United States Best Places to Live Report: Forecast Skill

November 8, 2023

The skill of United States weather forecasts in 2022, relative to persistence (assuming that the same weather will continue for the next few days), was greatest in the Midwest and Northeast and lowest in the Southwest, far south, and Hawaii. This is not surprising, considering that the weather varies most from day to day in the Midwest and Northeast and least in the South, so there’s more room for forecasts to improve upon that.

Most of this skill was shown in temperatures, particularly low temperatures across the Ohio Valley, and less in precipitation. Precipitation is typically hard to forecast, especially when it occurs locally such as in thunderstorms, so this is an expected result. Thus, if you want weather forecasts that are best relative to what you could forecast yourself assuming the current weather will stay the same, the Midwest and Northeast are the best places to be, even though weather forecasts are still better overall in the Southwest and South.

For a breakdown of forecast skill by high temperature, low temperature, and precipitation, and changes since our 2020 report, see the full 2023 report here.

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