Need help surviving the summer heat? Turn to your smartphone.
While some are more useful than others, weather apps are now becoming a fixture on smartphones and tablets.
The problem is that weather apps tend to fall into two main categories -- information dense, or information minimalist. Here are five weather apps that go above the standard and might be worth -- dare we say it -- paying for your specific needs.
Weathertron (99 cents): The iOS app displays a live, visual minute-by-minute forecast that looks like an info graphic. Weathertron lets you scroll forward in small increments to see how the weather’s looking two minutes from now or two hours from now. It also displays sky conditions, temperatures and associated “warnings” for extreme temperatures that may be ahead of us this summer.
While most weather apps use only one forecast model, Weathertron draws from up to 16 different data sources. All of this data is statistically aggregated and weighted, so you always have the most accurate results for your location.
Swackett X ($1.99): Rain coming? Sunny? This iOS and Android app visually suggests the right apparel for the day, showing a display of a stick person, or “peeps” wearing clothing appropriate for the current weather, such as rain jackets and an umbrella or shorts and sunglasses. Along with a Sun/UV index, the app also adds a “Dog Walking Index” to tell you whether it’s actually a nice time to go and walk Fido.
WeatherBug Elite ($2.99): In an easy-to-read and easy-to-find layout, this Android app tells you everything there is to know about the weather. When you launch the app, it immediately displays current local weather, including temperature, dew point, humidity, sunrise, sunset, wind, pressure and any active weather alerts for the area.
A tool bar along the bottom lets you access weather radar, live webcams in your area, lightning-strike information and the pollen count. As if that is not enough, there’s also a menu that offers lifestyle forecasts including: a golf forecast, outdoor nature forecast, aches & pains forecast, beauty forecast, game day forecast, pollen, family forecast and fitness forecast.
This app is a powerful and reliable tool for getting detailed information and forecasts, but it can be slow to load. Also, some features are restricted to certain locations.
Foresee ($1.99): Sometimes plans go awry because the weather turns sour. To improve your odds of getting outside as planned, Foresee lets you select an activity and set three primary weather parameters like temperature, cloud cover, humidity and more to determine the best time for your activity.
The downside is that you have to spend some time setting up the app, selecting from a list of activities you enjoy and then entering details about your ideal times and conditions. The more information you share, the better your recommendations will be.
Dark Sky ($3.99): The hyper local iOS app, which originally began as a Kickstarter project, is a short-term weather predictor with a very specific focus: avoiding rain (and snow). While this may not be as big of a deal for hot and dry areas, it is pretty useful in other areas that actually do get storms quite often. The app also allows users to help improve the accuracy of the app by submitting their own personal weather reports.
The best part about Dark Sky is that it offers intelligent text summaries with full descriptions of the current weather along with the forecasted weather in the next hour and the rest of the day.
Zyrtec AllergyCast (free): If you’re an allergy sufferer, you want to know what the pollen forecast looks like more than the weather. This iOS app, created by the makers of allergy medicine Zyrtec, gives you an allergy-specific forecast, including the current temperature and predominant pollens. The app breaks down which pollens are highest on which days and will provide tips and tricks on how best deal with them.
Solar ($1.99): This iOS app shows you the minimal weather information you’re likely to need, but in a very visually appealing format. The current weather is represented with a certain color at the top of the screen. For example, sunny days change between red and orange, and blue raindrops drizzle or pour from the top of the screen, representing rain.
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