Everyone has to know about the weather. It’s helpful for choosing your outfit for the day, planning outdoor activities for kids, or if you’re travelling, and filling those awkward voids in conversations in elevators with your neighbor who’s name you’re supposed to remember, but don’t. If you’re in New England like us, you can leave the house in shorts and a t-shirt one day and a full winter body suit the next, so knowing the weather before you leave the house is vital information. There are SO many weather apps in the app store that they have their own category, so how do you know which ones are the best?

Yahoo Weather

The Yahoo Weather App is actually one of the best apps released last year overall. Apple fans went crazy over this app – and made this weather app more popular than the native Apple weather app. The design is stunning, mixing local photography depicting the current weather with a beautifully simplistic display of information. All of the basic information is available when you open the app, and it’s intuitive to use and you find more by just scrolling down. By scrolling down you can get all the weather information the basic user would need – visual or text forecasts for today, 5 or 10 days, a “feels like” temperature, humidity, UV index, and a radar map. You can even see wind speed and pressure via cute little animated windmills to get an example of just how windy it is outside your doors. There’s also a sun and moon graph depicting sunrise and sunset times. You can bookmark additional cities and watch the weather around the world. You can even select your preferred units for measuring the weather or enable weather alerts for severe weather.

The downside: ads for all of the other Yahoo! Products are everywhere. It will prompt you to change Safari’s search engine to Yahoo! – but only once, thankfully. You’ll also see ads as you scroll above the settings and feedback buttons. Yahoo! is pushing News Digest, Mail, Yahoo! News, Flickr, Sports, Fantasy, Finance and Screen. We know Yahoo! has had a tough time for a long time before Marissa Mayer joined, but sometimes it feels like overkill.

Dark Sky

If you’re looking for a full-featured weather app, Dark Sky isn’t it. If you like eerily accurate to-the-minute and hyperlocal weather predictions, and a basic digest of weather information dummed down so literally anyone can understand what’s going on, Dark Sky is the best app out there. It’s hailed as one of the apps that started the minimalist information movement with other app developers. It will make easy-to-understand statements about the weather like “snow will start at 3:47 this afternoon for 3 hours and 2 inches will accumulate.” Dark Sky introduced a new app recently and with just a couple of flicks you can access some deeper weather information.

The downside: it’s super boring looking. For a downside, it’s not that bad, but it can get tiring to look at the same black and white monochrome app multiple times a day. That said, the information is displayed beautifully and it’s easy to digest.

The Weather Channel

If you LOVE information and teeter on the edge of being a full-blown weather geek, The Weather Channel app is a great option. You can customize the information that’s displayed or alerted or skin it with themes. You can get your forecasts, layered radar maps, clouds, UV indices, rainfall, snow accumulation, pollen, beauty and cold and flu forecasts. The Weather Channel app delivers an incredible amount of information.

The Downside: ads are everywhere and there’s almost too much data, if possible. The wealth of information might be why the app reportedly crashes on a regular basis, another downside.

NOAA Weather Radar

The NOAA is a federal agency put in charge of predicting weather across the U.S. This organization has ALL the resources at their disposal to predict and track weather, air, storms and anything else weather-related. The app lets you track storms for all of our storm chasers, view radar or other satellite maps. If you know how to read all of these, you can get some really precise weather information. The application allows you to customize and add locations, see forecasts by the hour and get a very accurate “feels like” temperature.

The downside: this app is super accurate, but requires a little technical acumen to derive insights from the maps.

What someone needs out of a weather app entirely depends on that person’s priorities, but we’re all better off knowing the weather. What’s your favorite weather app?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



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