And to think that it was born as an idea for amateurs. However, today there are three million users who connect every day to check the weather, In addition to clients such as newspapers, radios, local, regional and national stations, but also Italy’s Autostrade and Italian Railways. 3BMeteo, the name that comes from the first letter of the surnames of its three founders – Massimo Bettinelli, Sergio Previo and Lorenzo Padilino – has come a long way since 1999 to become one of the most reliable prediction apps: up to 98% calculated on the first three days. Which to some extent represents her heart, although we can talk about predictions up to the seventh day. Then it becomes trend. And it no longer uses deterministic models, but rather probabilistic models, saying that there is a greater probability of one phenomenon than another. But if a click on a smartphone is enough for us to know in real time what to expect from a meteorological point of view, what we see is the work of a whole team that develops models, makes forecasts and distributes them externally.
Operations Center at Villa Moroni
The 3BMeteo Operational Center is located in Ponte San Pietro in Villa Moroni: a magical place that smells of peace, whether it’s sun, rain or snow outside. The number of people who rotate on the editorial board is about forty, including developers of the IT department and the technology part, administrators, publishers of external forecasts, 17 meteorologists and model makers. It all starts with them, the model makers, who each morning refine the internal model based on the raw data that comes from the ECR models, mathematical physical models that simulate the evolution of the atmosphere, and pass it on to meteorologists for forecasts. Then the meteorologist uses the internal model for his predictions: “We do it by hand,” says Manuel Mazzoleni of 3BMeteo. We have an internal database where each region is divided into micro-segments, studied on the basis of the territory’s morphology and micro-climate. Each has its own characteristics. For each of them, meteorologists consult models that simulate the evolution of the atmosphere and understand how different parameters will change in the coming days, be it wind, humidity or precipitation. And they turn what will be the evolution of the weather that they read on the weather maps into a symbol — the sun, the rain, the clouds — that we all see.”
Forecasts are made in the morning and then updated during the day, 365 days a year and about 24 hours a day because there are customers who, in the event of certain phenomena, need real-time forecasts even at night. At least six meteorologists per shift make forecasts for the next five or six days, with a further outlook if important phenomena occur. «With expectations being equal – continues Mazzoleni – the task is more complicated in bad weather because there are more elements to consider. In the event of disturbances, in fact, the areas where it rains, the timing of the arrival of the rains and their intensity must be calculated, and in the winter period, the share of snow must also be calculated.
Records in May
More work and also some extra margin for error: “Everything is easier when the weather is stable. In the event of an anticyclone, it is more difficult to make a mistake, even in 15 days, than in only 2 days in a very dynamic situation with disturbances in crossing and the formation of low depressions.. And if user requests on the one hand, which recorded a record number of more than 3,600,000 daily visitors last May, Going towards increasingly detailed predictions and a roughly margin of error, technology in recent decades has made a strong positive contribution with increasingly reliable models and tools allowing for more accurate and faster calculations. In addition to putting expectations within everyone’s reach. Because once processed, expectations must be communicated externally: the site and the application, but not only. The media department of 3B Meteo, which includes recording studios, supplies it every day to 100 television stations and about 400 radio stations.
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