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Big data key to bringing hyperlocal weather forecasts to Georgia farmers

Jaikumar Vijayan | April 28, 2014
Farmers in southwest Georgia's Flint River Valley could one day get accurate, hyperlocal weather forecasts just for their individual farms up to three days in advance.

Both Reckford and Treinish, though, remain somewhat cautious when it comes to predicting the accuracy of the forecasts that will be generated by Deep Thunder.

The models generated by Deep Thunder will need to be validated against historical data collected by the University of Georgia weather stations over the years, to asses the accuracy of the forecasts over the long term.

"Accuracy means different things to different people," Treinish said.

Some farmers for instance, are less concerned about rainfall predictions than temperature forecasts. "Are they worried more about an inch of rain or about 90 degree heat or about too much wind to put their fertilizer down?"

The forecasts will never be perfect, Treinish conceded. "The key is we are reducing the error rate," to about half compared to the usual forecasts, he said.


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