AcuRite Future Forecast – Is it accurate?
About a month ago I posted a review on the AcuRite 5-in-1 Weather Station. I have been monitoring several of them around town that I’ve set up for the purpose of monitoring wind speeds in the area. One of the features I really like about this home weather station is its future forecast function. In this article I’ll show you how accurate the function is.
The AcuRite future forecast function is supposed to tell you what the weather is going to be like in the next 12-24 hours. In the manual AcuRite calls this the “Professional Weather Center.” AcuRite has included this on all of its displays that go with the 5-in-1 weather stations. What happens is that the unit takes 14 days to calibrate itself. Then the manual says that “it generates a forecast with pinpoint accuracy – personalized for your exact location.”
Well that’s the question we’re going to answer. How accurate have my forecasts been? Read on… I’ll show you.
First off, if you have one of these stations you’ll want to take a look at AcuRite’s website and review all the possible forecast icons you’ll see and what they mean. Click here to find the AcuRite forecast icons. You’ll want to take some time and watch what icons it shows relative to the weather you’re seeing outside, because an icon can’t be as detailed as something like the NOAA’s website. For example, one thing that I’ve noticed is that on cloudy days it often shows mostly cloudy, with a little sun peaking out. I think this is because I live out in the dry Western US, and what might look cloudy to me might be less cloudy than more humid areas where they get a lot more thick clouds.
How well does it forecast the weather?
In my earlier article about the AcuRite 5-in-1 Weather Station I mentioned that trying to forecast the weather past two or three days is really imprecise. You might as well flip a coin. When you’re two or three days out, even the professionals can only forecast the weather with about 70% accuracy. It’s the 12-24 hour forecast where our modern methods of forecasting get really accurate.
I think the AcuRite future forecast is pretty good actually. I think I could argue that it’s almost always right. There have been a few times where it hasn’t predicted a little bit of precipitation and we got just a bit. There have also been times where it has done the reverse. But again I think that’s because we live in the west.
AcuRite compared to National Weather Service
My first comparison is from January 20th. You’ll see that the AcuRite unit forecast mostly cloudy and snow. The National Weather Service forecast a 100% chance of snow. So here we had the two matching up pretty almost exactly.
It did snow and was mostly cloudy all day.
The next comparison was on January 21st. The NOAA (National Weather Service) forecast was mostly sunny. AcuRite forecast mostly cloudy. In the next 12-24 hours we had both.
This picture below was taken when it was sunny the next day. They were both right though.
You know I broke my show shovel that day. It really sucks. It was supposed to be better than the other shovel. The sticker clearly states that it is lightweight poly-carbonate and is 12 times stronger than other shovels. I beg to differ. It’s newer than the other shovel by several years and now it’s done.
On January 22nd the AcuRite weather station accurately forecast a partially cloudy day. The NOAA had called for a 40% chance of light snow. It was pretty much partly cloudy and sunny that day. I’m not sure we would call this a conflicting forecast since the NOAA had a less than even chance of light snow.
On January 23rd my weather station and the NOAA both predicted mostly cloudy with snow and that is exactly what happened on the 24th.
Were there any conflicting forecasts?
On January 25th, my AcuRite Weather Station predicted a slight bit of rain. At the same time, the NOAA was saying it would be sunny the next day. What actually happened was that it was really pretty sunny. There was a very slight bit of light snow in the morning but not really much to speak of. Temperatures were above freezing during the day but no precipitation. Remember we’re talking about a 12-24 hour forecast period here. So I’m not too worried about the AcuRite not getting it exactly right. I guess I could argue that it did get it right.
AcuRite future forecasts for January 26th through February matched up really well with the NOAA until last night. On February 5th as you can see below the AcuRite was forecasting mostly cloudy with a little sun. And the NOAA was forcasting an 80% chance of snow, accumulation of about an inch possible.
So what happened is that last night we had a huge storm move in. Both the AcuRite Weather Station and the NOAA website predicted mostly cloudy with snow. And it snowed dramatically. We must have had 8 inches or more. It drifted as high as a couple of feet in areas around the house. It was a wet, heavy snow. It remained cloudy and when I took this picture last night I knew that we would finally have a significant difference of opinions and a verified winner.
Which was a more accurate forecaster?
In the early morning it remained mostly cloudy and we did get some intermittent sunshine up until the mid afternoon. Then conditions worsened and we got about an inch of snow. I think if I had been depending on the AcuRite, in this particular case I would have felt let down.
So in this first major difference in forecast, the NOAA website won. I don’t think I can really lawyer this and say that the AcuRite got it right partially right because we got the precipitation and the precipitation was significant. I’m not sure why it didn’t foresee the precipitation but it missed the mark here. It’s forecast has remained steady the last 20 hours or so and it didn’t notify me of the snow.
The Verdict on the AcuRite Weather Station Forecast
I’ll update this article if my opinion changes in the future, but right at this moment I’m really pretty happy with the AcuRite Weather Station. I think it’s forecasts are reasonably accurate in general. I’ve seen the NOAA get things wrong before. Although I haven’t tracked and compared the two sources of weather information in detail for longer than a couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that for the several months that I’ve had these weather stations, the AcuRite weather forecast feature has been reasonably accurate. I can’t remember it letting me down in a significant way.
Right now the NOAA is predicting some early morning snow for tomorrow turning to partly cloudy and sun. We have to cut the AcuRite a bit of slack because, it only has a limited set of icons to to display and for now it’s choosing to display mostly cloudy with some sun as tomorrow’s forecast. I think we can say that this is another situation where it’s pretty much in sync with the National Weather Service.
In any case, you know what they say. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades… and of course weather forecasting.
As always, live ready!
Update – Next Afternoon
We did not get any morning morning snow that I was aware of. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t have any in the early morning hours, but I didn’t see any this morning. Currently it’s partly cloudy and I’m seeing intermittent sun. The AcuRite weather forecast, although it’s very basic, once again is pretty much right on.
16 thoughts on “AcuRite Future Forecast – Is it accurate?”
When you say in the next 12-24 hours does this mean it’s 12-24 hours ahead of current conditions or means will happen anytime for the 12-24 hours that follow? Can you show an example of the timeframe for the forecast?
AcuRite is the one that specifies the 12-24 hour timeframe. Here’s where they explain it on their site. https://www.acurite.com/learn/glossary/acurite-icons
I’m pretty sure it’s just forecasting expected conditions for roughly the next day or so based on barometric pressure, temperature and patterns in your area. Their site indicates that the unit learns over time. See the link above.
So, to be clear, the icons shown on the screen right now in the bottom middle section are showing the expected conditions in 12-24 hours from now. I gave several examples above of how well the unit forecast the next day’s weather. I would see the icon for the predicted weather on the screen and then watch and see if the weather the next day matched. I hope that makes sense. It’s the same idea as watching the weatherman on TV tonight tell you conditions for tomorrow.
Oh ok thanks. Is it possible your station can become innacurate if it’s running for a long time and will a factory reset help solve that issue? I know someone who station not as accurate as mine but mines relatively new.
I’m not sure. I think mine are still fairly accurate but I haven’t recently made any sort of a test. I run two on my property and they usually read within one degree of each other if not the exact same.
I do not know if a factory reset would help. The unit has a fan that runs on a solar panel to keep the thermometer from reading too high in direct sun. Mine are still running after several years. I’ve read that some people’s quit working. I have had to clean mine out because they stopped working due to wasps building nests inside. http://www.liverede.com/gear-review/acurite-weather-station-broken-fix-it/
Is it possible it can get more accurate after the 33 day learning mode? Or after 33 days it should be good?
As far as I know, I think that’s it. You’re exceeding my level of understanding there.
So just to be clear about the whatever the station says it means it’s forecasting that weather to occur in 12-24 hours from now doesn’t have to be the whole day will be cloudy, sunny, rainy etc. just has to do it at some point in 12-24 hours correct?
Ya, I think that’s it.
Is this station 12-24 Hours ahead. Meaning it’s a forecast for if it’s 12 pm now it’s for 12am to 12pm the next day?
Yes the icon is 12-24 hours ahead. But it’s not as precise as you suggest. It’s expecting the conditions to change (if there is a change) to what the unit shows sometime in the next 12-24 hours. So if it’s 6 pm in the evening, it’s forecasting conditions that will likely exist at some point in the morning through evening of the next day. The weather could shift earlier than 12 hours out. It could also shift later. Weather prediction isn’t perfect… but forecasting for the next day is more precise than forecasting for 3-5 days out or longer.
Does the weather change quickly where you live?
My one suggestion for you is next time instead of seeing if it will do it next day see if it will do it exactly 12-24 hours ahead of that moment. Maybe you should consider observing it directly 12-24 hours ahead for a more precise measurement. For example if it says cloudy at 3pm see if it does it between 3am and 3pm the next day. Does that sound like a good idea? Understand what I’m saying
I think you have misunderstood what I’m saying. Weather forecasting doesn’t work in “exacts” like you are suggesting. When I’ve said “in 12-24 hours” in this conversation and when AcuRite says it in their documentation, what I think they mean is that conditions will change sometime between roughly NOW and 12 or 24 hours from now. This gives the user range of expectation. Weather changes with the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure changes. These shifts in conditions very often occur as the temperature changes due to the sun going up or going down. So I think 12-24 hours is their way of saying it might happen in roughly the next 24 hours or so. Meteorology is not an exact science. Here’s the example I gave in another response:
I would add to that, that if you’re looking at the display at 11 AM and it shows a shift in conditions, that shift is likely to occur that evening, or the next morning or sometime in the middle of the night. For example, all day yesterday it was sunny and cold, but my display was showing rain mixed with snow. The temperature was right around 32 degrees that evening and the barometric pressure was changing during the day. When I woke up it was clear that it had rained in the early morning. So it was correct.
This is the full extent of what I know about their future forecast feature. Please contact AcuRite if you really want to know the specifics.
Oh ok now what if it says sunny and it’s currently sunny out what does that mean? Does that mean sunny for the rest of the 12-24 hour period or not necessarily?
In my opinion if it says sunny for 12-24 hours out and it’s sunny outside it means no shift in weather is expected at the moment but that can easily change and be updated throughout the day if the station detects a change in weather is that correct?
Do you know what it means if it says sunny as a forecast on the station and it’s currently sunny out or would I have to contact Acurite to answer that?