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Next Winter Storm Brings Complicated Forecast

Many people use smart phone apps for weather info. These phones have a limited amount of data, which can prove inaccurate on long-range forecasts.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Tony McGaughy works as a District Engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

As another winter storm approaches, he's well aware of the potential work ahead.

"It's still winter, is what it is," he says matter-of-factly, addressing the potential impact on northwest Missouri.

McGaughy says there's not a lot of difference in how his department handles the response to an early March snow.

"The difference you're going to see that in March, with weather on the rise it's doesn't last as long, he said."  "Mother Nature kind of helps us with sun and warmer weather.  In January generally we're in a deep freeze so you generally have to fight it longer.  So it's not so much preparing for it, it's actually fighting it."

Many get weather information online, and some use smart phones for the forecast.

"[I, and] a lot of my friends too, they look at their phones every morning to see what it's going to be for the rest of the day," said Emily Fauver, a freshman at Missouri Western State University.

Fauver admits she pretty much uses her phone all day, every day. And she's not alone.

"I use it every morning," sophomore Monica Miller said.  "My sister and I wake up and she asks me how warm it's going to be, if it's windy, if it's chilly.  Then, we decide how many layers to wear."

Using apps to decide what to wear on a day to day temperature forecast seems simple enough, but these apps usually have a limited source of information for long range forecasts.

Weather professionals and meteorologists look at a number of different sources in order to get that forecast together. 

Whether it be maps or textual data, experts look at a number of different models to build that forecast. 

Multiple sources offer the most accurate view possible.

"Not only are we looking at three, four, or five different sources they may be looking at three, four, or five different models," McGaughy said.  "So you're getting a bigger picture by coming in with different sources."

The snowstorm that's looming looks to be quite significant, but even just a few days out a lot could change in the outlook.

Keep watching the most recent forecasts for the most accurate look at what to expect.
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