With our high-tech tendency to watch TV using DVRs, TV on demand and streaming media, there are some things we miss: like the local news. And though we get most of that news from our favorite online news sources, the local weather report is something we sorely miss—we just don’t miss it quite enough to remember to catch the local news for the forecast every night.
Fortunately, there are quite a few apps to keep us on top of the local forecast and help us remember to pack our umbrellas—or carry our sunglasses—when we need them.
Top Pick: AccuWeather
Our overall favorite weather app is the simple-to-use AccuWeather, from the company of the same name. Specifically, we love its MinuteCast feature. It predicts when precipitation will start in your exact GPS location all the way down to the minute. And if it’s severe weather you’re worried about, Accuweather has you covered with GPS location-based push notifications. You can get forecasts for other cities too, of course, but that’s not where this app shines. It’s for when you’re most concerned about a hyper-local weather forecast for your exact location.
Whenever I’m visiting my parents’ house out in farm country, I like using Weather Underground. The well-designed app delivers data from over 40,000 professional and hobbyist weather stations to provide highly localized data for out-of-the-way places. Besides a wealth of temperature and condition data, you get air quality data and access to local webcams so you can see the weather for yourself. Another great feature is the WunderMap, a simple TV-style map with a temperature overlay pulled from the stations nearest you.
For International weather info, check out Weather Underground’s separate iPad-only WunderStation app. It collects real-time data directly from 37,000 personal weather stations across the world. You can take a look at plenty of historic data, too. And if you have family around the globe, you can set severe weather alerts for any station to stay in touch.
If you’re an allergy sufferer, you don’t need all the details of the weather: You just want to know what the pollen forecast looks like. Zyrtec AllergyCast—by the makers of allergy medicine Zyrtec, so it’s happy to recommend Zyrtec products to help your symptoms—gives you an allergy-specific forecast, including the current temperature and predominant pollens. Swiping to the right gives you an hourly forecast and swiping again gives you a weekly forecast.
If you’re looking for an easy way to track your symptoms, AllergyCast also includes a simple symptoms log where you tell it how you’re feeling (“great,” “okay,” “not well,” or “ugh”) and select any allergy symptoms you’re suffering. We especially like this log because it doesn’t require you to type anything in. Just move your thumb to set the dial on the screen and tap the checkmark to save. Easy!
When it comes to hurricanes, one of the most important details is the storm’s path. Keep up to date on brewing and imminent storms with the Hurricane Tracker app. It delivers official bulletins and maps from the National Hurricane Center in real time, along with animated satellite maps. And if you want even more analysis, the Hurricane Tracker team creates its own maps to explain each storm’s impact. It may not be a perfectly polished app, but it’s certainly a useful one.
You can download the $2.99 Hurricane Tracker app for iOS on the Apple App Store. There’s no Android version of the app, but you can still access the info by logging in to hurrtracker.com on your favorite browser (fee required).
Top Tornado App: iMap Weather Radio
The fall may not be peak tornado season, but they can and do happen in any month. Stay protected no matter where you are with the iMap Weather app. We love that it’s customizable – you can draw an area for the app to keep watch over, and you’ll get push alerts for that area only. You can also set it to track your location and give you tornado warnings for your exact GPS coordinates.