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Wow, that's a tough one! Putting "weather forecast" and "accurate" in the same sentence seems oxymoronic. LOL! I use Accuweather and Weather Underground. I think the latter is the more accurate of the two, but that's a personal opinion.
I use NOAA pretty much exclusively. If we are doing hay or other baling then I watch the hourly graph forecast closely. Things like winds speed and direction, humidity, cloud cover, etc. Learned to watch the rainfall amount forecast closely as well.
I check weather.com, accuweather, weatherbug, weatherunderground, and AWIS to get a consensus. I use AWIS especially for pan evaporation numbers to reference to a chart by HayWilson to determine how well the hay will dry.
Was just talking about this with another hay farmer in town! I'll preface by saying I'm in Western Massachusetts, so no idea how it varies across the country.
For what it's worth - I'm really noticing this following pattern between The Weather Channel and Weather dot Gov:
TWC seems to be right more of the time about rain % on the daily forecast (a day or two in advance, or more - basically when deciding whether to mow.)
Weather dot gov seems to be more correct about sun. (The past three batches of hay, TWC called for partly/mostly cloudy, and weather dot gov said mostly sunny. Dot gov was right each time.)
TWC's hourly rain forecast sometimes completely botches it. I've watched them shift a rain chance a few hours away back down under 20%, even when I can see a wall of rain coming on radar - and then it jumps back up to 50+% right before the rain hits. Something wrong with their algorithm or something
So, this comes back to "how do different people define partly cloudy?". It certainly seems like TWC has a lower threshold for what they call cloudy, or "partly". Still frustrating, but offering this observation for what it's worth.
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