts are any more accurate than they were back in the 1950s?

Thanks, Len Palombi, Oak Park

Dear Len,

Tremendous advances in satellite and computer technology (faster calculation speed and more computer “memory”) have led to steady and ongoing improvement in the reliability of weather forecasts. Today’s computer models, the sophisticated mathematical simulations of the atmosphere, are more accurate than ever. Armed with this guidance, weather forecasters are producing better and better forecasts. The National Weather Service has been verifying forecast accuracy since the 1960s and reports that five-day forecasts now are as reliable as the three-day forecast of the 1980s. Short-range forecasts have improved by a day; that is, the Day 2 forecast of today is as accurate as Day 1 forecasts in the past.

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