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How to choose the best weather forecast source for your location

There are dozens of great weather apps on the App Store, and choosing a favorite interface is largely down to personal preference.

But if you care about the accuracy of the forecasts, it’s worth paying attention to where the data comes from. The iOS Weather app uses Apple’s own internal data, which these days is amalgamated from a combination of national weather sources. (Prior to iOS 16, the app relied on data from The Weather Channel). Apple’s solution is by no means bad, but there are plenty of alternatives out there.

Most weather apps worth their salt will source their data from one of the big forecasters, and some even give you the choice between several. But the “best” weather source depends largely on where you live – so how can you decide which one to trust? Let’s take a look…

Local reliability

If you’re in the US, the stats show The Weather Channel tends to be the most accurate forecaster across most of the country, although Global Weather reigns supreme on the west coast. Microsoft Start‘s forecasts are the most accurate in Hawaii and West Virginia. AccuWeather doesn’t top any of the lists but scores consistently highly across the majority of states, and it’s the only data source mentioned here that’s available in our favorite weather app.

The above stats were sourced from Forecast Advisor, a website that tracks the accuracy of every major American weather source over time. It’s looking specifically at the reliability of 1-3 day forecasts, so your mileage may vary if you mainly care about long-term predictions. Either way, the website allows you to enter a ZIP code to find out the most accurate weather sources for your specific area. Definitely worth doing if you want to truly find the best hyperlocal weather predictions, which may well be something we haven’t mentioned here.

Around the world

In Canada, you’ll likely find Environment Canada to be the most accurate source, although The Weather Network is more widely used. AccuWeather remains a solid alternative if you find those two unreliable where you live.

For those in the UK, it’s hard to look past the Met Office as the most reliable source. Although BBC Weather is the most popular forecast provider, it no longer uses Met Office data, switching instead to MeteoGroup (creators of WeatherPro) in 2018 as a cost-cutting measure. That means you’ll have to use the official Met Office website or app if you prefer their forecasts.