Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Experiment: Chapter One

Anyone who's ever read this before knows I'm a bit of a weather fanatic.  Pretty much anytime I get online I check my favorite weather site, forecast.weather.gov aka the National Weather Service.  I like their site because it's easy to use and I love their radar.  They also have links to local climatology, which I look at every now and then to see what they see trending as far as temps and precip for the coming seasons (FYI, this is another La Nina year, so expect more hot dry conditions just like last year through at least August.  Gotta love climate change!).  

But just because it's my favorite...doesn't mean it's the most accurate.  Last winter when we had our frost scares with the strawberries, I learned just how much difference one degree can make.  There's a fine line between a frost and a freeze, or a frost and nothing.  Mostly it depends on the dew point, which is the temperature at which dew/frost begins to form.  However, since a) no one predicts dew points and b) it's closely related to temperatures, I decided to take the path of least resistance.  

I decided then I needed to do some kind of experiment with a couple different TV stations and a couple websites, just to kind of see who happened to be the most accurate as far as temps go for our area, Goldsboro.  Almost a year later, I finally did it.

I chose my fav of course, the NWS, as well as weather.com, WRAL and WNCT.  I chose to do it last Mon - Fri.  I looked at the forecast high for the day at 8 am and the forecast low at 5 pm, since these sites tend to change their forecast throughout the day.  Then I recorded it in a spreadsheet (I am also the queen of spreadsheets.  I have one for everything, sometimes two for the same thing even.  Part of that is The Husbands fault, but that's another blog for another time...).  Then I recorded our actual high and actual low as measured by the thermometer in my backyard.

The results were surprising.  The overall winner for accuracy was the weather channel.  I usually don't check their site, because I hate it.  There's so much information I don't need on there and advertisements and all I want is the weather, plain and simple.  They nailed the high for Monday and low for Tuesday, and came the closest three out of the other four days.  WNCT and WRAL were the closest on Wednesday.  And my favorite, well, only came close one day when everyone was just a degree off the actual temperatures.  It's also worth noting that no one was wildly off, everyone was a couple degrees one way or another from the high or low.  We are talking about weather, no one is going to be spot on all the time.  There are just too many variables.

I plan on doing another one of these in a month or so.  I'm sure different sites are closer different times of the year.  I feel like unless I try it again and see which site consistently performs the best I don't have an accurate picture.  So check back, I'm sure I'll have a chapter two to report on soon.
Latest pics of the strawberry plants (mostly because I hate not to include a pic, but no one wants to see my thermometer)
Have a Happy New Year everyone!!!  (I don't mean it unless I put at least three exclamation points apparently.)

No comments:

Post a Comment