Why You Shouldn’t Use the Weather App on Your Phone – How to Read the Weather for Outdoor Activities

icy deer hunt

If you just look at an app on your phone to get the weather forecast before you go outdoors, you have been seriously missing out. If you want to catch more fish, find more mushrooms, avoid bad weather when hunting, and generally be a better out-doors-person, it is important to be able to read not only the daily weather, but to use specific forecasts for things like swell, river flows, tidal current, and more.

Bellow you’ll find a couple of short tutorials on a few websites that we find very handy. If you already feel great about your ability to read general weather forecasts, check out some of the other websites we use for wind and tides.

General Weather

For general weather, we use the National Weather Service at  www.weather.gov for several reasons. Mainly, NOAA forecasts give you an accurate POINT forecast for a very specific location that takes into account elevation and other highly localized factors. Phone weather apps usually give a forecast for the nearest city or town, which can be a very different forecast from where you are actually going, especially if there is a difference in elevation. In remote areas where towns are few and far between, these problems become even more extreme. Here’s an example:

To get a point forecast, go to the NOAA website.

Search for the nearest town or landmark to where you are going. In this case I will do Salmon, Idaho:

The forecast for Salmon on this day is a high of 76 degrees. But if I click on the mountains just west of there:

The forecast in the mountains calls for a high of 56 degrees. That’s a 20 degree difference!

Point forecasts are a much more accurate way to predict the weather, especially if you are headed out into the woods away from the nearest town. Try using weather.gov and you’ll be happy knowing that you’re using the most accurate forecast possible.

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