There have been many times while on the road that we’ve run into weather. We don’t usually let weather change our plans very much, other than perhaps trying to plan to enjoy indoor exhibits on weather affected days and outdoor activities on nicer days. We tend to just carry on, doing what we want to do and seeing what we want to see. Sometimes, we find that we need to pay much more attention and take precautions against severe weather. When we do, our favorite resource to keep us up to date and help us make decisions are weather apps on our iPhones.
It seems like 2016 is shaping up to be quite the surprise weather wise, so we’ve compiled our 12 favorite apps for travelers! These are a combination of free and paid apps that we use the most, whether planning our days in a new area or planning out our travel days on the road. There just doesn’t seem to be one app that covers every feature I look for, although some come close. I’ve not listed them in any particular order, though I’ll note some of my favorites along the way.
1. WeatherBug – FREE
WeatherBug gets its information from the weather station closest to your current location or a zip code you’ve manually entered. My favorite feature that sets this app apart is the Details tab. It brings up one screen and by scrolling up and down you can view the wind speed, time of sunrise and sunset, pollen level, UV level and precipitation levels. It also tells you which weather station the information is coming from and has a live view from that location. Weather Bug has the option to alert you to severe weather as well as lightening nearby. We have not personally had this app open in severe weather but will test its accuracy in the future.
2. Weather Underground – FREE
Weather Underground is a detailed app with a clean interface. I enjoy being able to get a lot of information all on the home screen of this app. It has a map of your location with the weather of neighboring areas, wind speeds, future forecast, and it even has hurricane and tropical cyclone monitoring, which could be handy when in an area where you might be affected by these things. Weather Underground also has the option to alert you to severe weather. We have not personally had this app open in severe weather but will test its accuracy in the future.
3. Storm – FREE
Storm is definitely at the top of my list for most used and favorite weather app! It combines the most features I love out of any of the other apps, and has been the most useful when traveling in an area affected by severe weather.
Last week as we traveled through severe weather in Texas, this app was my best friend – I followed the path of the storm closely, through both the 1 hr in the future and 5 hrs in the future options and was able to pinpoint a location where it look like the storm would split around us. We located a campground in the area and strapped down for the night, ready to take shelter if the storm path shifted, but it indeed went around us! The next day, as we crossed out of Texas we had a hail storm at our heels. We weren’t sure if we were better off stopping to find a secure building to take shelter in or if we were ok to keep going. Once again, I was able to closely follow the storm radar in the app and determined that if we kept on our path and didn’t stop we would outrun the hail. A few days later, as we were alerted to high winds in New Mexico, this app was our best resource to the actual wind speeds. If there is just ONE app you can have on your phone as you travel, I would recommend this one!
4. Weather Alerts – $3.99
Weather Alerts is an app I had previously mostly overlooked. I recall using it last summer in Arizona, when we had some monsoon storms popping up but I otherwise ignored it. That all changed last week when it was the only app to alert me about 12 hours before a severe storm front passed through the area we were traveling in that brought with it dangerous winds. It is because of this app that I knew we needed to push harder on one travel day and bed down to wait out the storm on the next. Without this app we may have been stranded on the side of the road in severe weather, and instead we were safely parked in a cheap campground for 2 nights and still made our next destination on time.
5. NOAA Weather Radio – $3.99
In our first year of RV living we did not have a weather radio, so we relied on this app more heavily. It was always accurate and timely and my favorite feature was that it would send push notifications, even if you were not currently using the app and your device was asleep and locked. We now travel with walkie talkies that double as weather radios, but this app is a great backup in case we are not near our walkie talkies when severe weather strikes!
6. 27 Storm Track – FREE
Next to Storm (listed above), this is one of my most used apps during severe weather when I want to see the radar and how it is tracking. It also has future radar so you can see where the weather is predicted to head, and has push notifications to alert you to severe weather.
7. Overcast, Simple Weather – FREE
Overcast is a very simple app that provides a great overview of the weather forecast for your area, right in the minute. There are no distractions in this app and what you see is what you get! I do think it is neat that it offers prediction for the time when rain will start as well as when it will end. I haven’t personally tested the accuracy of this, but will do so in the future!
8. Dark Sky – $3.99
Dark Sky app website states: “Dark Sky uses state-of-the-art technology to predict when it will rain or snow — down to the minute — at your exact location, and presents it to you alongside the most beautiful weather visualizations you’ve ever seen.” They are not kidding when they say this app has beautiful weather visualizations – the maps are stunning! My favorite feature is having your own personal weather station at your fingertips and down to the minute weather notifications. Even if you haven’t opened the app in days, it will know and notify you if you are in the path of a storm.
9. Carrot – $3.99
Although Carrot is a new-to-us app, I felt like it needed to be included here. It offers many of the same features of other apps, with a comedic twist. There are reportedly secret locations to unlock and personality galore from your very own personal weather robot, CARROT! I look forward to getting to know this app more! Check out the promo video:
10. NOAA Hi – Def Radar Pro – $1.99
NOAA Hi-Def Radar Pro is a very simple yet powerful app that brings you amazing real-time hi-def animated weather radar images in vivid color. The highly responsive interactive map shows lightening strikes and hurricane tracks as well as pushing notifications straight to your device, even with the app closed. A simple app, that packs a powerful punch for those of us who are into the details of radar watching!
11. Tornado, by American Red Cross – FREE
This free app by the American Red Cross is one of CNN’s 7 recommended apps for surviving a tornado. My favorite feature is the audible siren when an alert goes into affect, although it is important to note that this siren will NOT override a silent or vibrate alert setting on your phone. During our time in Florida this year, we had some severe weather and in one case this app was the only one notifying us of severe weather headed our way. While it ended up splitting around us just before it would have hit us, this app earned it’s place on our phones because of its reliability when other apps were silent.
12. Tornado Spy+ – $2.99
Tornado Spy+ has come in handy this year, several times! I am not a fan of tornadoes, mostly because of the unpredictability. While I still remain cautious, this app gives me a lot of comfort in being able to see the predicted location and path of tornadoes that have been spotted by trained as well as amateur spotters. It’s a little bit tricky to know that you have this app setup correctly, as unless a storm is in the area, you won’t see anything and may think its not working. It’s still worth the price and the little bit of figuring out that it takes!
Do you have any other favorite weather apps? Let us know in the comments below! Since we are always changing locations and experiencing different types of weather, we are always looking for new apps to try.