John Ruskin, one of the most famous art critics of Victorian England, once said “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather”.
Unfortunately, if you’re stuck waiting for a bus that’s half an hour late on a wet and cold December morning, you’ll probably disagree.
Thankfully, weather forecasting has improved immeasurably over the last 20 years. Check out our list of the best seven weather apps for Android and find out whether you need to take your umbrella or beach shorts when you leave the house.
1weather is one of the prettiest weather apps on the Google Play Store at the moment, and with 4.5 stars from more than 330,000 reviews, it’s also one of the most highly rated.
The app has been around for a long time, but back in the middle of 2014 the app was a bit buggy and regularly crashed, ultimately leading to its popularity taking a hit. Thankfully, those bugs are distant history and the app is back to its former glory.
Aside from standard forecasting, the app offers an awesome widget, Creative Commons background imagery, the ability to save up to 12 locations in your favorites, severe weather alerts, graphs, maps, facts, and videos.
I was in Cabo San Lucas last year when the category 4 Hurricane Odile smashed into the Baja Peninsula. It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life, and certainly taught me a valuable lesson about safety in extreme weather.
Sadly, hurricanes are an annual reality for a huge percentage of the world’s population. All of east and southeast Asia, the Caribbean, both Mexican coasts, and both US coasts are at risk every summer. In fact, if you live in Tampa, Miami, Houston, or New Orleans, you are considered to be some of the most at-risk people on the planet.
Hurricane is an official weather app from the American Red Cross, and its features could literally save your life in the event you get caught up in a major storm.
In addition to hurricane tracking and forecasting, features include location-based alerts for family and friends, a customizable “I’m Safe” alert for social media and SMS, location of Red Cross shelters, and practical guides on how to prepare an emergency box, communicate if power and cell networks are down, and how to evacuate safely.
Accuweather has been a mainstay weather app on lots of people’s phones since the Android operating system was first launched back in 2008.
Although most only associate the brand with the smartphone app and the website, the company has actually been in existence since 1962 when it started life by offering weather forecasting services to private companies.
The app offers radar mapping for all of North America and Europe, news and weather videos delivered in both English and Spanish, hyper-localized rain forecasts for your exact GPS location, lots of widgets, and personal push notifications (US only).
The forecasts are all powered by The Weather Channel so you can be sure they’re as accurate as possible, the slider will let you view either the next 24 hours or the next 7 days, you can easily jump between rain, temperature, and wind forecasts, and if you so wish you can add a permanent icon to your Android’s notification bar.
Importantly, the app also alerts you to any National Weather Service warnings and advisories for your location, so you’ll never be caught out by snowstorms, hurricanes, or tornadoes.
I don’t have a story to tell about being caught in a tornado, but I can imagine that for those trapped in the direct path of one, the consequences can be even worse than being stuck in the path of a major hurricane.
Unfortunately, a huge swathe of the United States is at risk from tornadoes. “Tornado Alley” starts between Texas and Florida on the south coast, and sweeps right up to the Canadian border. According to statistics from the National Climatic Data Center, Florida is the most at-risk state, followed by Kansas, Maryland, and South Carolina.
Like the hurricane app, this app could also save your life.
It sounds a loud siren when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issues a Tornado warning for any of your monitored locations, it gives information about how many tornadoes have occurred in your area and how likely one is to occur on any given day, and includes quizzes to help you learn vital facts and procedures.
Like Accuweather, WeatherBug is a long-time favorite of Android users, being one of the first full-featured weather apps on the operating system.
They initially offered a free and a paid version but have since changed their offering to a freemium model. That decision naturally incurred the wrath of users who had already paid, but it means you can now take advantage.
Unique features include lightning alerts that tell you exactly how far away the storm is and if you or your property is in danger from getting hit, as well as a home energy meter that calculates how much your heating or air conditioning bill is likely to be in order to keep you comfortable during any extreme conditions.
You also have access to a layered map that’ll let you add information such as radar, humidity, pressure, wind speed, high/low forecast, and satellite imaging, and access to traffic cameras that’ll give you an immediate view of real-time weather in any given location.
With more than 50,000,000 downloads, The Weather Channel app is one of the royalty of the Android weather app world. Its four stars from more than 1,200,000 reviews only serve to reinforce that view.
It offers the standard fare of hourly, 36 hour, and ten day forecasts, “feels like” temperatures, humidity, dew points, sunrise and sunset times, wind speeds, UV indexes, visibility, and barometric pressures. It really comes into its own, however, with some of its additional features.
They include pollen indexes, a way to share your weather experiences and photos with other users, high-definition videos, a “hurricane central”, impending rain alerts, and customized push notifications.
What About You?
What did we miss? What app do you rely on to keep you warm and dry? Have you used any of the apps we mentioned?
As ever, we’d love to hear from you. Share your stories and thoughts in the comments below.