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New Video – Grr! Alexa/Echo Gives Wrong Weather: How To Fix This!

I love most of the features that Echo provides… apart from the weather forecasting, that is. That’s because I moved house a few years ago, but it still gives me the weather forecast for my old town. Also, Alexa uses AccuWeather which – despite its name – isn’t always the most accurate. As a result, I wanted to shoot this video and show how to fix these two issues:

Feel free to jump to my solutions to the two problems at:

  • 1:23 – Fixing incorrect Echo weather location.
  • 4:05 – Fixing inaccurate Alexa/Echo weather.

Video Transcript

Hey YouTube, I’m Tristan from Smart Home Point. I really like my Echo devices but one of the things that really annoys me with them is the weather forecasting. To give you an example, I live in a town called Cwmbran and today – looking out the window – it’s cloudy or a little bit sunny, and there’s no chance of rain – and I’ve double-checked that with some other weather sources. So let’s see what happens when I ask my Echo for the weather.

“What’s the weather like today?” “Currently in Caerphilly it’s 14 degrees Celsius with mostly sunny skies. Today you can expect clouds with a chance of showers, with a high of 16 degrees and a low of 6 degrees”.

It’s gonna rain? One second. Phew, sorry, I thought I was gonna get caught in a shower then. Now as it happens, there are two issues with the Echo weather forecast. One of them is it got the town wrong. The other one was they told me that it’s gonna rain – well there’s a chance of rain – and as it happens, there’s no actual chance of that. As a result I wanted to film this video to show you how you can fix these two separate issues, so that if you’ve moved house or for whatever reason your Echo is getting the weather forecast wrong – for the town – you can fix that. And secondly I want to show you how you can choose other weather sources so you don’t need to worry about inaccurate weather forecasts. Let’s take a look.

If your echo device is giving you the wrong weather for the wrong town, this might be a bit confusing because on your home screen of the Alexa app – right here – will probably give you the correct town, so it’s pretty confusing as to why your Echo device is getting the wrong town. One of the things you might have done to try and solve this issue is to go to settings, down in your locations you may have gone in here, and you will have seen that your home is listed as the right town. So again it doesn’t make much sense – or doesn’t seem to make much sense as to why your Echo device is getting the town completely wrong. But as it happens, each Echo device actually has the capability of having a completely different town – a completely different location. I think the idea here is that obviously if you’ve got multiple houses – or maybe you’ve bought an Echo for a family member – then you’re able to actually have a different zip code for each Echo device that you have, but still they’re registered to one account. You can control everything there. So if we actually go into a particular device, if we scroll down to device location and here you can actually see the zip code – or the postcode because I’m in the UK – for an actual Echo device.

And in my case that is the – that postcode – is actually for… (mumbles) okay probably not with typing there… that’s for Caerphilly, anyway, CF83 is for Caerphill. Anyway, while I actually live somewhere else. I live in Cwmbran which starts with NP44. So what you’ve gotta do is just come down here for the zip code – or the postcode – I’ll type in my new one, and now I could carry on and put my full street address, but obviously I don’t need that. The weather forecast just based on the zip code is perfectly fine, obviously. So at the top now, I’ll click on save and then it just says ‘Please check any existing alarms’. You know, make sure that they adapt to the timezone if necessary. Obviously I don’t have any multi timezone alarm so I don’t need to worry, so I’ll click on OK. We’ll go out of that, and back in. Let’s just verify that’s worked. I got to device location, and you can see now that the zip code – or the postcode – is actually for Cwmbran which is perfect. “Right now in Cwmbran, Wales it’s 13 degrees Celsius, with mostly sunny skies. Today’s forecast is clouds with a chance of showers, with a high of 16 degrees and a low of 8 degrees”.

Right, if you find that the weather source used by Alexa isn’t very good – or isn’t very accurate – then you can use skills to resolve this. The reason you have to use a skill is that unfortunately AccuWeather is the default weather provider in Echo, so – or in Alexa – so when you say “what’s my weather” that will always use AccuWeather. You can’t change that default provider. But what you can do very easily is say to Alexa – you know – enable a weather skill, and it will use that. Or you can do that by the app, which I’ll show you now. So you come in, do a search for ‘big’ – don’t want ‘big fart’ – want ‘Big Sky’, rather. Right, so these are the – some of – the different weather apps. Obviously I’m gonna choose Big Sky because I just happen to know that’s the highest reviewed Alexa app and with Big Sky you can also do some nice questions, such as you can say ‘will it rain tomorrow?’ or ‘will it rain in three hours time?’, so it’s quite a nice app. And obviously the ratings are a lot better than the default Alexa app. What you’ll also find with these skills is that you’ve also got skills tailored to your particular country. In the UK you can use the Met Office. Obviously in America you’re gonna have weather sources tailored to you. In this case I’ll go into Big Sky and it’s just giving you examples of some of the queries you can actually ask it, such as ‘will it rain in three hours’, which is quite useful. Now you can enable this skill either by going to an Echo device and saying ‘enable Big Sky’, or you can go into the app and click on ‘Enable to use’. Right, which I’ll do now. So in my case I won’t share location services, all I’ll do is share device address because that’s all it really needs. So I’ll click on all it needs for my purposes… so I’ll click on ‘save’, and I say it is ready to go. And the nice thing with this app is you don’t actually need to manually configure your address, so you don’t have yet another place that stores your address information.

This skill will obviously just use the address you’ve already configured. And as say, it’s quite highly rated, there’s quite a lot of different options. If you want as well there’s premium – there’s a premium option – which is really cheap, I think it’s like $3.00 per year or something, and it’s pretty cheap and it gives you really fine grain control and you can get – sort of – custom weather alerts as well. But for most users, you know, the free functionality is perfectly good. They’ll give you very accurate, very useful weather forecast information. So let’s try it out now. “Open Big Sky”. “Currently it’s 19 degrees with mostly cloudy skies, remaining that way for the hour. Tonight it should be mostly cloudy with an overnight low of 12 degrees. Tomorrow you might see light rain in the evening when there’s a 33% chance. The high will be 20 degrees. There is the following weather alert in effect: yellow thunderstorms warning for United Kingdom, Wales expiring today at 11:00 p.m.. To hear the full alert, say ‘what’s the alert’. To hear more details about your current requests, say ‘more details’.” … “More details”. “The high of 20 degrees occurred around 3:57 p.m., and the low of the day of 10 was at 3:18 a.m. The overnight low will be 12 degrees. Sunrise was at 4:56 a.m. and sunset will be at 9:34 p.m. Right now the relative humidity is 68% with a dew point of 13 degrees. The wind is coming out of the Southwest at 4.7 miles per hour, with gusts up to 6.3 miles per hour”.

Well thank you, that’s clearly a lot more information than you get from the default Alexa weather provider. So that’s awesome! Thanks for that.

Thank you for watching this video. I hope you found it useful. For me personally, when I moved house a few years ago I always found it annoying that Alexa or my Echo devices would keep giving me the weather forecast for my old town so it’s nice to know how you can solve this issue. Equally both my wife and I have found that AccuWeather – which is used by Alexa – isn’t the most reliable for us in this area. It was nice that we know about big skill [sky!], and some of the other weather skills we can use to get more accurate weather forecasts for us. If you liked this video, please click the thumbs up button and don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you!

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

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