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FLO Clear Skies website


ianpwilliams
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As much as I love the user friendly layout of the Clear Skies website, it does seem to change its mind pretty drastically. Tonight was forecast pure green all the way where I live (EH7) and just a minute ago it switched to pure red. And the same thing happened a couple of days ago. The BBC weather app however (which I know can't really be trusted) says it's clear skies for tonight.

Has anyone else found this frustrating? I wonder if there could be more regular updates, and then maybe it could have gone orange first, but given more warning?

Edited by ianpwilliams
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I learned long ago that "forecasts" are about as reliable as a seance to speak to your dead Uncle Walter. I look at doppler-radar charts. Saved my neck before at that...

The forecast was for clear and perfect with no clouds in sight. I was all set-up outdoors with my best gear. Then I took a look at the radar. There was one very small thunderhead that had appeared out of nowhere - and heading straight for me! I scrambled - dragging my gear to cover at Warp-9! And just in time. The sky opened up all at once and soaked the area of my spot and local area in a one-mile-wide swath. I was Ground-Zero.

Lesson Learned,

Dave

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Personally, I think Clear Outside is a great resource.  However, it's my understanding that it's a (very neat) graphical representation of models from various general weather forecast sources, not a complex specialist astronomical observing model in itself.

Like many mathematical models of complex natural systems, meteorological models output the probabilities of various outcomes, not definitive predictions. 

My bugbear about the way UK weather forecasts are presented is that we give a prediction of an outcome without including much information about our confidence in that prediction. My understanding is that things are different in the USA where they report the level of confidence that they have in a prediction - e.g. 40% chance of rain.

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I do use Clear Outside as a confirmation and it's very useful for the additional detail, but my first choice is the Met Office website with the cloud layer switched on the local map. So far as I know all weather forecasts in the UK pull their information from the Met Office so you may as well be looking at the source material than anything else. I spend a lot of time outdoors, and after looking at weather forecasts over the years I've concluded that UK weather changes so much that the 24 hour forecast is a fair but far from certain indication of what will happen, two days is a rough idea, and anything beyond that you may as well write the forecast yourself. The very best forecast though is to look out the window 5 minutes before! Even then it can go wrong...

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Personally, I think Clear Outside is a great resource.  However, it's my understanding that it's a (very neat) graphical representation of models from various general weather forecast sources, not a complex specialist astronomical observing model in itself.

That is right, we don't own our own weather satellites or balloons. We can only buy the best and most up-to-date weather data and deliver it in a useful, reliable and convenient form. 

I do use Clear Outside as a confirmation and it's very useful for the additional detail, but my first choice is the Met Office website with the cloud layer switched on the local map. So far as I know all weather forecasts in the UK pull their information from the Met Office so you may as well be looking at the source material than anything else. 

The Met office is one of the data sources we use, which is rather fitting because they are based here in Exeter  B)

ClearOutside is a weather forecast site for astronomers. If you are looking for something to compliment ClearOutside, or any other weather forecast site, try the Sat24 website. It doesn't forecast weather, instead it shows a satellite view of recent weather patterns so is useful to anyone wanting to make their own predictions of incoming weather. 

HTH, 

Steve

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A few years ago (when I still lived in the UK) I did a reasonably in-depth, though informal, study of UK weather and Met Office forecasts. The conclusion I came to was: you can't. :huh:

I looked at the 5-day forecast from the BBC website for my post-code over an 18 month period. During the winter of that time: November through to the end of March - 5 months, they didn't get the 5 day forecast right on any single occasion. Not once.

For the rest of the time their next-day forecasts were right about half the time, day after that forecasts about a quarter and so on. In some months, their 5 day forecast success-rate were actually worse than random guesses would have been.

Edited by pete_l
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These sites have their place and they do well at attempting an almost impossible task. As useful as these sites are in their own right, I always try to make an informed decision through more than a couple resources. There are local factors that always come in to play that these sites cannot determine at such a local level and they (unfairly) get bad press as a result. A resource that I always use is the infa-red cloud cover satellite (available from weatheronline and Met Office). Weatheronline being my personal favourite. You can select a looping sequence and see how the clouds are behaving (most often from the West) in the few hours before evening approaches. It makes the dark art of prediction a little easier. Also, try to take in to account local hills, mountains (if you have them!), moors etc as these tend to locally change weather more drastically. (eg sometimes high land that is West of your location when there is a westerly wind can break up or even disperse clouds). There are many local factors that are best researched.

Clear skies!

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