My Favorite Weather Apps and Mobile Friendly Websites
I've had a lot of people ask me recently which weather app they should use. To be honest, I don't use any downloadable app to forecast the weather, I only use apps to view the current radar. I mostly use my laptop to forecast and track severe weather on chase days however there are a few apps that come in handy. Which app is right for you will depends on the amount of information you wish to receive. Do you simply want an alert when it's about to rain or do you want to look into the storm and see the finer details? I will talk about the apps currently installed on my smartphone along with a few websites to bookmark as well.
I was going to save the best app for last but Radarscope is so powerful it made number 1 on my list. You will be hard pressed to find a Storm Chaser or Meteorologist without this app installed on their phone, however Radarscope may not be for everyone. If you're after the most detailed picture of a storm you can get, this app is for you. It has an amazing amount of high-resolution radar products built in. Reflective, velocity, dual-polarization, echo tops, accumulation, and more are all included but that does not come without a price($9.99). The learning curve is steeper here than with the other apps on my list, but it is the best radar app you will find.
RadarScope Pro Subscriptions (Optional Add-Ons) - RadarScope also offers premium features via an in-app subscription purchase. There are two levels for the subscription, called Tier 1 and Tier 2 respectively. Purchasing one of these subscriptions will unlock additional features and tools in the app.
Tier 1 Pro* - Comes with dual-pane display, real-time lightning strike data, extended SuperRes animation up to 20 frames, and the data inspector tool.
iOS Platform - $9.99/yr.
Android Platform - $9.99/yr. (only available via the Google Play Store version)
Mac Platform - $9.99/yr.
Windows Platform - Not currently available
Tier 2 Pro - Comes with everything from Tier 1, shear data contours, hail data contours, and access to archive radar data from the past 30 days. In addition to these features, one purchase of a Tier 2 subscription gives you access to the Tier 2 features across all platforms (up to 5 devices). This means if you have RadarScope on both an iPhone and Mac, you can access Tier 2 features on both devices with just one subscription purchase.
Windy is an amazing tool if you are looking for weather forecast visualizations. The benefit of Windy is the fact that it brings you quality weather information other weather apps’ don't always offer, for free with no ads. Windy brings you all the weather forecasting models: global ECMWF and GFS, plus local NEMS and ICON (for Europe) and NAM (for the USA). It’s about as comprehensive as weather forecasting gets in an app. This app lets you toggle on/off 35 different weather layers, including wind, rain, temperature, humidity, and more, including the CAPE index.
If you are just a weather enthusiast and feel Radarscope is too overwhelming then Storm by Weather Underground is app for you. In my opinion, this is the best-looking radar app on the market with a very high resolution. The radar can generate interactive animations for past, current and future data. The full screen radar map can be customized with a wide variety of data that includes surface and Jetstream level winds, earthquakes, fronts, and tropical data and more.
The app will also generate National Weather Service alerts that you can read with the tap of the screen. Storm offers another setting that will generate a text message if precipitation or lightning is found within ten miles of your location. The app is free, although Weather Underground does sell in-app subscriptions to remove advertisements as well as offer more advanced features.
This app is the big brother to the previous app. Sometimes I just need to know the current temperature outside. Weather Underground offers a user friendly interface, easy access to weather forecasts wherever you need them as well as many other features. Some of these features include a radar map, severe weather alerts, ski resort reports, and sunrise and sunset times.
The app uses a network of 270,000+ weather stations, aggregating crowd sourced data about your specific location. Each station has instruments to gauge numbers for temperature, humidity, pressure, rainfall, wind speed, and direction. Data from user-owned weather stations fills in the missing information between airport weather stations that show general forecasts, so you receive hyper-accurate statistics about your neighborhood. The reporting feature also allows you to confirm the conditions and post your own updates.
I started using Weather bug in 2000 on my old windows 98 desktop computer. 19 years later I still have their desktop and smartphone app which is both Free and easy to use. My favorite feature of the smartphone app is the ability to view up to 18 different map types including Doppler radar, lightning, wind, temperature, pressure, and humidity. If you're in areas affected by hurricanes, severe winters, and lightning, you'll receive real-time storm alerts. Other features include informing you how the weather may influence your sports, workouts, allergies, pain, and more. Besides the forecast, you'll be able to get a heads up on real-time traffic conditions to prepare for your trips and commutes as a map overlay.
This website is semi - mobile friendly but when I do turn to the pros for a forecast, I turn to the the National Weather Service. Since many of the other weather sources get their data from the National Weather Service, why not go right to the source? After all, they're the same people responsible for sending out weather alerts and warnings featured in the apps above.
There are 122 weather forecast offices across the United State. Each weather forecast office has a geographic area of responsibility, also known as a county warning area, for issuing local public, marine, aviation, fire, and hydrology forecasts. They write a lengthy discussion multiple times a day as a means to explain the scientific rationale behind a forecast over the next 7 days as well as to summarize watches, warnings and/or advisories in effect. If you want to know the most accurate weather forecast over the next 7 days as well as learn about different weather patterns that affect the area I would recommend visiting this site. The Area Forecast Discussion for my area in New York City can be read by clicking this link, however you can enter your zip code on the top of the site to see the Area Forecast Discussion for your location if you live outside of New York City.
Twitter may seem out of place in this list of weather apps and websites however it is one of the most helpful resources to me when I am out chasing storms. Almost every National Weather Service office around the country uses social media as a way to send out watches and warnings. As soon as I get into the car I turn on post notifications for the local National Weather Service office. Sometimes weather app alerts can be delayed with sending out push notifications however the National Weather Service sends it out on twitter as soon as they are issued. Twitter can also be a great resource when looking for road conditions in areas that may be flooded or affected by other forms of weather. Just be careful not to use twitter to get your forecast as there is usually a lot of misinformation about upcoming weather. Our local NWS office twitter account can be found by clicking here.