Science Says: Weather forecasts improve but under the radar

Andrew Butler took a photo of lightning outside IPFW student housing as severe weather rolled through northeast Indiana on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Make fun of the weatherman if you want but modern forecasts have quietly, by degrees, become much better.

Meteorologists are now as good with their five-day forecasts as they were with their three-day forecasts in 2005. Forecasts are approaching the point where they get tomorrow’s high temperature right nearly 80 percent of the time. It was 66 percent 11 years ago.

Better forecasts are partly the result of more observations taken in the air and oceans and better understanding of how weather works. But it’s mostly bigger and faster computers that put it together in complex computer models.

The improvements are most noticeable during Atlantic hurricane season, which starts Thursday. Hurricane forecasts are about as twice as good as they were in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck.

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