Families used to tune in to the friendly local meteorologist to find out whether they’d be able to weather the weather that week, but considering how many of us use smartphones these days, mobile apps have become a great way to get the latest forecast any time you need it. Whether you’re on the road stuck in bad weather or considering evacuation in light of hurricane news, these weather apps may prove useful.
Don’t just head to the App Store and start downloading, though. Not all weather apps are accurate, and if you’re in crisis, you need an app that you can rely on. That’s why we did some digging to find the best, most accurate weather apps available on iOS. Not an Apple user? Check out the best weather apps for Android. Specifically looking for hurricane warning apps? We have a list of the best hurricane tracking apps that really goes deep into the options available.
Dark Sky is our pick for the best weather app out there. It’s not free like most of our other picks, but if you’re serious about tracking the weather, it doesn’t get much better than this. The app has a powerhouse behind it because it’s owned by Apple, and it tracks everything, including storms, hurricanes, tornados, and lightning, so you can be aware of any potential risks.
Where Dark Sky shines is in its minute-by-minute predictions. You can get those up-to-date forecasts as much as an hour in advance and in hourly increments for the next seven days. The app’s simple interface shows you the weather conditions and expected temperatures, and it can even send you notifications before it starts raining or snowing, so you’re not caught by surprise. There’s also an Apple Watch app that provides the basics, meaning you can keep your phone stowed while on the go.
What we really like about Dark Sky, however, are the visualizations. They’re smooth and elegant, which is something you don’t find in most weather apps. Few weather apps approach maps quite like Dark Sky, which is why it’s in a class of its own. It’s even better without ads, and the one-time fee is far more attractive than the subscription-based model used by other apps. You also get a seven-day free trial to see if the app is worth the investment.
How could The Weather Channel’s app not make our list? It’s free, comprehensive, and has just about everything you need to keep an eye on the sky. The app tracks storms and gives you real-time updates so you can plan for your safety. It automatically changes based on your current location and provides the current weather and hourly weather up to two days in advance. It can also handle forecasts up to 15 days in advance, giving you plenty of time to plan your travels. Another safety feature notifies you of severe weather to minimize the risk of being stuck in a crisis.
Travelers will feel secure knowing the app provides information about Covid cases in your area and lets you monitor flu risk in your surroundings. Those who suffer from allergies will find the app useful, too, as will outdoor enthusiasts, as the app tells you whether the weather is right for a variety of outdoor activities, which change based on the season. You can also use it to tap into exclusive web content and video recorded directly from The Weather Channel’s TV broadcasts, and you can get additional features at $5 a month or $30 a year.
AccuWeather gets high marks from us not only for its simplicity but also for being so comprehensive. While the app is no-frills, just about any kind of weather information you might need is at your fingertips with AccuWeather. It tracks hurricanes, storms, snow, and pretty much anything you might want to keep an eye on. You can look up information regarding both sunrise and sunset, in addition to allergy conditions, and there’s news and video about the current weather cycle. You can also send in your own weather reports and videos if you feel like contributing, and AccuWeather may feature your videos in its news reports.
The app promises long-term forecasts, going as far as 45 days ahead, so you can plan any trips quite in advance. You can also track the local air quality index if you’re concerned about pollution. Beyond the free features, you can pay $0.99 a month or $9 a year for an upgrade if you like, which gives you ad-free reports, 24-hour snowfall forecast, and temperature maps.
Our next app doesn’t tell you the temperature, nor is it going to provide you with a forecast. In fact, RadarScope is pretty one-dimensional — it shows you the radar, and that’s it. Nonetheless, it excels when it comes to its one and only function. This is one of the most important apps today if you’re keeping an eye on storms. Radar images refresh every two to 10 minutes, and storm warnings are placed on top of the radar images for added convenience. You also have access to other radar statistics, such as velocity, precipitation estimates, and nearly a dozen other metrics, none of which are available through your standard weather app.
While it’s an additional expense, we recommend subscribing to at least RadarScope Pro Tier 1. Doing so nets you lightning and dual-pane radar data and the ability to loop up to 30 frames, giving you quick access to more than two hours of data. Additionally, Tier One subscribers have access to a data interrogation tool that enables them to quickly determine data values for specific radar pixels, as well as an optional dual-pane mode for comparing two radar products simultaneously.
Tier 2 subscription offers all the features of tier 1 along with advanced tools like SPC outlooks, mesoscale discussions, local storm reports, hail size and probability contours, and azimuthal shear contours in the U.S., a 30-day archive of all radar products, and the ability to use subscription features across multiple platforms. It’s geeky stuff, but it’s not a bad deal if you’re looking for that kind of data.
This beautifully crafted weather app manages to display an enormous amount of data without feeling too cluttered or technical. You get a storm tracker, tornado warnings, and temperature changes so you can stay ahead of any imminent weather problems. There’s an hourly forecast for the next 48 hours, an extended 10-day forecast, and even a 12-week forecast for really planning ahead. It covers everything from wind speed and direction to barometric pressure and allows you to simultaneously track the weather at up to 12 different locations.
If you just want a simple, at-a-glance forecast, 1Weather has you covered, but you can also dig into radar maps, graphs, moon phases, and a whole lot more. This app also offers informative videos, marine and aviation forecasts, and customizable weather alerts. There’s even a handy widget, so you can check the weather from your home screen.
1Weather might take the cake as the best free weather app out there. As a free weather app, 1Weather is tough to beat. It does have ads, but they’re not too intrusive, and you can always pay $2 for the Pro version and get rid of them. Regardless of the ads, you will get all the pertinent weather information you need with 1Weather.
There’s no better way to break the bad news of a rainy, cold day than with a little comic relief, which is an entertaining feature of the weather app What the Forecast?!!. This 2018 People’s Choice Webby Award-winning app offers strong forecasting with daily forecasts for up to 10 days, hourly forecasts for 48 hours, air quality, the current moon phase, NOAA weather alerts, and more.
But the real headline feature is the tongue-in-cheek phrases that describe the current weather conditions. The app has over 12,607 phrases to describe the weather, air quality, and alerts, but you can also censor the app slightly by eliminating curse words and profane language. Not only is it amusing, but it is also educational, enlightening any ignorance you may have on weather vocabulary. WTF?!! has a glossary explaining the weather terms used, and you can also share the weather reports on your social media accounts to add a social component to your typical weather app experience.
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