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Science & Technology

AccuWeather Launches '90-Day Forecast' To Help You Plan Ahead

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Some sun with a shower, humid, high 86, low 75 - that is the AccuWeather forecast for Washington, D.C. for Monday, July 11, 90 days from now. This week, AccuWeather launched its day by day 90-day forecast, calling it a valuable tool for planning further in advance including activities like vacations, weddings, baseball games, outdoor concerts and more. Joining us to talk about it is AccuWeather's founder and president, Dr. Joel Myers. Welcome to the program.

JOEL MYERS: Thank you very much, a pleasure to be here.

SIEGEL: Weather forecasts have gotten better over time, but, personally, I wouldn't be at all surprised if next Monday's forecast didn't hold, never mind the forecast for a Monday 90 days from now. Is this 90-day forecast - is it a best guess based on historical data or do you really have tools that allow you to see that far into the future?

MYERS: Well, I would bet on the forecast for next Monday if it's the AccuWeather forecast. All of our forecasts are based on the latest science. We bring more weather data and model data into AccuWeather's headquarters in State College, Pa. than any other place on the planet, and it's how we mix these various models and all the other data we have and - with 100 plus meteorologists - how we put together the forecast.

SIEGEL: But I've heard from meteorologists that predictions are really reliable, say, up to seven to 10 days. After that, the element of luck increases. Do you disagree with that?

MYERS: Well, no, the forecasts - all forecasts have and always will deteriorate with time. The point of the matter is this, people want information, and they want information that is worthwhile. If we didn't have the statistics to show that the forecast - and here's the measure of what the value is - it's got to be more accurate statistically than you can come up with by using past normals and whatever climatology that you have, and it does.

SIEGEL: And do you attach a level of confidence to the forecast 90 days from now in Washington? It's obviously less confident than you are in next Monday's weather in Washington...

MYERS: Well, exactly, and that's the important trend. But we don't give a confidence number. I mean, I wouldn't take the 88 day and say, hey, there's a ballgame from 3 to 6 o'clock, and it's going to be such and such. But if I'm going on a vacation to Paris and I'm going to be there for five days between the 83rd and 88th day, this forecast will give you information that will be better than you can have figured out in any other way.

SIEGEL: Well, yeah, I didn't introduce the idea of the baseball game. That came from AccuWeather saying that would be one reason why you would consult the forecast.

MYERS: Well, I wouldn't recommend you use this for planning a baseball game 88 days ahead, except in a general sense.

SIEGEL: You do - or AccuWeather has said that you can use the 90-day forecast to - for planning things like weddings. Should there be a disclaimer that, you know, don't blame us if it rains on your wedding day?

MYERS: (Laughter) Well, if you credit us when we have saved your life or have allowed you to avoid an asthma attack, sure, then we'll take the blame as well when we're wrong.

SIEGEL: Joel Myers, thanks for talking with us.

MYERS: You're very welcome, my pleasure.

SIEGEL: Joel Myers is the founder and president of AccuWeather. He joined us from their headquarters in State College, Pa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.