The US Department of Commerce released a blog entry this week which discussed the value of government weather and climate services to the general public.  A recent study showed that the overwhelming majority of Americans use weather forecasts and check them an average of 3.8 times per day.  That is 301 billion forecasts consumed per year.  That information is provided through a variety of formats, including government web sites, mobile apps, private forecasters, and media reports.  In all, NOAA estimated that the total value of all weather-related forecasts was about $31.5 billion.  This compares pretty well to the government costs of $3.4 billion with an additional cost of $1.7 billion from private forecasting firms.  A good return on our investment, especially when you consider the costs of extreme weather alone, not including all other weather-related decisions.  Some people have proposed to me that we could save even more by just cutting out the National Weather Service and letting the private companies handle everything, but in reality all the private companies rely on government data to make their own graphics and forecasts, although they often tailor them to specific audiences.  You can read more about the economics of government weather services and changes that NOAA is making over time by clicking here.