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1May 2020

The best weather apps

Yesterday, I was reading the news online and saw a weather alert with tornado warnings.  The alert provided a link to another website that supposedly had a radar system to track the weather, but the site wasn’t working.  I then decided to download a weather app on my smartphone so I could track the radar there.  When looking at weather apps, there were a handful to choose from.  They all basically do the same thing, which is, of course, communicating weather conditions.  And they almost always integrate radar technology into the process. 

There are a few apps that are absolutely necessary as tier 1 apps for a phone, and a good weather app is one of them. 

Here is a review of the most popular weather apps

The Weather Channel

Download coast: Free

If free is the name of your game and you’re happy with the basic, utilitarian features of a simple weather app, then The Weather Channel’s free, ad-supported app is for you.  It is supported on Apple and Android devices and does a pretty good job keep users updated through its Doppler radar data. 

Radar Scope

Download cost: $9.99

The name says it all for this one.  Radarscope is all about radar technology.  The entire user experience is focused on the incredibly-detailed radar interface made available in this app.  The radar is optimized for users in North America, so if you’re looking for radar in Europe, maybe you should steer clear of this one.  Otherwise, this tricked-out radar app is a not-to-be-missed addition to your weather toolkit.

AccuWeather

Download cost: Free

Another basic, yet robust-enough, weather app serving up daily and multi-day weather forecasts.  It also provides a “MinuteCast” feature which gives localized forecasts for the next two hours.

Dark Sky

Download cost: $3.99

Out of all the apps on this list, Dark Sky is my favorite. And it seems I’m in good company because Apple was impressed enough with Dark Sky to purchase it . . . which presents bad news for Android users because it will no longer be available on Google Play beginning this July. 

Carrot Weather

Download cost: $24.99 annually

Apparently, some people want entertainment and humor served up with their weather forecast.  If this describes you, then you should probably check out Carrot Weather.  The app pulls weather info from Dark Sky and then injects it with sarcastic humor to (according to another reviewer) “cushion even the gloomiest outlook.”

For a weather app, though, it is quite expensive with a $24.99 per year cost.

Mixing old technology with new technology

Humans have had a necessary interest in weather patterns from the dawn of time.  Today we can track weather events with phones.  In days gone by, our ancestors tracked weather by daily observations and measurements using thermometers, weather vanes, precipitation gauges, and barometers.  Like many in his day, Thomas Jefferson recorded weather readings in a weather notebook.  I still think it is a great exercise to keep track of weather readings in a notebook, using the assistance of a smartphone as the tool for taking those measurements.  I use a flexible leather journal book available from retailers like Melaleuca, Barnes and Noble, and Staples.  The Melaleuca reviews for my journal book were solid enough that I went with them.  However, a journal is a journal.  Pages are pages.  Just buy one and enjoy the process of merging old technology (a journal book) with new technology (a weather app).