As I write this it is pouring rain outside and we’ve had pop up thunderstorms almost every day for the last couple of weeks. So, weather apps have been at the top of my mind all week. Since we moved into the RV, we have spent a lot more time outdoors than we ever did in our sticks and bricks house. The RV doesn’t offer the same level of security in bad weather that a house does, so it’s incredibly important to know what may be headed our way in case we need to either secure our belongings or pack up and leave.
Because it is so important, I don’t rely on a single weather app. Maybe I’m just a belt and suspenders type of person, but (spoiler alert) I haven’t found a single app that I feel is 100% reliable. They all have strengths and weaknesses and some, while quite useful, only make important features available on a subscription basis. Of course, any phone app is also only as good as our connectivity. So I find myself using different apps to try and get as complete a picture of the weather as I can. This by no means a thorough review of the apps I use. This is simply my current experience with the apps and what I like and dislike about each of them. I also use an iPhone 10 so all of these apps are iOS apps. I’m sure there may be Android versions of at least some of these, but I have no experience with Android phones or apps.
What I like: This is the app that is part of iOS. It comes preinstalled on the iPhone and iPad. It’s very basic, but, it tells you the current temperature, the expected highs and lows, the percentage chance of rain, and air quality. It gives me a lot of basic information quickly in an easy to read layout. I can also easily add our travel destinations and get forecasts for them as well. It’s like the Local Forecast segments on The Weather Channel and, in fact, there is a very small Weather Channel logo in the bottom left corner of the screen.
What I don’t Like: No radar and no severe weather warnings.
The Weather Channel
What I Like: There is a lot I like about the free version of the Weather Channel App for iOS. I can get basic temperature and rain chance for the upcoming day, then change the view to see hourly forecasts or I can change the view again to see temperature and rain chance for the upcoming ten days. Then, I can scroll down to see weather radar and scrolling further will bring me to sunrise and sunset times, wind, humidity and UV Index. Scrolling further down will bring me to a sweat index, mosquito index, heat index, and air quality. A lot of information for a weather geek to have fun with. Plus, it will send me weather alerts from the National Weather Service and it will send. A useful feature during storm season in Tennessee.
What I Don’t Like: I have to scroll down several times to get to the radar screen. In between each useful bit of information there are a ton of ads, unless you pay $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year for the premium pro version. Also some important features are only in the paid version of the app.
What I Like: This is a more stripped down app also made by The Weather Channel. It gives me the radar information, temperature and wind direction and speed and it lets me know about any National Weather Service alerts all without having to scroll down which is great in an emergency. When the sky starts turning dark, I go to this app, first, to get a quick view of what’s coming. It will even send me alerts with an approximate time rain will start falling and it sends lightning alerts to my Apple Watch telling me how far away lightning has struck.
What I Don’t Like: Occasionally, it thinks I’m in another state. I first thought this was because I hadn’t updated my location after a trip, but it had my location correct. It, apparently, just decided that I needed to get storm alerts two states away and I could not make it stop. Also, like the other Weather Channel app, some really useful features (including the additional layers on the radar screen) are only available with a $3.99 monthly subscription.
What I Like: Current Temperature, radar and hourly forecasts are quick and easy to read. You can even change the hourly information to show actual temperature, feel like temperature precipitation chance, precipitation rate wind, wind gust, humidity, dew point, UV Index, Cloud Cover and barometric pressure. Do I use all of those tabs? No. But, I do use UV index because I WILL be outside most of the day. I can also set up alerts for severe weather and an umbrella reminder or a sunscreen reminder. I can also set up custom notifications as well and I can submit a report on current conditions to help make the forecast better. I’ve just started using this app in the last couple of weeks so I haven’t looked at it in great detail. However…
What I Don’t Like: In my experience with it so far, it tends to give a false sense of security. We had a line of powerful thunderstorms move through the area a week ago and while my Weather Channel apps were warning me well ahead of the storm, Dark Sky continued to show “No Precipitation Predicted” even as the rain began falling. Several minutes into the storm, as we watched water rise in the low spots around us, it finally let me know “It’s Beginning to Drizzle”! If I were relying solely on this app I could have been in a dangerous situation and not have known it.
What I like: It gives a lot of information at a glance and you can scroll down for additional information. Tabs at the bottom let you change to Hourly, Daily and Radar. The radar screen features layers to display active warnings, satellite view, precipitation outlook, temperature contour and 24 hour snowfall forecast. The weather alerts layer could be useful on the road to see if we are heading toward an area under threat. It has ads but they aren’t as obtrusive as the ones on The Weather Channel app. Also, it doesn’t save critical features for the premium version. The subscription price simply removes the ads.
What I Don’t Like: It requires a subscription to make the ads go away, but it’s a much more reasonable $8.99 per year.
What I like: This is an app by Weather Underground, a website that I have used on and off for years. The forecasts are accurate and it gives me information at a glance . The weather radar is also on the main screen.The radar screen has several layers that include a satellite view, a heat map and weather alerts. And, It doesn’t save all the most useful features for the premium version.
What I Don’t like: The interface feels cluttered so I find my self not using this app much at all. It also has the a subscription price of $19.99 a year for the premium version.