There have been many threads here about people’s favourite weather apps, and I’ve seen some I really like the look of, but a recent experiment I did shows the problem I have with all of them.
I was re-arranging my iPhone home screens; evicting some apps I only had present for recent travel, and some that I’m just not using enough to warrant a home screen spot (most apps live only in my App Library).
Anyway, I ended up with some extra space on a home screen and decided to revisit what widgets might prove useful. I discovered that I had a beautiful weather app called Overlook still installed, so I placed it on my home screen — alongside Apple’s 1st party app, and my national government weather provider’s app.
On Sunday morning I was greeted with this.
I’ve scrubbed out the location in the MetService app because it can only display my current location and it (pointlessly) displays my actual suburb rather than the more generic “Wellington”. I have checked many times that the weather in “my suburb” and the weather in “Wellington” are always identical.
So we can see they all agreed the current temperature was 15º. Excellent.
But, the low temperature is 11º, 12º, or 13º depending on who you believe. The high is 17º, 18º, or 19º. The predominant conditions are either cloudy or windy or both.
Only Overlook is showing the rain chance, but they did all agree on 0%. They do not agree, however, when the percentage is above zero.
This morning (Monday) I took another look and the current temperature was different between all three, where all three agreed with at least one other on the high or low. So they’re not even consistently inconsistent with one another.
I could argue that Overlook shows only cloud and wind in the screenshot and that would imply overcast, but I’m not familiar with their symbology, so will spot it that point.
This is all over and above any app disagreeing with itself over time. Rain tomorrow? Don’t make that judgement until tomorrow, and even then it could be wrong. (Just last week, the next day’s rain was showers in the afternoon, then in the morning it was drizzle in the morning, and the actuality was drizzle then rain most of the day.)
I think all reviews of weather apps should focus on features and the understandability of the interface, with maybe just a footnote from the reviewer that says “The weather was accurate (or not) at my place.”
There is one app, however, that I have added below these, and whose data I put a bit more faith in…
This particular widget from AeroWeather is called a “Meteogram”. I looked it up and it’s a general term for this style of display of weather information — multiple factors in layers, time in the other axis.
The data source is my local airport. I know that it is in an exposed location, so I mentally have to adjust for that, but aviation weather forecasters need to be pretty darned good at their predictions. My only problem is the cloud row seems to always just display which I have not figured out.
This screenshot was taken just now and seems to show a low of 11º tonight. Of course, the other apps disagree on this. Overlook says 12º and the other two say 13º. Of course.