AccuWeather is promoting its superior forecast to demonstrate the edge its services provide but some feel it is unfairly throwing the Weather Service under the bus.
AccuWeather’s Smith points out he wrote a whole book praising the NWS (Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather), but that it is not above criticism. “I am the biggest fan of NWS around when they do their job well, but they should be expected to be held accountable when there are issues,” he said.
But placing too much emphasis on the performance of a single forecast can be misleading, according to David Titley, director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Penn State University.
“As someone who has done nearly 40 years of operational forecasting, it’s a little like the NFL: on any given day, there’s always one forecast that is best,” Titley said. “A much better way to assess forecast skill is to have impartial, 3rd party verification and transparency over time. The facts will then speak for themselves.”
Smith counters that, as a business, AccuWeather must point to examples in which its services provide added value.