Who has the most accurate weather forecast in Orlando? WESH says it does and that it has the certification to prove it. Top-rated WFTV says that’s baloney.
WESH recently dropped its WeatherPlus branding for its newscasts and started using WeatheRate’s seal for Orlando’s most accurate weather forecast. But what, you may ask, is WeatheRate? According to a news release on its Web site, “Using a business model similar to J.D. Power and Associates, WeatheRate conducts independent research at their own expense. At the end of each WeatheRating period, the company offers its seal of approval only to the most accurate station in each television market.”
It does this for a fee, of course. In a March 2005 posting on NewsBlues.com, Cincinnatti’s WCPO-ABC 9 was reportedly paying $1,000 a month to carry WeatheRate’s seal on its forecasts.
WeatheRate says its accuracy rating is based on verifying “high and low temperatures, sky cover, precipitation, snow accumulation, wind and fog. Accuracy in forecasting severe weather and timing of precipitation also comes into play.”
A check of WeatheRate’s not-often-updated Web site showed 13 TV stations listed as clients. WESH was not yet listed, but the only other Florida station noted was WBBH-NBC 2 in Fort Myers.
WFTV News Director Bob Jordan dissed WESH’s promotion. He told Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker, “The vendor who sells that pitched me on it, and I said no thanks. The guy called and said, ‘I’ve monitored the market and do you want to buy it?’ Who pays the fee becomes the most accurate.”
WESH GM Jim Carter told Boedeker WeatheRate is credible. “Anyone in the marketplace can subscribe to the service,” he said. “This is pretty cut and dried. They have specific data.”
The big question: Does having a seal as the most accurate in Orlando really matter? I took the following information from each station’s Web site on Saturday night — based on their 7-day forecasts. You’ll see there’s never more than a 1 or 2 degree difference in the temperature forecast, and no more than a 10% difference in rain chance predictions. When you look at it this way, I think it makes this weather feud seem pretty silly.
|Sunday||89-70 / 40%||88-69 / NA||88-71 / 50%||88-71 / 50%||88-71 / 50%|
|Monday||89-70 / 40%||89-69 / NA||89-71 / 40%||90-71 / 30%||90-71 / 30%|
|Tuesday||90-71 / 30%||90-69 / NA||89-72 / 40%||90-71 / 40%||90-71 / 30%|
|Wednesday||89-71 / 40%||90-70 / NA||91-72 / 40%||91-71 / 40%||91-73 / 30%|