Here we try to capture the feel of the weather as an image – it will never be perfect but is useful for a quick overview.
We would always recommend looking at the cloud amounts and the types, the wind speed and direction and of course temperature and precipitation to get the best interpretation.
In general there are more rain/snow drops/flakes as intensity increases. Probably our weakest area for forecasting is that for mist or fog, as this can be extremely localised and be missed by our broader scale model. However, we do a pretty good job at this and are always trying to improve.
Some of the biggest compromises are made when we try to represent a whole day’s weather with one symbol. Essentially when, weather conditions are changing, it just can’t be done efficiently without using animation or other more complicated means.
As a result we tend to represent the day’s weather with the conditions prevailing at midday and the night weather with those prevailing at midnight local time. So if it is raining and overcast at 6AM and sunny and dry at 12PM we would show this as sunny for the day’s weather.
The moral of the story here is to always click on the more detailed weather information option to see the whole story for the day in 3 hour time chunks for the first several days of the forecast.