Frequently Asked Questions about the WeatheRate certification - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Frequently Asked Questions about the WeatheRate certification process

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Does WeatheRate make weather forecasts?
A: No, we just verify who makes the most accurate weather forecasts in your city.

Q: Can you tell me more about the WeatheRate rating process?
A: Every day, 365 days per year, WeatheRate employees review the four-day forecasts from local TV stations in major U.S. metropolitan areas. WeatheRate also obtains local observed weather data. The forecast and observed weather data are fed into our patented software, WeatherTracker II, which compares the forecast with the actual observed conditions. Through a series of mathematical calculations, we determine which TV stations have the best daily, weekly and monthly accuracy. Then, every March, we offer our seal of approval to the TV station that provides the most accurate weather forecasts in our WeatheRated Cities.

Q: What weather conditions does WeatheRate track?
A: WeatheRate verifies high and low temperatures, sky cover, precipitation, snow accumulation, wind and fog. Accuracy in predicting severe weather and timing of precipitation also comes into play. 

Q: Can you tell me more about observed weather conditions that make a forecast accurate … like what does WeatheRate consider windy?
A: The following definitions are used for actual sky condition, precipitation and other weather phenomena:

  • Sunny: 76% or more of total daylight hours are sunny, or 0 to 0.2 sky cover.
  • Partly Cloudy: 35% to 75% of total daylight hours are sunny, or 0.3 to 0.6 sky cover.
  • Mostly Cloudy: 15% to 34% of total daylight hours are sunny, or 0.7 to 0.8 sky cover.
  • Cloudy: Less than 15% of total daylight hours are sunny, or 0.9 to 1.0 sky cover.
  • Rain: Trace or greater during the forecast period.
  • Snow: Several snow accumulation levels are used: (1) 0.1" to 1.0", (2) 1.1" to 3.0", (3) 3.1" to 6.0" and (4) greater than 6.0".
  • Ice: Sleet or freezing rain is the main weather event during the forecast period.
  • Mixed: A mixture of rain, sleet, freezing rain or snow during the forecast period.
  • Windy: Average forecast period wind speed is 14 mph or greater, or five consecutive hours with wind gusts of 20 mph or greater.
  • Fog: Visibility one-quarter mile or less for at least four hours.
  • Thunderstorm: A thunderstorm is observed within the metropolitan area during the forecast period.
  • Severe Thunderstorm: Wind gust of 58 mph or stronger, or hail one inch (1") or larger, same as the National Weather Service's criteria.

Q: Is WeatheRate affiliated with any weather forecasting companies, television stations or government agencies?
A: No. WeatheRate is the only independent, non-partisan, weather verification company in the United States. And that's why you can trust us to tell you who's really the most accurate in your WeatheRated city!

Q: Can you tell me more about your certification and licensing process?
A: Since March 2003, WeatheRate has been verifying TV weather forecast accuracy for 300 stations in 75 U.S. cities every day. The most accurate station in each TV market is offered the opportunity to license the WeatheRate seal of approval for advertising and promotional purposes.

Stations that promote their WeatheRate seal of approval pay us a fee. The money is used to cover administrative costs, and a portion is set aside for disaster relief contributions.

Q: How come station X won last year and station Y is now most accurate?
A: From March 2003 through February 2005 WeatheRate conducted four six-month verification periods. At the end of each research period, only the most accurate station in each TV market was offered the opportunity to license the WeatheRate seal of approval. A station that won one research period may not have proven to be most accurate during another, thus the WeatheRate seal of approval was offered to a different station. Although the same stations won again and again in most markets, there were lead changes in other markets.

In March 2005 we began a one-year verification and license period, just like J.D. Power does for automobiles.

Q: How does WeatheRate ensure that its studies are unbiased?
A: To maintain an unbiased, third-party perspective, WeatheRate funds its own research using a patented process. TV stations do not pay to participate in the WeatheRate rating surveys. We offer the WeatheRate seal of approval to only the most accurate TV stations in order to recoup our investment. This independent position enables us to provide the general public with credible and accurate findings.

Q: What happens if the most accurate station in my city chooses to not be affiliated with WeatheRate?
A: The second most accurate station is NOT offered the WeatheRate seal of approval. WeatheRate only certifies the station that is truly the most accurate in each city.

Q: Where does WeatheRate get their observed weather data?
A: Most of the observed data including high & low temperatures, wind speed and sky cover come from a specific weather verification site in or near your city. However, because some weather may only affect parts of a city, like thunderstorms, WeatheRate monitors conditions across your metro area. So, if thunderstorms don't affect our official verification site, but they do rumble through a large part of the metro area, a TV station that forecasted thunderstorms would be correct.

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