Texas Travel

Weather Apps We Love, from ‘Bad Hair Days’ to Buoy Reports

By Christine Perez 1.22.13

It wasn’t so long ago that getting a weather report meant staying up late to watch the evening news or getting up early to read the morning paper. But the advent of the internet and mobile phones means up-to-the-minute forecasts—for cities around the globe—are now just a click away.

Whether you’re a would-be Gabriel Fahrenheit or just want to know if you should take an umbrella with you when you leave the house, there are weather website and apps for every interest.

Most popular are the two biggies:

  • The Weather Channel. Its weather.com site and newly designed iPhone app consistently rank No. 1 for views and downloads. And it’s easy to see why. It’s simple and accurate, whether you’re looking for hourly forecasts or a 10-day outlook. Helpful alerts include severe weather, air quality, and pollen. Maps and radar provide additional details for those who want to drill down. A camera feature allows you to snap the current conditions in your area and share with other weather geeks.
  • Accuweather. Another major force in the business, Accuweather gets high marks for its easy-to-use, nice-looking apps, for its video weather reports, and for its international forecasts. Features include current weather, forecasts that range from hourly to 15-day, real-time weather alerts, and animated radar and satellite. Helpful and fun: 26 “lifestyle” lenses that report on the weather from a variety of perspectives, from health (asthma, migraine, arthritis, etc.) to recreation (golfing, fishing, gardening, etc.). It even has a bad hair day alert.

Other notable sites and apps include Weatherspark, which stands out for its maps, charts, and weather history that goes back to the 1950s; Weather Underground, where the details include cloud heights and features include high-definition radar plus meteorologist blogs; Dark Sky, which focuses strictly on precipitation—rain or snow, down to the minute, at your exact location; and Partly Cloudy, which presents the weather in a beautiful 24-hour clock-dial infographic.

Don’t overlook the National Weather Service. It’s the most complete site out there, offering info on everything from river levels, snow cover, and marine and buoy reports to astronomical data and space weather. Besides, it’s where most of the other weather sites get their data. So why not go directly to the source?