It’s Friday, and you know what that means! We celebrate all things relating to data visualization. And since it’s almost the weekend, we thought we would share some of our favorite visualizations that should help you figure out if the weather will be kind to your big weekend plans!

So get out the umbrellas (or the sunscreen, you never can tell), this week we’re talking about the weather!

“Since when can the weatherman predict the weather?” Our friends in the meteorological profession have long been the brunt of many jokes at their expense, usually having to do with the accuracy of their forecasts.

However, according to this visualization from the minds at FiveThirtyEight Science it might not be entirely their fault. It turns out that the weather can be wildly unpredictable based on what type of weather it is and where you’re living.


Turns out the temperature is harder to predict in the midwest.
Turns out the temperature is harder to predict in the midwest.

What we found most interesting about this visualization was that the authors didn’t just stop at analyzing historical data. They broke it up further by looking at different meteorological events such as temperature, precipitation and extreme weather events. What they discovered was that some areas of the country had incredibly predictable temperatures while having highly unpredictable precipitation patterns and vice-versa. So the next time you load up the car for a sunny picnic and get rained out, think twice before blaming the weatherperson!

The Only Thing Predictable… Is Unpredictability.

This next visualization comes to us from the International Environmental Data Rescue Organization and, a site dedicated to tracking long-term patterns in the weather. What the clever scientists at this site have done is use new methods to visualize old weather patterns.

The Polar Vortex... of 1914.
The Polar Vortex… of 1914.

What do we love about this visualization in particular? Well, lots of things. For example, whenever there was a gap in the historical data the researchers showed it as a gray fog over the map- even going so far as to show what they think the weather was doing in the blank spaces, based on the weather around it.

Another thing we love about it- the sheer amount of work that had to go into making this. Poring and scanning millions of historical weather data was certainly a monumental task, containing some 200 million data points. But this astounding visualization is well-worth the effort, giving us a detailed look into the past in an effort to hopefully better understand the future.

Do you have any favorite ways of seeing the weather? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter @VisualCue.

Until next time, have a fun weekend!

The VisualCrew.