Weather tech finally joined the 21st century. But the forecast may surprise you

ClimaCell and other weather tech startups are using connected devices to create hyperlocal weather maps and sell them to a range of clients.

We all know that sh*tty weather can be a pain for soggy commuters. 

But inclement weather has also long been an expensive headache for city planners, sports stadium engineers, airlines, and other businesses.

That’s why a growing number of businesses have developed new weather tech products to make it easier to predict weather — and they’re finally starting to take off.

The future of weather forecasting? Big data on a tiny scale

In the past, weather forecasters relied mainly on government agencies for meteorological info, which meant most weather forecasters reported the same imprecise data (no wonder everyone hated them).

But new weather startups supplement traditional meteorological data with new, hyperlocal data to create forecasts accurate not just to entire regions but to individual cities or even a single airport or stadium.

So, how are they doing that? Mostly by transforming boring, existing infrastructure — cell phones, cars, cell towers, street cameras — into a network of connected meteorological sensors. That’s right… we’re talkin’ smart streetlights, baybee

Take the weather tech startup ClimaCell, for example

The company, which has raised $75m in funding, uses signals from cell towers, video from street cameras, data from smart cars, and information from drones and airplanes to make hyperlocal weather maps.  

ClimaCell helps airlines (Delta, United), ride-sharing companies (Via), pro sports teams (the New England Patriots), construction companies (Procore), and other partners predict weather more precisely.

And there are plenty of other weather tech players

A number of weather tech companies have recently raised money to expand their services and compete with large companies AccuWeather. Here are a few of the most noteworthy:

  • Understory raised $5.25m (of $22.2m total) to build out its hyperlocal weather intelligence network this past May.
  • PlanetiQ raised $18.7m (of $23.9m total) earlier this year to build out its constellation of weather satellites. 
  • Saildrone raised $60m (of $88.5m) to build out its global fleet of oceangoing, weather data-collecting drone ships last year.

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