Monday, April 13, 2015

Now You Know: Weather Apps

As most of you have noticed, I love storms. I live for them. I love to photograph them, be in them, listen to them, and most importantly… Know exactly where they are and plan for them.

When you live in Kansas, or most of the Midwest for that matter, you know that the weather can change at an instant. It’s not strange to have a beautiful cloudless day turn into a scarily stormy day with high winds, dangerous lightning, heavy rain, a good measure of hail thrown in and the odd tornado.

It’s always best to be prepared. Know where to go to take shelter from severe weather wherever you may be. Keep a close eye on weather media outlets to know where and when the severe weather may be taking place. Or, like me, have a million apps on your phone that will help you with that.

These apps, and many others, are available on many formats. I have an iPhone, so you can find them in the App Store.



I’m sure you can find the same apps on different platforms. And all are free. Here’s a rundown on ones that I use in inclimate weather or just to check what the weather is going to be like that day:



AccuWeather is an easy to use weather app. Its pretty user friendly and has a really cool Minute Cast thing where you can find out when it’s going to start raining and how long it’s going to last.


It does have a pretty accurate radar, although sometimes it does suck and doesn’t show everything you’re wanting to see or that should be on the radar.


And of course, it shows the current conditions like humidity, UV, wind speed, etc.


And it also gives your daily forecast.


An hourly one as well!


Sun and moon phases as well.


The MinuteCast is really kinda cool. It shows when it will rain, the duration and the amount.


Pretty cool huh? All in all, I only check AccuWeather if there’s an alert or to see how long it’s supposed to rain. Plus it’s fun to see that it’s going to rain in 52 minutes and then set an alarm to time it. Most of the time it’s pretty spot on.



I use WeatherBug the most. I’ve never had issues with WeatherBug unlike a lot of other people that I’ve talked to. It refreshes quickly and often, even when it’s working in the background and it has a lot of really awesome perks as I will show you.


Of course, just like with any other weather app, it shows you the temp, real feel, wind speed, current conditions etc. on the opening screen.


It also gives you all the pertinent, like dew point, wind speed, humidity, etc.


Of course, your week in advance forecast.


An hourly forecast.


Their radar is one of my favorites. It has a great layering option and it’s matched pretty well with the radar for the National Weather Service.


And it’s got webcams. Say hello to beautiful downtown Independence!

But my favorite part of WeatherBug’s weather app. It’s called Spark. It tells you where the closest lightning strikes are to your immediate area.


You can see that there’s a little lightning icon in the upper left hand side of the screen. Click on that and it brings you to this screen:


With this you can see how close the lightning is to you, which makes it really handy for when you’re outside, giving you a little extra time to put things away or get to shelter. I may be kinda silly, but I love watching the lightning closing in on us with this app lol.

The Weather Channel


The Weather Channel is also another good app. I don’t use it as much, but it’s still there when I need it.


I have to say, I like it because it’s purty lol. It has all the regular stuff, no biggie.


Has all the currents.




10 day forecast.


A so-so radar.



It’s a pretty basic app. I don’t use this one much as it does have a few bugs on the iOs platform.



Has the regular currents.


A whole bunch of different things you can screen radar with.


The radar is ok, kinda rudimentary.

The next apps are weather preparedness apps.


First up is mPING, a weather reporting app from The National Weather Service.


There’s different things you can report… Rain/snow, hail, wind damage etc. All reports are sent directly to NOAA.


Here’s an example of precipitation type.


You can slide to get to the size of hail you’ve had. I’ve used this one quite a few times.


Here’s the slider for wind damage. You just slide to what you feel is your damage severity, hit done and then hit submit.



I really find this app useful, even in the winter. I like the fact that the results go straight to the National Weather Service to be used in alerts and storm reports.

Red Cross Tornado

This is an app that I have just for alerts.


You can receive real-time alerts for your area. And they’re loud lol


It utilizes your current location, and you can also monitor other areas as well.


It also looks back 63 years into the history of tornadoes around your area.


Isn’t it awesome? You can see just how close you’ve come in recent years to being hit by a tornado.


Independence has been pretty lucky, I’d say.



It also gives you a list of NOAA Weather Radio stations in your area that are available for streaming.

NOAA Weather Radio


With NOAA Weather Radio you can scroll through the states to find yours…


When you select your state, the regional NOAA radio sites come up, then you click one and you can listen to real-time weather radio with alerts.

TVN Storm Chasing


Ok… This isn’t weather alert-related, but it’s still pretty useful. This little app shows you where all the weather spotters are in the area that are affiliated with TVN.


These screen caps were from last Wednesday, when the weather was really scary… There were SO many storm chasers out that night that it was hard to click on any of them!


This is the view you see when you touch on their names. It comes up with their current, real-time position and their webcam feed. I’ve seen quite a few funnels and/or tornadoes watching these feeds. Just amazing!

Just For Fun

OK… I have a couple of apps that are pretty much just for fun. They do give current conditions but in their own little ways…



Here you have a dog giving you the weather in various little quips.

Effing Weather


Hehehe I love this one… This is Effing Weather. You can turn off the profanity filter so you basically have the weather man cussing at you. It’s hilarious.

So. You have a rundown of all the weather apps that I use. Yes, I know I use a ton, but each one serves its purpose in one way or another. I hope this helps you out when you’re trying to figure out what kind of weather app would be right for you.

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