When making plans for the next few days or week, it’s useful to know the weather forecast—even if just to know when to bundle up or bring an umbrella. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite weather apps for keeping an eye the skies (without even peeking outside).
If you like to live fancy free and take what Mother Nature dishes out on the fly, then our roundup probably isn’t for you. If, on the other hand, you like to plan a bit to ensure your scenic hike around the lake isn’t a soggy one or your commute won’t be canceled because of a snowpocalypse then we’ve got the apps for you. You could always use the stock app, of course, but the features on the stock apps found on iOS and Android pale in comparison. Here’s our top weather apps to help keep you informed.
Dark Sky (Android/iOS, Free/$3.99)
Dark Sky appreciates the most important thing to you when it comes to a weather report—speed. Available for both Android and iOS, the app is able to create forecasts for your precise location, right down to the very minute. Every time you check in, you can consult a minute by minute prediction for the next hour, followed by hourly updates for the next day and week.
It’s a stylish app with genuinely useful notifications of sudden weather changes, ranging from rain alerts to more severe weather conditions. There are widgets too so you can easily consult what’s going on without loading up the app. Ultimately though, thought, it’s update speed that’ll endear you to the app most of all.
CARROT Weather (iOS, $4.99)
CARROT Weather, like the other CARROT apps, demonstrates that humor and useful information can happily co-exist. The app uses Dark Sky’s weather data so you’ll get accurate and timely updates. Where CARROT Weather differs from Dark Sky is how it informs you. This time round, you’ll be told to ‘make the most of it’ when the sun is out or to expect frostbite when it’s cold.
Alongside that is a time machine feature allowing you to view the weather for any location up to 70 years in the past or, bizarrely, 10 years in the future. In a gamification style twist, you can also unlock secret historical locations along the way. If you want a weather app that sports a slick design, good weather data, and gets a sensible chuckle out of you every day, then CARROT Weather is for you.
WeatherBug (Android/iOS, Free)
WeatherBug feels like what the stock app on your phone should be (if it was, you know, really full featured and fleshed out). With that in mind, WeatherBug will seem right at home on your Android or iOS device. Stylish and easy to glance at, you can check out the North American Doppler Radar or the PulseRad Radar, depending on the area you’re viewing. In each case, you get accurate weather forecasts on a hourly basis with alerts for hurricanes, lightning, and other severe weather.
Further, WeatherBug appreciates what’s important in life and provides “lifestyle” forecasts that suggest how the weather will impact everything in your life from the sports game you want to attend to your allergies or chronic health complaints. There’s also real-time traffic conditions tied into the weather report, so you can see see how the weather is affecting your commute.
MyRadar Pro Weather Radar (Android/iOS, Free/$2.99)
The app offers high definition Doppler radar data processed from raw NOAA weather radar data, courtesy of the National Weather Service. Load it up and you’ll see exactly what weather front is up above you and what’s coming soon. The radar is animated so you can see how cloud cover and more is moving across. For aviation fans, there’s a layer that provides Airmets and Sigmets, along with the option to overlay a flight plan onto the weather map.
Weather Underground (Android/iOS, Free)
If you’re a fan of granular weather data, very localized forecasts, and crowd sourced weather data (and who isn’t, right?) then you’ll want to give Weather Underground a spin.
Available for Android and iOS, the app goes well beyond a simple “here’s the temperature and it might rain” kind of forecast and puts a degree of information in front of you that borders on, perhaps, a little overwhelming—but if the thought of hyper local weather reporting that can tell you what temperature it is on the other side of city, then this app’s for you.
RadarScope (Android/iOS, $9.99)
A highly specialized form of weather app, RadarScope is aimed at weather enthusiasts and meteorologists. The app allows you to view NEXRAD Level 3 and Super-resolution radar data, along with information on potential tornados, thunderstorms, flash floods, and other marine warnings.
Because of its highly specialized nature, it’s not going to be for regular weather buffs. It’s more for people who rely heavily on the weather such as aviators or yachtsmen. Looks wise, it’s like consulting a professional piece of information because that’s nearly exactly what it is. It displays the latest reflectivity, velocity, dual-polarization, and other products from any NEXRAD or TDWR radar site in the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as reflectivity and velocity data from Environment Canada radars. If none of that makes any sense to you, well, this isn’t the app for you.
Blue (iOS, Free)
Slowly feeling overwhelmed by all the numbers and radar images? Blue might be the weather app for you. It’s nothing like the other apps listed here because it keeps things incredibly simple. Each day’s forecast is visualized by color, with blue meaning cold and red meaning hot.
It’s rather attractive in a very minimalist sort of way, backed up with one clear number telling you the temperature at the current time, and a few words explaining if it’s set to rain or stay dry. Simply swipe your way through the different periods of the day to see how things will change over the next 7 days and, well, that’s it. It’s really rather pretty.
Image by OSORIOartist/Shutterstock.