Tip #10: Choose the right weather model for a spot

Tip #10: Choose the right weather model for a spot


Among 100+ Windy.app features, there are always one or two, or even three small ones that you didn't know about, right? Even if you're a true weather and outdoor expert using the app. Meanwhile, these may be small, but important features.

For example, you can choose a specific weather model from more than 10 models available in the app today. Why choose a model? There are weather models of two main types: global models for the entire planet and regional models for a particular region or part of the world. It is believed that regional models give better weather forecasts because the smaller area for which you want to make a forecast, the easier it is to do and the more accurate the forecast will be. And vice versa. (However, global models also have their advantages.) So when choosing models, don’t limit yourself to global models: pay attention to regional ones, too.

Here’s exactly how you can do it:

1. Open your favorite outdoor spot or closest one to your location by searching on the app's Home screen or on the Weather map. For example, let’s take the main city and spot for outdoor activities in southern Russia, Sochi, where the 2014 Winter Olympics took place.

Home screen of the Windy.app for iOS

2. Choose a global or regional model in the slider below the wind rose. The list of models may change slightly depending on the weather profile for the sports, which you can change by clicking on the icon to the right of the list of models.

  • Global models: ECMWF, EC-ENS, GFS27, GFS+, ICON13, MFWAM 
  • Regional models: ICON7 (Europe), NAM (North America), HRRR (North America), WRF8 (Europe, South Korea, and Japan), Open Skiron or OS (Medetteratean Sea), OpenWRF or O-WRF (Mediterranean Sea), AROME (France)

Find the exact parameters of each model in a special Guide to weather forecast models used in the Windy.app.

Weather models in the Windy.app for iOS

3. Note that, depending on the chosen weather profile for your particular sport, the weather forecast table may contain the weather parameters not only for the weather model you’ve chosen but from other models as well. For example, on the screen below you have wind parameters from ECMWF but CAPE Index from ICON 13 and dew point from GFS27.

Weather forecast table for Sochi, Russia, in the Windy.app for iOS

4. The exact list of weather parameters for one or another model is available in the Customization Mode. Moreover, you can choose which parameters you want to see by creating your Custom weather profile. To do this, click on the weather profile icon and just start generating the forecast table. To get more information, read the Guide to Windy.app customizaion.

Custom weather profile in the Windy.app for iOS

5. Go back to the Weather map by clicking on the map icon to the right of the wind rose on the spot screen. Here you can also choose a weather model that is made and better suited for your region.

Weather map in the Windy.app for iOS

6. For example, the global model GFS27 may work well for Sochi, but the HRRR model may be a better choice for the U.S. Its peculiarity is that it is radar-based and updated 24 times a day, as opposed to the GFS’s 4 hours. You can also see the exact coverage area of the model on the map.

HRRR weather model for the US in the Windy.app for iOS

7. Finally, another good way to choose the right spot model is to ask for advice in the chat. Chats are available on all the major spots in the app. To do this, click on the bell icon to the right of the wind rose on the spot screen and write a message to the chat with questions about which model works best.

What about languages? Of course, in Russian chat most messages will be in Russian, and in Japanese most messages will be in Japanese. On the native chat in your country or in the one where your language is spoken, you won't face such a problem. Or write a message in English anyway.

If you get an answer, so you don’t forget it, you can copy it into notes on your phone by clicking on the message and holding your finger lightly.

Spot chat of Sochi, Russia, in the Windy.app for iOS

Read all useful tips in the Windy.app blog. You can also find them all on the Tips page in the Support section of the website:


Text: Ivan Kuznetsov, an outdoor journalist, editor and writer from the Dolomites, Italy, and Karelia, Finland, with 10 years of professional experience. His favorite sports are hiking, cycling and sauna. Read his other articles

Cover photo: S B Vonlanthen / Unsplash

You will also find useful

Meet the new HRRR weather forecast model for the US

How to compare weather forecasts

The guide to the world's major weather models

What are weather models and how do they work

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