Weather Data API: track high-impact weather events to mitigate and make the most of their impact on your demand

Edut Birger
Marketing Associate

When it comes to predicting demand for businesses, we hear from many of our customers that weather is the initial idea that came to mind when considering what can move the needle. For bars and restaurants, a severe thunderstorm might lead to a decrease in in-person patrons and require adjustments to staff rostering and inventory to minimize waste. Yet for food delivery businesses, bad weather usually triggers incremental demand, so you will need to ensure you have enough drivers on the road to meet this increase. 

So you know you need to take weather into account, but not all weather events are created equal. Our customer realise quickly that realistically, they don’t need to know about every little rain shower that might reduce sales by a few customers. The more disruptive the weather, the more costly its potential impact. An unexpected storm after a day of high heat is likely to impact your demand in a number of ways, but if that storm develops into severe weather and causes floods that impact your stores or your supply chain, you need a data-driven plan ready to go and accurate-to-the-minute updates so you know when to initiate your plans. Often the impact of a severe weather event will have costly and far reaching consequences well beyond your operations that will directly experience it.

This is why most companies are investing in understanding severe weather, natural disasters and other high-impact unplanned event types such as COVID-19 regulations, health warnings and terrorist attacks. We cover all of these and you can find more about them here.

Why is having forecast-grade data important? 

PredictHQ’s weather data cuts through the noise by only surfacing high-impact events such as severe weather and natural disasters. Because of the impact of these events, it is essential you use the highest quality weather data to inform your strategies.

Our data is unique because it’s forecast-grade quality. We follow the Quality Standards for Processing Demand Causal Factors (QSPD), the industry standard for ensuring data is reliable enough to be put into forecasting models. 

Below are some important features of PredictHQ’s data that enable you to get the most out of your forecasting efforts. 

Easily Identify Correlations: Beam, our automated correlation engine, allows you to get better insights into which specific weather events affect your demand by correlating your anonymized historical transactional data with our severe weather data. This enables you to get a deeper understanding on how weather can drive both incremental and decremental demand. Our weather data is also often bundled with other demand signal categories, so you get insight into how multiple events happening at the same time, in the same location trigger perfect storms of demand (not just weather storms). 

Immediate Notifications: Get email notifications before severe weather events and warnings occur in locations that are important to you. Within 15 minutes of an event entering our system, we will notify you, so you receive the most up-to-date information as fast as possible.You can configure your settings to send out an email digest of important weather events, directly to your inbox. This ensures that important demand data is available to anyone who needs eyes on it, instantly. 

Global and Historical Coverage: PredictHQ’s weather data includes global coverage on severe weather, with up to seven years of historical weather data. This allows you to analyze previous weather events and see how they impacted your demand at a store by store level. This insight enables you to prepare strategies ahead of severe weather incidents, so you can recover faster.

Accessible for Every User: We don’t price by API calls, so you’re able to pull event data as often as you need. This is important, as a severe weather event will first appear as a warning in our system and you will need to track its progression. Our systems update the API every minute to ensure accuracy. You can view demand data via heat maps and calendars in our Control Center interface, so no data science expertise is required to make sense of our data. 

Consistent Quality: All of PredictHQ’s data is compliant with QSPD, meaning our weather data is clean, verified, and organized into a consistent schema. Not only do you get insights into where and when weather events are happening, but we also add a layer of intelligence to help you understand the impact and scope of specific storms, hurricanes, and more.

Quick ways to get started with PredictHQ’s Severe Weather data

Taking your weather responsiveness beyond checking the local forecasts is an impactful yet straightforward process.Here are three tips for getting started with PredictHQ’s Severe Weather data: 

  1. Use our repository of historical data, and our correlation engine, Beam, to determine exactly which weather events move the needle for your business. Use historical data to add severe weather data as a feature in your model to identify how much forecast grade data will reduce forecasting error rates.

  2. Choose how you want to access our data: You can access it via our API or configure Notifications to receive an email digest for operations managers to be alerted of any impactful weather events coming up. 

  3. Use these new insights to prepare strategies for tracking and reacting to severe weather by improving and adapting supply chain management, labor optimization, and demand forecasting.