Every Traveler Needs a Good Weather App, or 2!

Updated 3/29/17

imageWhen traveling by RV, you need to know the weather to decide:

  • When to stop driving for the day – if rainstorms are coming
  • Whether to cook out, or go out!
  • Whether to plan a week, or just overnight at a given location
  • When to start looking for a storm shelter!

This is a great use for a smartphone. It knows where you are, and it communicates with weather services. There are lots of Apps for reporting the weather, and I’ve tried several. I like the apps that have a moving radar video. It shows how bad the weather is and how fast it’s moving. All the Apps I’ve tried have this feature.

  • Accuweather is a favorite. It has moving radar maps on the Maps menu and current weather news under the videos menu. They have restored the ability to follow your location automatically. It’s in the Settings under On-Going notifications. It is still unclear, however, if you can get severe weather alerts based on your current location or only for specified locations.
  • Dark Sky is an eerily accurate, to the minute, weather forecaster for iOS, and it is now available on Android as well.
  • Weather Underground is another popular, highly rated weather app. “Wunderground” stands out for it’s crowd sourcing method of enhancing weather information. People can look outside and send their weather observations directly to everyone else using the app.
  • The Weather Channel is my favorite, see details below. Both Weather Underground, and The Weather Channel are owned by The Weather Company, an IBM business.

Tornado Alerts

All the weather apps mentioned  have a radar screen and weather reports from your hometown or current location.  But the most important feature in my book is an alert you can hear when there are weather warnings in your area. When you are in tornado country, I recommend having a second app specifically for emergency warnings. Tornado Alerts is one of the apps offered by the Red Cross Emergency Preparedness. If you’re traveling thru tornado areas, the Red Cross “Tornado” app is supposed to scream out a siren sound that you can’t miss.

The Weather Channel App

imageSo far, my favorite is The Weather Channel app from Weather.com. If you tap on the 3-line menu (Android app) and choose settings, this is where you tell it that you want it to “Follow Me” – and give you severe weather alerts for your current location. Other apps really irritated me by blaring severe weather alerts for places I’ve been rather than where I was. This app didn’t do that! On the iPhone app, tap the gear button for settings and then Location – this takes you to your system settings where you can turn on location tracking for the app.

Settings for The Weather Channel App

In addition to that one, most important feature, The Weather Channel app has all the other information and goodies you’d expect.

  • An attractive home screen with large temperature display, sunrise/sunset times, and weather forecast
  • More detailed screen with Wind, Humidity, Dew Point, Pressure, UV Index
  • Hourly weather forecast
  • Daily forecast for a week
  • News videos from Weather Channel on TV
  • Radar map: if you tap on it, then tap the play button at the bottom, the radar will show weather movement for the past hour, OR the projected movement for the next hour!
  • Road Conditions map. This is nice – it colors areas where the road conditions are Windy, Wet, Foggy, Ponding, Ice, and Snow.
  • Social – you can report the weather in your area, or share a photo
  • Health – a pollen report for allergies, and a Cold and Flu report
One thing that may not be obvious is that, to get to all these other screens, you just scroll down. And, keep scrolling down. If you look for buttons, tools or options, you won’t find the features. Just swipe up on the screen.
This is a free app, so be prepared for a lot of ads.
  • The Weather Channel by The Weather Channel
  • Available on both Apple iOS and Android
  • Cost – Free

How about you? What weather app do you use and how do you like it?


4 replies on “Every Traveler Needs a Good Weather App, or 2!”

    • I liked it too until they took away the Follow Me feature. On April 15, I wrote their support: “how do I get the ongoing notifications to default to my current location? It keeps going back to a favorite location instead”
      Here’s the answer I got: “Thank you for using AccuWeather for Android. We have temporarily discontinued this feature. We will bring back a more improved version in the future. I apologize for the inconvenience.”
      So, I’m curious, does your Accuweather follow your location or just report your home or favorite locations? Maybe they’ve updated.

  1. I run the Weather Channel, Weatherbug, and have the Red Cross apps. And yes, the Red Cross one will wake you up!! That siren sound is an attention getter!
    THe other apps that the Red Cross has are very useful also.

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