We have observed an increasing number of Twitter complaints, mentioning that the in-game extreme weather is appearing too frequently, often in conditions that should not be considered extreme for the region.

As extreme weather levels prevent any type of weather bonus to occur, we decided to investigate and see what’s causing this and is it expected in-game behavior or a bug.

TLDR version:

  • The game relies on multiple weather alarm services around the world. Those weather services publish weather alarms that use a Level 1 through 4 scale to describe alarm severity:
    • Hazardous weather (warning, bonuses still active) is triggered by a Level 2 alarm
    • Extreme weather is triggered if any of your regional weather services issues an Level 3 or 4 alarm
  • We don’t know if the game is using OpenWeatherMap data to determine extreme weather, but it doesn’t seem likely
  • The system is over tuned and over protective (in our opinion), but it doesn’t seem to have many bugs and it seems to work reliably across the globe

What triggers extreme weather?

Instead of relying on only one weather provider, Niantic is relying on multiple weather providers and weather alarm services.

If any of those services triggers a weather alert, your in-game weather will display a warning. Depending on the level of that weather alert, the in-game level may display a different warning message.

We are not sure if this is the case for every country / region in the world, but a large number of weather services publishes weather warnings using the following scale:

  •  Level 1  – no weather danger
  •  Level 2  – the weather is potentially dangerous
  •  Level 3  – the weather is dangerous
  •  Level 4  – the weather is very dangerous

The in-game hazardous and extreme weather conditions are activated if the local weather service publishes the following alerts:

  • Level 2 alert 🡒 Hazardous weather warning
  • Level 3 and Level 4 alerts 🡒 Extreme weather

This was confirmed by dozens of reports on our Twitter:

Our initial observation leads us to believe that European weather conditions are determined by meteoalarm.eu if there is no better source of information at the moment.

We are unable to find strong evidence of Accuweather influencing the in-game weather in US or Asia, but there is something going on there.

However, there are some interesting tidbits of information elsewhere – OpenWeatherMap.

What’s the deal with OpenWeatherMap?

The in-game map recently has shifted from using Google Maps to using OpenStreetMap’s street data. OSM is a free service and OpenWeatherMap could mistakenly be considered as it’s weather based counterpart.

OpenWeatherMap is not free, nor is it open in the same way OpenStreetMap is. OWM is a full on software product, with pricing, licencing and more.

Regardless of it’s nature, OWM provides a plethora of interesting APIs, such as an API that publishes weather conditions and codes for a region / coordinates / city:

ID Meaning
900 tornado
901 tropical storm
902 hurricane
903 cold
904 hot
905 windy
906 hail

However, we are unable to share any further insights into this at the moment. We did create a developer account and tried using the service, but the data received was not matching the in-game weather or weather warning. We’ll need to re-test with a city in a different country and update you later on.

  • Patrick Terry Jr.

    I haven’t had any extreme warnings yet, had the hazardous though

  • Zappy-N

    i’ve had numerous “extreme” warnings by me. i live in a part of california near some of the recent wildfires (not close enough that i’m in any danger) so that’s probably why. although i did finally get regular weather last night

    • Technogal

      Yep me too. I’m in the Inland Empire. Just got lifted last night at 8pm.

  • ono1113

    I have it for second day…. its half cloudy and sometimes kinda stronger wind… nothing else…

  • Nick van den Ingh

    It’s raining and snowing here (the Netherlands) and although it’s raining/snowing all weekend I think it’s a bit overrated to call it extreme weather (which is the case according to PoGo).

  • Robdebobrob

    It seems that Niantic picked up on the trend that common sense is dead, and people cant decide for themselves when the weather is safe to go out or not.

    I said it before and ill say it again, the warnings need to be removed.
    The Netherlands have had level 3 this morning, and since 14:00 the whole country is level 4.
    I agree its unsafe to go out and drive your car, but you shouldnt play PoGO in your car at all.
    Walking in the snow isnt really a life threatening activity, and it shouldnt trigger these levels of alerts for the game.

    • Robdebobrob

      And with “unsafe to drive” i mean you cant drive like you normally do. At slow pace its no problem. Its actually perfect for a street here in my city that has lots of stops in it if you have a GO Plus.

      • Chris Denton

        Unfortunately, most people do not have common sense, hence speed limits and weather alerts. The game is still playable in extreme weather you just don’t get weather spawns, correct?. The minority of players always suffer because the majority are irresponsible.

        That’s not niantics fault but there is plenty of things wrong that is their fault.

        Distracted driving is not ok. Speed has nothing to do with that and pogo is not a reason to be distracted while driving.

        It makes me lol at all these people upset they aren’t getting extra spawns when people outside of cities haven’t had any spawns since launch.

        • Robdebobrob

          Well i say remove it and let natural selection do its thing.

          • Chris Denton

            I doubt they remove it but they may fix it if it’s broken. As you kind of said in your first comment, niantic feels as though they are responsible for how the players play the game. They do not want to risk the possibility of someone going out and getting hurt or killed in bad weather while playing their game. That’s not exactly good pr.

          • Satu Sihvonen

            But what they classify as bad weather is in serious need of tuning. Hi, here from a Nordic country where apparently Niantic labels ~every normal winter day~ as hazardous or extreme. Yeah I can still play I’d just like to tell Niantic that they are ridiculous. Oh my god it’s snowing however will we survive -.-

          • Chris Denton

            I can see it getting tweaked but it’s a good idea.

            Hello from Indiana.

          • Pena123

            Does not own but uses! So who is there to blame? Not a single one of weather data providers optimizes their data for pokemon go playing so you can’t blame them. Where I live there are no bad weathers there are only wrong equipment.

          • Chris Denton

            Alright. I said it’s not all niantics fault. Wrong equipment? Who’s equipment? Niantics? Nope. You aren’t going to be able to catch weather spawns all day long and that’s good. They are OP as heck.

          • Pena123

            Well I say it’s all Niantics fault. Because they are behind the game and decided to use this weather data. And the equipment(gear might be better word, not a native as you maybe noticed) is mine. And i have correct one for any weather here. Well the weather spawns are here all day long, but for some reason the winter might be too extreme for Niantics precious pokemons. What’s the point of having ice pokemons in the game if winter is so dangerous!

          • Chris Denton

            It’s pretty accurate. As I said many times it will never be 100% accurate. Which weather service do you think you would want? Because it will be inaccurate at times as well.

            You’re being a little ridiculous. They don’t want people going out in bad weather for their game. It’s not that difficult to understand.

          • Pena123

            So in Norway you should play pokemon in some regions only 3 days of a year. There are places where bad weather is normal. And that’s the problem. They haven’t thought it through. And I think it’s a shame. And the major issue is that they seem to use warnings that are targeted for surfers, drivers or sailors. The game is not suitable for any of those. That is just pure stupidity.

            If they want to be overprotective why they develop a game where pedestrians starve the screen instead of the environment? And don’t get me wrong I like the game a lot and even the weather spawns, but I can’t find the true logic in this. The better way to ensure players safety would be shutting down the hole game locally when there is these major issues like forest fires, hurricanes and so one.

          • Chris Denton

            I’ve explained why they do it and others here have as well. You do not understand and I can’t help you understand. I’m sorry but it’s not near as big of an issue as you are making it. I had extreme weather last night in game, the sun still rose this morning. I was still able to battle gyms, battle raids and catch regular Pokémon in the nearest city. This issue should not be first priority, IMO. But I would expect tweaks if it is indeed malfunctioning.

            Use the support ticket feature in pogo and tell niantic your problem. You may get a response.

          • Pena123

            Yeah you explained it. So I should buy your explanation which kind of sucks. Am I making this issue huge or do you just misread me? This weather update is poorly done and I hope they fix it. And I have brought up some improvements I would like to see. But you keep talking about how there is some other to blame, and how they don’t want people to play in bad weather. So you explain why, but to solve the problem we should ask why 5 times. You don’t bring much in to this conversation.

            What was the reason why there was extreme weather?

          • Chris Denton

            Because a weather agency reported level 4 or 5 weather. You just don’t understand and that’s ok with me. Was just trying to help you understand niantic does not create the data sets.

            I realize my explanation is not what you wanted to hear but that doesn’t make it suck. As I have said, tell niantic and maybe they will do something. I have said more than once if it’s broken they may fix it. I also asked you which agency you thought would be better, but you didn’t answer that.

            I’m done with this, have a good day.

          • Pena123

            You keep answering on the first why. And that I agree with you. Then I disagree if it’s smart or not. And I told you why i disagree. And I have told you that there isn’t a single one agency that really provides correct data for Pokemon go playing. And that’s why they should not use these warnings lightly. The warnings are targeted to other groups than players. It is reported that extreme sailing weather affect in weather spawns.

            Have a nice day!

          • Tom

            Dude we live in a modern society. Natural selection is automatically inverted.

    • Heleen Duren

      Red / level 4: the weather is very dangerous and extreme. Code red means serious problems. The chance is very large, at least 90 percent, that extreme weather occurs. The criteria are also the same as for code yellow. You can guess that with code red damage and accidents are very likely: think of falling trees and cranes. It is also dangerous on the road, especially for (moped) cyclists, motorcyclists, trucks, cars with trailers and caravans.

      • Heleen Duren

        Yellow: the weather can be dangerous. Even with a yellow code there is not much going on yet. However, dangerous weather may occur and that means you have to look out for outdoor activities such as sailing.

  • Martin

    So here inn my town in Norway we have had extreme at a permanent rate, and from what that map could tell me, it’s caused by avalanche danger. This is pretty silly beacuse the places where avalanches happen, are not lived inn. We here have known for centuries what areas that might have avalances, and the only things we build in those areas are roads, mainly used in the other seasons. So the danger would never involve anyone playing Pokemon Go, but it still takes away all our possible bonuses.

  • Jason Konno

    I’m in Hawaii… We have large surf during most of the winter. So it’s nice and sunny 80 degrees, but I’m getting the extreme alert due to high surf? Is there a way to not have this affect the game if the surf isn’t affecting us? I’m 3 miles from the nearest ocean at home, but I’m getting the extreme notification? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f48252b8d4fa1ecdf8b2119df53ec3022a1fc29791d43eff0cb524f16bd8ec30.jpg

    • Technogal

      That sucks. I was wondering that same thing, being in California. Had 3 solid days of Extreme because of a Red Flag Warning.

      • Daniel Krystyniak

        We are having the same thing in Kansas City, but today isn’t even a Red Flag Warning like Monday. We have extreme in game weather from the Severe Alert of possible fire because its windy and ground is dry.

  • Bob

    Here is Oklahoma we are under Extreme level, but it is 65 and sunny. However there is what we call a Red Flag warning which is a fire risk, but not an actual weather event.

    • Technogal

      Yep, just had 3 days of Extreme due to California fires. Just north of me they are still under a red flag warning as fires continue to burn. Heck, California could permanently be under a red flag warning.

  • Appel Flap

    We have had a code red in the Netherlands the past few days because of heavy snowfall. It is very unusual to have a lot of snow (only snows a few days a year). The cars are not equiped for snow leading to record breaking traffic jams.

  • Johan Delarey

    So if we get extreme weather warning, so pokemon’s spawn will not show up ?
    sorry for my bad english

    • Chris Denton

      No you still get everything that is not weather related. It’s a non issue

  • Technogal

    Thank you for this article! Now we need to get Niantic to change this system. I’ve been tweeting Niantic daily to complain.

  • Dominic Perez

    Is it weird that I got “Extreme Weather” yet the weather that I checked for today was partly cloudy and that the temp was very cold? So I can’t go out if it’s very cold? The only time I don’t go out for Pokemon Go is if the weather is rainy or snowy.

    • Pena123

      Well yeah the snowy weather is extremely dangerous. So in Northern globe we should not play Pokemon in the winter? I know that this weather where I’m currently would stop Spain, California or some other place but here it’s normal and expected. This sucks!

      • Chris Denton

        It’s the exact same as before the update. You just don’t get extras in bad weather conditions. What sucks is having no normal spawns and no weather spawns.

        • Pena123

          It’s just that the weather spawns is the way to get usable pokemons without using dust too much. Normal spawns kind of sucks especially after the update. So now I can’t get good pokemons because the swimming and sailing conditions are bad in thin ice. That’s absurd!

          • Chris Denton

            Lol, I don’t feel bad for you. You can play the game you just can’t get high iv, high cp Pokémon all day long.

            I can’t catch anything.

          • Pena123

            Well, I feel bad for, but why do you play (if you play) or hang around here(if you don’t) if you live in a dead spot?

          • Chris Denton

            Because I love Pokémon lol I don’t need to explain that anymore. I want this game to work is why I post here. And I like most of the people here.

            I probably play more than you. Multiple hours a day, everyday since launch.

  • Hex Maniac Ritz

    Holy moly, why is this site so obsessed with making sure to mistakenly write every single “its” as “it’s”? When will they learn?

  • Storta

    Tl;dr:
    The weather problem is NOT niantics fault.
    They understand that if they reward people for going out ib dangerous weather it can cause seriouse harm. And if that happends the blame will fall on THEM. They are playing it safe, which is really understandable on thier behalf, and the fact you may have a car / common sence doesnt meen everyone does

    • Taven

      Yes, however some of the things they classify as dangerous weather do not affect most people. I have a sever weather alert for one- two inches of snow… that is perfectly fine to walk in. we call that a normal winter day where I live. it can be hard to drive in sometimes which is why the weather channel will give warnings but it is not a big deal. also listen to some other people who are getting weather warnings for things like surf warnings. we don’t swim and play pokemon go.
      so yes it is a good idea but it needs to have a little more relaxed approach or a little more fine tuning.

      • Storta

        Think about their options though, if they change the extream weather warnings now it will look like their promoting exploring in unsafe weathers.
        We’re just gonna have to bear with this, besides the weather effects are just bonuses, its not like you miss out on alot.

        • Taven

          no if they change the warning nothing will happen. if they lose the warning it will look like they are promoting exploring in unsafe weather.

          • Chris Denton

            You act like there’s some weather agency that is 100% accurate for 100% of the world 100% of the time.

            There is no way pogo will have more accurate weather than what the weather companies report.

          • Taven

            I am not asking them to be more accurate. I am asking them to look at the type of warning in the region and only remove the bonus at level 4 not at three and four.

            you are trying to put words in my mouth that I am not saying

          • Chris Denton

            Sorry, that was not my intention. I removed my comment to you. As for the change you want, try asking niantic directly. If they ignore you, then go to the internet with complaints.

  • aapenkilde

    In Bergen, Norway, we have had almost one day without extreme weather condition warning. The weather are just like normal. So no level 35 pokemon for us 😒

  • Art

    29 degrees and lightly snowing IS NOT extreme weather for the mountains of Wyoming at 6000 feet. IDIOTS! (-30 and blizzarding is extreme…)