What Can We Learn From Your Wipers?

What Can We Learn From Your Wipers?

A team of researchers at the University of Michigan found that tracking windshield wiper activity can provide faster, more accurate rainfall data than radar and rain gauge systems currently in use.  The researchers used a fleet of 70 cars and tracked when wipers were being used and matched it with video from onboard cameras to document rainfall and found that tracking windshield wiper activity can provide faster, more accurate rainfall data. 

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Private Weather Company To Use Different Hurricane Severity Scale

Private Weather Company To Use Different Hurricane Severity Scale

The nation’s largest private weather provider, AccuWeather, is going to begin to use a new “scale” for conveying the severity of hurricanes in the future, diverging from the current scale used by the National Weather Service (NWS) and followed by all private weather forecasters and meteorologists.  AccuWeather’s CEO, Joel Myers, claims that the current scale only measures wind, but that recent hurricanes from Sandy to Florence have proved that storm surge and flooding can be quite dangerous or deadly even when a hurricane’s wind is not at the top level of severity.

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Breaking:  Winter Storm Gia Expected to Bring Weekend Snow To Wide Swath of U.S.

Breaking:  Winter Storm Gia Expected to Bring Weekend Snow To Wide Swath of U.S.

A big snowstorm will barrel across the middle of the country over the weekend — following a 1500 mile pathway from Denver to Baltimore.  The storm will begin on Friday and last through late Sunday before it blows out to sea.  According to the National Weather Service, 20 million people are in the storm’s path, […]

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Government shutdown negatively impacting weather forecasts

Government shutdown negatively impacting weather forecasts

Among the most consequential impacts of the government shutdown are the strain and diminution of capacity to the National Weather Service (NWS) operations, upon which all public and private daily weather forecasts are based. 

Why This Matters: One-third of the U.S. economy is impacted by the weather.  Indeed, as The Post points out, that means many sectors such as transportation, energy, national security, agriculture, the stock market, not to mention forecasts of extreme weather — are now operating on less than the highly accurate forecasts they usually can rely upon. And imagine if we have a “billion dollar” storm such as a “snowmaggedon” while the shutdown drags on, with lives and profits at risk, which seems increasingly probable as we are now squarely in winter snow season.  Offices like the one that Saha works in are down to skeleton staff — only one or two rather than dozens.  This weather forecasting degradation is much riskier to the general public than any risk we face from the lack of a feckless border wall segment.  

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Lawsuit alleges Weather Channel App sells users’ personal info

Lawsuit alleges Weather Channel App sells users’ personal info

Los Angeles City Attorney Michael Feuer sued the operator of a free, popular weather forecast app alleging that the company misled consumers by hiding the fact that it was selling their personal location data.  The Associated Press reported that TWC Product and Technology LLC (which is owned by IBM Corp.) sold data to hedge funds that used the information to analyze consumer behavior and to more than a dozen websites for targeted ads.

Why This Matters:  The Weather Channel App is the most popular weather forecasting app in the world, with 45 million downloads each month, according to the company.  Facebook and Google are not the only companies taking advantage of their users.  Weather apps have become a key way that the dangers of severe weather are communicated to the mass public.  I (Monica) must check the weather for my location — not to mention my family’s — every day. This is not just impacting weather geeks like me. The public should not have to choose between their privacy rights and their safety from weather hazards. 

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