best weather apps

In the old days – you know, the days when we walked two miles each way to school, up hill – we used to watch or listen to the news for the weather forecast.  This took time because the weather was only reported every 10 or 15 minutes.  Knowing the weather is important because it determines our activities, destinations and our clothing.  Now we have amazingly accurate and up to the minute weather forecasts at our fingertips – weather apps.

Unlike other types of apps, weather apps all do pretty much the same thing.  To be useful, a weather app has to be easy to access and simple, so that we can scan updates several times a day.  I want a user-friendly weather app that gives me pertinent information about the location I’ve selected, in a glance.  It also helps if the app is accurate.

Dark Sky is one of my favorites, especially if an activity was interrupted by bad weather and you need to know how long the storm will last.  It shows you the map and tells you how many more minutes of squall you’ll have.  A typical notification might say “Heavy rain starting in your area in 7 minutes”.   It was Kickstarter-funded, and has hyper-accurate local weather, forecasting rain and snow using radar mapping. It also has longer term forecasting to include 24-hour and next week. $3.99 for iOS only.

Arcus Weather is free for Android only.  It has similar functions to Dark Sky, taking its detailed local weather information from the same source.  You can get minute by minute weather and weather by the hour.

The Weather Channel is free for Android, iOS, Windows Phone.  It has meteorological data like temperature, wind and visibility on an hourly or daily basis.  There is a five or ten day forecast and interactive maps that show the latest Doppler radar data. It does have lots of ads, and I find the page so crowded with non-weather-related news that it can be hard to navigate.

AccuWeather, free for Android and iOS, provides hourly, daily and 15 day weather forecasts that can be integrated with your calendar.  There is also a “MinuteCast’ feature to provide hyper-local minute-by-minute forecasts for the next two hours.  It can provide weather forecasts for more than 3 million locations.  There are also alerts for approaching severe weather.  AccuWeather Platinum is $4.00 and is ad-free which might be worth it since the free version is loaded with ads.

Wunder Map is available for iPhone, iPad and Android and is free.  Viewers can follow storms with fast animated radar and satellite layers, track tropical storms with the hurricane layer or even view active wild fires.

For Apple

For Android

Yahoo! Weather is free for Android and iOS.  It is well designed, clean and clutter-free and has no annoying ads.  It displays images of your location with matching time of day and weather conditions.  View 5 day forecasts, interactive radar, cloud maps, wind and barometer readings, heat and satellite maps.  Very clear and concise weather forecasts. Apple awarded Yahoo Weather its design award for 2013.

WeatherBug is free for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.  It has more weather information than you could ever want.  It has fast, targeted alerts of dangerous weather, accurate forecast data, Lifestyle Forecasts, all localized through GPS.  It has interactive maps, visual forecasts and live cameras in selected locations.  Spark lightening proximity alerts are continuously added to the app. It gives you humidity, pressure, wind speed, live cams and satellite imaging.

1Weather is free for Android ($1.99 to be ad-free) and offers real-time local weather predictions hourly up to seven days. It has sunrise, sunset and lunar phase indicators.  It is a visually appealing app. In the notification dropdown viewers see a three-day forecast without having to open the app itself.

Weather Underground is free for Android and iOS.  It relies on a network of more than 30,000 personal and amateur weather stations to deliver truly local weather forecasting.   There are crowd reporting features that allow for verification of local forecasts as well as adding additional information. Again, there is an annoying ad problem.

For Apple

For Android

Funny or Die Weather is free for iOS.  It is a newly released app from the unexpected comedy video website Funny or Die. It claims to deliver real weather – with humor. You can view local weather reports up to five days ahead, with humidity, wind speed, sunrise and sunset times, moon phases and more, all with comedy.

Solar is a minimalistic weather app that gives temperature and weather conditions, minute by minute.  You access information by swiping your finger up and down the screen.  It is a beautiful and very appealing app. It is free for iOS and Android.

Authentic Weather is $.99 and has a very naughty attitude. It’s an app that gives an accurate weather prediction irreverently. The F word is rampant.

Along the same lines is Grumpy Weather which shows you the weather news in a very pessimistic way.  This is not an app if you are serious about finding detailed weather information.  It is good for the general forecast where you are, and a laugh.

Free for iOS and Android.

For Apple

For Android


If you are really a weather fanatic, and none of the above fit the bill, here are others you might try.  There are so any weather apps that I ran out of space!

Today Weather – iOS only

Perfect Weather – iOS only

Bright Weather – Android only

Weather Line – iOS only

Eye in Sky – Android only

Wind Alert – for boaters – iOS and Android