The Pitfalls of Relying on Free Weather Apps for Snow and Ice Management Decisions

Free weather apps have limitations for making critical snow and ice management decisions, emphasizing the financial and operational consequences of inaccurate forecasts, and suggests opting for professional private weather forecasting services for more reliable and tailored information.

January 3, 2024 | Staff Editor

Will tomorrow bring an inch of snow or eight? Your favorite app might have shown both possibilities at different times. This doesn’t lead to much confidence in what will actually happen.

Weather apps are fine for the general public. Let’s be honest their accuracy has increased nicely over the years. But making decisions on if you need a winter coat or rain gear is not the same as big $$$ money decisions over pretreating, plowing, salting or crew arrival time.

Comprehensive Weather Forecasting

You are wasting THOUSANDS of dollars by just using free sources for your forecast. The Snow and Ice Management Association and the Accredited Snow Contractor Association lay out the best practices to achieve your goals. There’s actual ANSI standards from an independent organization that legit snow companies should be following.  Having a weather forecasting and consulting partner is an important one of those.

Weather apps are bad because they rely off of one piece of computer data without any human meteorologist to quality control. As the model changes so does the app forecast. But that’s just one reason. Here’s some other reasons why weather apps aren’t great.

  • Many apps sell location and user data to advertisers and other data brokers.
  • The accumulation forecasts don’t take into consideration pavement conditions. 
  • They don’t handle lake effect and elevation-based snow well. 
  • Start and stop timing can be hit and miss. 
  • They are not tailored for snow contractors. What about impacts to your operation? A 30% snow chance doesn’t tell much.
  • Automated data without meteorologist input yields lower accuracy.

Basic Weather App

What’s the solution? 

You should rely on a professional private weather forecasting service to provide detailed forecasts. It’s a great tool in the arsenal to help you make better decisions.

We get it that meteorologists are not perfect. Weather forecasting is an inexact science and art. A weather consulting company like Neoweather/Norcast can solve some of the problems apps have and get you the weather information you deserve.

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