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What's the future of predicting snow days? AI.

While this winter is waning, along with the chances of a snow day, one Rockford father is utilizing the latest wave of technology to make this more than a guess.

ROCKFORD, Mich. — It’s the age-old question for families when winter strikes - are we going to have a snow day? Usually, it’s a wait-and-see situation, with multiple factors in the decision from individual school districts.  

While this winter is waning, along with the chances of a snow day, one Rockford father is utilizing the latest wave of technology to make this more than a guess.

“The product that I’m working on is a snow day prediction application to where it’s going to use artificial intelligence to predict the likelihood of a snow day,” said Steven Wangler.

Artificial intelligence? To predict a snow day?

“This particular application builds on the hype of ChatGPT, the open A.I. product. ChatGPT is a linguistic model, which means it’s like a language model,” Wangler explained. “So if I’m feeding in a bunch of data and asking it for something, it’s doing its best to reason, or reasonably predict what I want out of what I’m telling it,” he furthered.

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Steven, a software engineer, has programmed the predictor specifically for the Rockford area.

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Wanger, of Rockford, is hoping his prediction application can accurately indicate when a snow day will take place.

“This is ultimately tailored towards stuff I found in the Rockford snow day policy, and stuff the superintendent has said about his decision and why he does this,” Wangler explained.

The model analyzes numerous inputs of weather data.

“Some of the inputs are something like the minimum temperature, the maximum temperatures for the day, the percentage chance of rain or snow, the wind chill, current weather conditions,” said Wangler. “We pull in that data, and then we build a response or a message to open A.I. that we can send, and then we give it some rules to follow,” he added.

One specific rule is abiding by the snow day policy of Rockford Public Schools. Wangler described this process of digging up past snow days, emails from the superintendent and their decision-making.

“And then from there, it makes its prediction,” said Wangler.

Like any product, it needs a name.

“We call it ‘Blizzard’ right now. We thought about naming it Yeti after our dog but it’s a little cliché.”

Credit: 13 ON YOUR SIDE

Steven has high hopes for its use in the future when Old Man Winter knocks.

“I think I'm going to throw up a website for it for people to sign up for alerts. Then hopefully give options for text messages one day and then emails. Different mediums that we could find.”

“There are snow day calculators out there. But you know, the difference with this is I'm fairly sure there are no snow day calculators currently that use artificial intelligence to make their predictions,” Wangler said. “People can just use it for fun, and, you know, can get an accurate good product without having to pay for it."

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