Weather apps; know how to use them!

With this ever-changing forecast, you may be constantly checking the Weather Tracker mobile app for the latest forecast.
However, you really need to understand where that information comes from, and how to interpret it.

In the 25 Weather Center we have lots of equipment and resources to help us predict Mother Nature, and ultimately keep you safe. That’s why weather apps don’t replace your local meteorologist.

“There might be things in that app that are being produced automatically without any human intervention,” said Chris Miller, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. Miller added, “you may get some false data.”

You may think “I have all of the weather information i need, right in the palm of my hand,” but that’s not entirely true.
Today more than ever, its important you know how apps functions. It is not only for weather accuracy, but also for your safety.

Take radar for example…
Meteorologist Jesse Guinn, was near a wind farm in central Illinois under clear skies and a weather app said “snow near your location”, while skies above were clear.
So, why did this happen?
You may not know this, but wind farms are one of the things that can interfere with radar, showing precipitation that is not really there.

“We are picking up on, in some cases, not only the rotating blades, but … it’s the turbulence that’s above the wind farm,” said Miller.
Miller added, that “people need to be aware of where these [wind farms] are located so they don’t falsely interpret something.”

While on the topic of radar, there is a lot of knowledge that goes into understanding what is actually happening.
That can be especially dangerous during tornadic weather.

“Be very careful, unless you really know how to interpret that information, because you may think that the strongest part of the storm is where the darkest red area is; when in fact, the tornado is rarely in that area. It’s in a different part of the storm.”

“Just be really careful when you get information off of weather apps,” said Miller, adding, “the first thing you really need to ask yourself is, ‘does this make sense?'”

Of course, there are positives to weather apps, like getting life-threatening weather alerts in the palm of your hand.
That’s a great feature of our 25 Weather Tracker mobile app, which you can download free for your iPhone or Android.

Also remember, as we head into peak severe weather season, you can also depend on 25 News to be on Facebook and your TV, with real-time weather information to keep you safe.

Jesse Guinn

Jesse Guinn

Catch me on the air with central Illinois' forecast on WEEK 25!
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