tornado and broken tree

The AccuWeather App-ocalypse

I despise watching any local or national news programs because they’re all scripted, fake, and exaggerated. The only thing I casually care about is the weather — you know, whether it’s going to rain, how much, when, etc. Knowing temperature is also a necessity because there is a freezing point involved, and you might want wear that comfortable-yet-fabulous sweater vest today.

weatherman expanding

Many weather people seem so haughty and smarmy; they act like they’re the only ones that can do your taxes, or they might spend hours huffing their own flatulence. They glare at you with creepy smiles, washed in their soft lighting and posturing with suggestive hand signals, almost like they want you to know they recently caught you masturbating. And they always have some veiled threat of “what’s possible in the extended forecast,” like they’re somehow in control of what the sky is going to look like — but only if you’re “good” and grovel at the screen later for some more of their self-righteous opinions.

I think the obvious power-tripping male weather people bother me more than the female weather people. The weather-women seem to present what the complex network of sensors and computers — the REAL weather forecasters — are telling the weather staff to regurgitate with much more sincerity. Why does a man care this much about the weather anyway, right? I mean, they’re going to go out there and hunt, pillage, and destroy whatever is in their path regardless of any impedance. A little “precipitation event” (apparently, what rain is called now) isn’t going to stop them.

So, years ago I sang, “Yes, I love technology.” I installed the infamous WeatherBug program on my PC, but it became such memory hog it took three minutes just to open a simple Excel file.

Then, I finally got an Android smartphone (a Samsung Infuse, or as I liked to call it — the Shitfuse), and I had access to all these cool, free apps. The AccuWeather app, although a smidge jankety, seemed to be the best and highest-rated weather app available. It was one of my first downloads for my first-ever smart phone, and I wanted to take advantage of all the device’s features. So, I allowed AccuWeather to have its lecherous ways with my phone: All notifications were turned on, I pinned the persistent temperature gauge in the top status bar, and I allowed updates literally every 10 nanoseconds.

nyan android gif

The configuration worked great for awhile, but I began to become annoyed that the temperature readings were only updating every 36 hours. Also, the alerts for major weather events were too infrequent; I wouldn’t be aware of a thunderstorm or flood watch until only 15 minutes before a downpour. So, I uninstalled the AccuWeather app and just Googled the local weather every morning like a boss.

Well, now I have an esteemed Galaxy Note 4, so I decided to give AccuWeather another try. The app was promised to work a lot smoother and faster, and I believed the notifications and temperature gauge would be a nice addition to my modern device. I turned on everything AccuWeather had to offer once again!

Within the first few days, I noticed my battery was draining faster than puss from a pierced pimple. I also found my phone to be lagging during start-up and general navigation. Although, I thought having instant access to precise weather information 24/7 was worth the trouble. You never know when some errant F5 tornado could materialize and roll through your backyard.

The AccuWeather alerts were now definitely working. Surprisingly, I was getting them about nine times a day. I even got “alerts” that seemed to be much more positive than negative, yet they were displayed with a foreboding red exclamation point and saying things like, “TEMPERATURES MUCH MORE MILD SATURDAY.” What the hell? Isn’t that a good thing during the winter? How about using a “smiley” icon?

I reside in Wisconsin, but I would hate to live somewhere like Florida, Louisiana, Texas, or California with this app enabled. I can only imagine the types of AccuWeather alerts those people are getting: “NO HURRICANES WITHIN 200 MILES TODAY,” “ONLY 2% CHANCE OF TSUNAMI IN NEXT 72 HOURS,” “SWAMP GAS AT NORMAL LEVELS,” “ONLY MILD ACID RAIN TODAY,” or “HAMMERHEAD SHARK INFESTATION HAS FINALLY MOVED OFFSHORE.”

hammerhead shark costume gif

Also, the temperature reading in my status bar sometimes turned from an innocuous white to a deep blood-red. I never discovered what that meant, but the inexplicable color variations really started to disturb me. Was AccuWeather trying to tell me that I shouldn’t go outdoors? Was something bad about to happen? It wasn’t worth my worry, so I disabled that feature.

Then, I started receiving annoying alerts for all types of weird things like “SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY.” What the hell is a small craft advisory, and why am I getting this warning almost every day — sometimes up to five times! Subsequently, I had to disable ALL alerts because you can’t discriminate between the useless and meaningful ones. But you still see these stupid warnings at the top of the weather summary inside the AccuWeather app…what a downer to a perfect day.

small craft advisory

It’s just plain fear mongering bordering on alert-abuse, and I’m just not going to participate in these weather mind games anymore. I would uninstall, but everyone says it’s still the best weather app on the Google Play store.

But I even question the accuracy of AccuWeather’s forecasting. You’re supposed be able to the select the local weather you want to see based on zip code. However, numerous times I’ve gotten warning, alerts, and predictions for storms supposedly happening a few days from now, and later nothing ever happens. I even returned from a trip a day early because the app persisted in telling me that there would be four inches of snow the next morning — I later found not even a flurry fell.

Here’s what is even more crazy, though: If you look at AccuWeather’s Minutecast® option to see if any precipitation is going to occur in the next 120 minutes, I’ve found it to be 90% balls-on accurate by the minute and in terms of severity, almost like in Back to the Future II when Doc Brown checks his watch-thing to tell Marty exactly when the rain will stop! How can there be such a disparate performance between the next two hours and the next two days?

back to the future 2 rain gif

I really do like the idea of AccuWeather, and the latest app design (at least for Android) is really nice and a huge improvement over previous versions; but, without being able to use the intricate alerts and gauges, I feel like I’m missing out. To be fair, it is a “free” app. So, perhaps the creators just want to keep scaring you into checking for the next weather apocalypse to see more advertisements? I thought I saw some weird ads for insurance, stump removal, and steel construction housing, so maybe there is something to that theory.

Maybe you won’t experience the same issues. As far as for me, I’m staying away from as many anxiety-inducing apps as possible.

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