Weather forecasting has always focused on protecting people from changes in the environment by providing pragmatic behavior recommendations:
- Dress appropriately if it's going to rain.
- Avoid outdoor activities due to heatwaves or storms.
- Wear sunscreen during peak UV hours.
- Prepare buildings for high humidity levels and cold fronts.
- Don't take the boat out in stormy weather.
- Watch out for extreme weather events - wildfires, tornadoes, flash floods, etc.
However, before weather apps came along, consumers relied on non-real-time broadcasts of weather information delivered through the radio, tv, and newspapers. Alerts for extreme events were possible - but there was no method of continuously updating people when on the move.
Smartphones changed everything. Weather providers could suddenly function like ‘news’ agencies or ‘alert’ systems by informing consumers about weather changes in real-time.
Better access to information also served to change consumption preferences for weather information: A 2019 market survey found that younger people are now most likely to check the weather on their smartphone apps than any other platform: