The Internet has greatly simplified the act of getting weather information. When you start your computer in the morning, many homepages automatically show you the news headlines for the day and a brief weather report for your location (the temperature, along with a small icon to indicate sun, clouds or rain), although you can all too often contradict this basic weather report by simply looking out the window. But still, the Internet is a much more accessible source of weather information than waiting for the weather report on the nightly news. As the Internet becomes increasingly portable, there are a growing number of weather-based apps designed for your smart phone that can give general weather information, or a more specialized slant. Let’s look at the best of the best…
The Weather Channel
The biggest by far, although there are usually a few too many elements of the display, which can make the information quite slow to load if your Internet connection is poor. The information is constantly upgraded, meaning that their temperatures are often a few degrees warmer or cooler than other weather reports.
This iPhone app does exactly what the name suggests: displays an antique barometer on your phones screen, reading atmospheric pressure and its ability to change the weather in the short term future. It looks cool, but isn’t as effective as a standard information readout.
More of a very cool toy than actual useful information, the Living Earth Clock and Weather allows you to spin an interactive globe, and zoom in on specific places to see the weather, all delivered in real time.
It sounds like a sci-fi movie, but Dark Sky specializes in giving you up to the minute details about the likelihood of rain.
Aimed at those who need to find windy spots for their weekend activities, this fantastic app is a must for hang gliders and those who want to spend the weekend yachting.
This app is great as it warns you about extreme weather conditions, prior to them actually happening. An alert is sent to your smart phone about a potentially dangerous storm (for example), giving you ample time to make preparations.
A stylish collection to any app collection, Partly Cloudy displays as an old fashioned clock, with colors around the edge indicating what kind of weather can be expected at that time of the day.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations radar app gives you an amazing real time overview of storm cells as they develop, which is perfect for those living in places prone to bouts of extreme weather.
Weather Time Machine
The free version of this app (called Weather Time Machine Light) can give weather information an amazing five months in advance, allowing you to spot potential weather hazards (meaning you can make sure your homeowners insurance rates will cover all potential problems – smart, huh?).
Aimed squarely at the youth market, this weather app considers the temperature and general weather conditions for the day and then helps you to plan your outfit accordingly. While it might seem a bit “hipster,” there’s something rather practical about this approach. Mothers and fathers might no longer need to remind their children to “take a sweater,” since an app has already done that…
Lisa Peteres is a freelance writer on gadgets, apps and social media – she is a huge tech enthusiast and a regular user of most of the apps mentioned in the article.