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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/ 3/2009

The Value of a Weather Forecast

By Ann Posegate

* Full Holiday Forecast | Beach Forecast | Outside Now? Weather Wall *
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Do you check the forecast often? You're not alone. According to a study by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Americans obtain about 300 billion weather forecasts every year and check the forecast about three times per day, on average. In general, we trust the forecasts we get, so long as they are only 24 to 48 hours in advance.

Keep reading for more on the weather forecast study after the poll...

The report was based on a 2006 survey that assessed how the American public "perceives, uses, and values weather forecasts." Over 1,500 adults were surveyed, 96 percent of whom reported using weather forecasts.

Respondents placed an average per-household value of about 10.5 cents on every forecast obtained. The study concludes that "this equates to an annual value of $31.5 billion. In comparison, the cost of providing forecasts by government agencies and private companies is $5.1 billion." So, we seem to be getting a good deal.

What value would you place on a forecast? Does 10.5 cents per forecast seem accurate to you? Let us know with a comment below.

By Ann Posegate  | September 3, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Posegate  
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Generally at least twice, often three times or more.

I believe our local forecasts get updated twice a day by NWS.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | September 3, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The first forecast of the day (or last of the night) is worth more to me than the 32 others I see during the day as I click, click, click to sate my weather thirst.

That said, I'm not paying anything (directly) for forecasts, given the hundreds of places I can get them.

Posted by: ah___ | September 3, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I tend not to pay attention nor trust forecasts more than a couple of days out unless I'm planning something and have no choice. There's a definite drop in accuracy over time, and even if something is looming, like an arriving cold front, often the timing is very different from what's initially expected.

Posted by: kevinwparker | September 3, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

My utility for a forecast increases if I'm going to travel, or to sail. I'd pay more than 10.5 cents for a daily forecast that helps me manage my commute. I'd pay a great deal more than that for accurate wind forecasts the day before, and a few hours before, any sailing trip. Most bluewater sailors today pay a monthly fee for access to sophisticated marine forecasts they can get at sea. I'm struck by how low that fee is from some of the companies offering this service.

Posted by: --sg | September 3, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

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