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The best weather apps for iPhone and iPad

Michael Simon | Jan. 28, 2015
Of all the different kinds of apps that I regularly use on my iPhone, I probably spend the least amount of time with weather ones. That's not to say I don't like them, quite the contrary: I've downloaded so many of them over the years, I could probably go a year without needing to open the same one twice. But no matter which one I'm using, my time with it is relatively brief--I check the temperature, maybe scan the forecast, and close.

Best for budding meteorologists: Seasonality Go

Most of us only check weather apps to see the temperature and precipitation forecasts, but those who want to go beyond even the atmospheric readings that Accuweather provides should check out Seasonality Go ($6). Chock full of more charts and data than one could ever possibly need, the app's bustling interface can be a bit daunting to casual weather buffs, but if you take the time to explore it you won't be disappointed. 

The main screen (which is customizable on the iPad) displays an excellent cross-section of the current conditions, including air pressure, dew point, and the coolest astronomical chart I've ever seen. You'll also find graphs for a wide array of information, including wind speed, snowfall cloud cover and wave height, as well as a powerful radar map with live satellite overlays, barometric pressure lines and a hypnotizing Particle Mode that shows exactly how the wind is blowing.

Gaucho Software has been promoting an upcoming "Pro" version of Seasonality built specifically for the iPad, but quite frankly, the one currently available is already more advanced than most every other app I tested. It won't fit everyone's tastes, but those looking for an in-depth look at the weather on their iOS device should definitely check it out.

The (other) best for budding meteorologists: Weather Underground

Let's just call Seasonality Go and my next choice, Weather Underground (free; $2/year subscription to remove ads), a tie for all meteorologists out there. Weather Underground brings the same remarkable and exhaustive online system of crowd-sourced weather measurements to its iOS app, and there's more than enough within its digital walls to keep the most die-hard of weather junkies extremely happy. There's so much information here that some screens can get a little overwhelmed (the iPad counterpart, WunderStation, does a much better job with layout), but the customizable interface does a nice job of keeping things in order without sacrificing any of its usability.

Drawing live readings from some 40,000 weather stations around the world, Weather Underground shuns the usual services and radars to present the most localized and comprehensive forecast around. Fans of the service will be pleased to know that its interactive WunderMap is on full display here, with a complete array of buttons to show radar, temperature, precipitation, fronts, webcams, and anything else you need to know, including any active fires or brewing hurricanes. While it's better for current conditions than forecasting, the sheer breadth of its weather reporting is simply outstanding, and I defy you to find a weather app that's more exhaustive or accurate.

Most unique: Weathertron 

The Weather category of the App Store isn't without its share of funky yet functional interfaces, but of all the ones I've tried, Weathertron ($2) is the farthest out there. That's not an insult (and if it was, I never would have created this category) — Weathertron sets itself apart as one of the most fascinating apps in the App Store, drawing you in with its beautiful design and practically challenging you to figure it what its bars and gradients are trying to telling you.

 

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