April Showers bring May flowers. Well, it’s definitely now May, but it’s also definitely still storming in most parts of the country. So if you’re like me, an umbrella and a spare jacket have been a part of your daily routine for quite some time now.
And though you have surely used your native Weather app on your iPhone or the standard (and super popular) Accuweather or Weather Channel forecasting apps on a regular basis, there’s a whole stock pile of underrated apps in that big ol’ lonely Weather category in the App Store. Here are a handful of the ones that are definitely worth the time and the few extra bucks to enhance your daily weather (or avoiding lack thereof) experience.
Tornadoes: The Extreme Power
Whether you find them scary or cool, tornadoes are pretty amazing weather occurrences. I’ve been lucky enough to see a few in person (from far enough away to not have to worry, thank goodness), but if you’d rather check them out from the comfort of your couch, this weather app has some of the more noteworthy photography of twisters in action.
We mentioned this app a while back when it was first released, but it’s definitely worth a second mention. Paired with simple, yet fun animations that illustrate your weather for the day ahead, the features in the app include custom notifications (for an extra fee), easy swiping for a five-day forecast, or giving your iPhone a quick shake to update the current weather conditions.
For daily weather forecasts and current conditions, this is a beautifully illustrated, straightforward app. No frills or extra features–just temperatures, humidity readings, and wind speeds, but all layered over some pleasurable raindrop or sunshine illustrations.
Weather XL is similar to the previous weather app mentioned, in that it doesn’t have any notable features, except for its pretty illustrations and simplicity. This one is, in fact, even simpler, just displaying the weather conditions (mostly cloudy) and temperature. It’s also powered by WeatherBug, one of the top Weather apps in the App Store, so it also promises to be accurate.
Just looking to avoid an incoming storm, at least until you make it safely indoors? Storm Spotter is one of the better radar-tracking apps in the Weather category. It lets you use your iPhone’s GPS to locate your position on the map to see just how close you are to any storm activity. Also check out a list of storm, tornado, or flash flood warnings nearby. The quality of the animation is great, and though the app is buggy at times, it’s still generally reliable when you really need it.
This one caters more specifically to the ocean-hungry crowd, but it’s definitely useful to anyone close to the water. Track oceanographic data like wind speed, waves, and atmospheric data. Get forecasts for upcoming trips, or check out the historic data to see if you can spot any trends and predict a forecast on your own. You can also save “favorite” buoy stations or spots to easily access data for your regular surfing or kayaking haunt.
Instead of tracking radar for incoming storms you’re concerned about, you could always skip a few steps by just checking in on local damage reports from a storm in your area. iDamage will send you push notifications when a damage report goes out close to you, either so you can brace yourself and your property or just create an ongoing list of places to go gawk at when the storm passes.
Really not interested in any animation, photos, or illustrations in your weather app at all? Simple Weather is the answer. Enjoy your weather forecast on a plain black background with a short phrase describing your weather for the day, like “It’s kinda frosty!” along with the basic temperature, humidity, and wind speed.
Remember how your mom used to comfort you during a particularly loud and frightening thunderstorm? She would tell you to start counting when you saw lightning, then to stop counting when thunder struck. You would keep doing this, and when you count less, you know the storm is getting closer. Well, this app isn’t exactly like that, but it’s just a little more advanced. Tap the button when you see lightning, then tap again when you hear thunder. The app can tell you the exact distance to the incoming storm. Thanks for the advice, Mom, but we have iPhones now. No more counting necessary!
There are a plethora of health or lifestyle apps available that can play soothing rain or thunderstorm sounds for you to fall asleep to, but Rainy Mood takes this a step further. The app will lay soothing rain sound effects over your music playlist on your iPod, while also showing slides of beautiful weather images. Perfect substitution for a non-rainy Sunday, I’d say.