Following the weather is a must for the prepper. In fact, I have written a four-part series on just that.
But we often have busy lives, and observing and tracking the weather can be one of those tasks that gets pushed aside in favor of doing other necessary things…that is…until the weather gets ugly.
There are loads of weather apps available on the market…and I don’t have the time or the resources to try them all. Therefore, if you are looking for a thorough review of all that is available, this post is not it. This post is just a sampling of the apps I recommend. Many people have other favorites, and that’s ok. As for me, the weather geek in me wants something more substantial than just the temperature, cute weather graphics, and the five-day forecast. So here you go:
The Weather Channel (free)
This weather app is a well-done representation of much of that which you may be familiar with that is seen on the Weather Channel. The current weather of your favorite locations, forecasts, advisories, radar maps, and feature videos are offered. Think Weather Channel for your phone and you get the idea. This app is available for iOS, android, and Windows. There is an ad-free version for the iOS for $3.99.
AccuWeather is the main competitor to The Weather Channel. This app is much like the Weather Channel app with the current weather, forecasts, weather maps, etc. There are ad-free upgrades available for android systems for $2.99, or $3.99 for the iOS. AccuWeather is available for the iOS, android, Windows, Blackberry, and Mozilla Firefox.
MyRadar is a great app if you are looking for more detailed radar maps. I’ll be honest; I use this app A LOT. The images on this app are more detailed than that of the more casual weather apps that are out there. It is great for just a “one-click” access to basic radar. It also has a wind overlay which is helpful. It is available on iOS, android, Windows, and on Amazon devices. There is an ad-free upgrade available for $1.99.
Don’t let the cute little “eye in the cloud” icon fool you. This is a more serious weather app. It uses Google Earth as a backdrop for its radar images, and it gives you the option of choosing which Doppler radar locations to view from. (You choose to view from one at a time, so if you are looking for a wider field of view, it is necessary to switch back and forth between surrounding locations.) Besides Doppler images and warning zones, any stronger storms which are visible on the radar maps are labeled individually. These labels are used as references to view each storm for more detailed information such as speed, direction, rain rate, chances of hail, etc. If you are looking for a free radar app with more detail and more data, this is it. This app is also ad-free! At this time, it is only available for android systems.
Radar Alive Pro ($4.95)
This app was developed by a storm chaser…for storm chasers. If you are not serious about the weather, then this is not for you. (I would recommend a more casual weather app instead.) If you are, then this would give you a serious weather tool in your hand. It offers NEXRAD Level III images, base and composite reflectivity maps, storm velocity maps, echo tops, and more. It also includes a full network client for storm spotters and other weather watchers. Radar Alive Pro is only available for android operating systems. An upgrade is available, but it requires a subscription to a weather service.
This app gives you the same NEXRAD Level III imagery as Radar Alive Pro. It appears to deliver many, if not all, the same maps as well. I do not have personal experience with this app, but it appears to be very similar to Radar Alive Pro, which would make it a great choice for iOS users. I am not aware if this has a spotter client as does Radar Alive Pro, but RadarScope does have the ability to share to email and to social networks directly from the app. It is available for android and iOS users. Upgrades are available for a price. It appears to be a highly beneficial app.
The main purpose of all the apps listed above is to give you an overall picture of what is going on with the weather. As a prepper, weather awareness is an important skill, and these apps could help you in achieving that goal. Other apps may be helpful in this pursuit as well. For example, if own a phone with a barometric pressure sensor, there are barometer/altimeter apps which you could find useful. There are other weather apps with other observation functions as well. Just keep in mind that the technology in your pocket has its limits. You should not become overly dependent on your smartphone. If you use it along with your own personal senses for the best weather awareness, then, just like any other tool, it can aid you in your overall desire to be more prepared.