Every traveler needs a good weather app, or two

Every traveler needs a good weather app, or two

By Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour

When 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.

Yahoo weather is attractive since it uses photos from its photo hosting site Flickr to show you scenes from your current location.

Accuweather was good until recently when they removed!?? the feature that tracked your location and gave weather alerts for current locale.

Dark Sky is an eerily accurate, to the minute, weather forecaster for iOS, and Arcus is the closest competitor on Android.

They all have a radar screen and weather reports from your hometown.  But the most important feature in my book is an alert you can hear when there are weather warnings in your area.

Tornado Alerts: If you’re traveling thru tornado areas, you might also have a backup app like the Red Cross “Tornado.” It is supposed to scream out a siren sound that you can’t miss.

The Weather Channel app

Weather Channel iconSo far, my favorite is The Weather Channel App from Weather.com. If you tap on the 3-line menu and choose settings, this is where you tell it that you want it to “Follow Weather Channel app 740Me” – 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!

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?