What’s wrong with MSN weather

MSN Weather: MelbourneScoble pointed to weather.msn.com. He reckons the only problem with it is lack of RSS.

There’s a bigger problem. It’s Fahrenheit-centric. You know Fahrenheit, that antiquated temperature system used exclusively in the USA, that the rest of the world has abandoned?

Okay, so you can get some stuff in Celsius. The current conditions and brief forecast — that’s all good. Okay so it defaults into F, even for non-US cities, but you can change it to C very easily. It even automatically gives me time local to that city — very nice.

But scroll down a little way, and you’ll find a map, with Fahrenheit all over it. Yeah, they mention it’s only in Fahrenheit, okay, and that seems to be how they got it from the Weather Channel.

So while MSN are hassling the Weather Channel for maps in C or F depending on user preference, maybe they can ask them what the hell happened with the map of Australia and friends? It’s got Hobart, Sydney, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide. Wait a sec, no Melbourne (Australia’s second-biggest city), no Brisbane (Australia’s third-biggest city), no Canberra (Australia’s capital city). They’ve highlighted what might be Cairns, Broome, perhaps Mackay and … oh, somewhere near the Gulf of Carpentaria; perhaps Mt Isa.

Worse, the detailed forecast has half C and half F, and wind speeds in mph. That is not very helpful. To most of us, it might as well be in Swahili.

I might also point out that in the smallprint of the Melbourne current conditions, it mentions the observations are from the Coldstream AWS. That explains why there are currently 37kmh winds outside. Coldstream is not actually in Melbourne, but beyond the urban fringe. Of all the Melbourne AWS locations, it’s probably the worst to try and measure Melbourne’s weather conditions. The one in the city centre probably would have been the best.

I can only hope MSN weather is at least accurate and useful for US users, because it would appear to be next to useless for anybody elsewhere.

4 thoughts on “What’s wrong with MSN weather

  1. Les Crossan

    It’s even worse in the UK Daniel – metrication (as we call it) is proceeding *very* slowly – my 7 year old daughter is being taught metric units ONLY – and she’s asking what miles are – which are all the road signs are in and are likely to be for the forseeable future. Add to that nautical miles and aircraft still working in thousands of feet and it all adds up to a right old royal mess. Weather forecasts here frequently mention both sets of units both C and F here in Blighty. Except the new BBC ones which are totally inadequate…. and distort the country so much that only the south coast of the UK is visible.

    My state rep for the Australian Severe Weather Association which I am a paid up member of is from Melbourne….

    In the 1970’s we were taught both sets of units. I never expected to still be using both sets of units in 2005.

    Google Maps makes the UK part of the eastern seaboard of the United States which may well happen of course ):


  2. Hamish Lonsdale

    We live near Geelong in the southern State of Victoria, Australia.
    Google has given us a weather location to choose from in the personalised homepage, but the projected temperatures make no sense at all. Worse is that if you try to edit the feed, or even to locate it it is just not there. F or C do not seem to be an option. What can I do to fix this?

  3. Mikey

    I have to take exception to “antiquated system”. Yes, it is *different* — but that does not make it “antiquated”. By the way, both systems have been around since the 1700’s — so from that perspective both are quite antiquated. OH NO….maybe we all need to change!

    I must also point out that the US is not the *only* country that uses this system. For sure it is one of a small handful. But hey, I am an engineer so imprecise statements rather pop out at me 😉

    Right there is my real rub with the MSN gadget — and my never-ending wonder of why anybody would want this piece of junk on their computer. It is almost always wrong! I loaded it up some time ago thinking “very cool”. Then I realized that the temperatures shown are often way off. As much as 15 degrees F (that would be about 10 degrees C for all of you Anders Celsius readers 😉 That is not just for my home-town either. I can compare the MSN “current conditions” for various locations, including big cities, with other services and find it almost always off by several degrees.

    Come on MSN! If you are going to offer weather try to get it right — or quite doing it.

  4. Joan

    Who cares what system is used if the information is inaccurate? Right now, it’s claiming my location is 4F. (Converts to -16C.)
    Accuweather and the old fashioned mercury thermometer by my dining room window both say it’s more like 21F (-6C).

    Oddly, MSN weather has the correct temp in Celsius (-6C).

    I find the information from MSN to be wildly inaccurate. And yes, I’m in the US, on the Northeast seaboard between New York and Boston – there’s no excuse for this!

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