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If you're trying to figure out what to pack for your vacation abroad or your next camping trip, you no longer need to take a chance on bad weather. With an abundance of weather radar apps out there, it's easier than ever to get accurate forecasts right at your fingertips. Affordable, and often free, they are useful not only for convenience's sake but also for safety reasons during periods of severe weather. Besides letting you know the future forecast, most will also give you daily rundowns about temperature, humidity, and precipitation. Many will also send you real-time storm alerts or let you know when it’s about to rain. Weather apps differ from each other predominantly with regards to interface design and depth of information. Keep reading to see our list of the best weather radar apps, and find the one best suited for your needs.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: AccuWeather
If you're looking for detailed information, you'll appreciate the free Accuweather app, which has thorough weather reports that let you know conditions, wind speeds, and dew points by the hour. Developers packed it with graphs, charts, and video forecasts for your location. You'll be able to plan what to wear for upcoming trips as well as spur-of-the-moment hikes or walks. With the app, you can look at local and global forecasts for the upcoming two weeks. If severe weather looms ahead, you can track it with an animated radar map. There's even a feature that predicts precipitation by the minute so you don't go out without an umbrella or protective rain gear. Users love the RealFeel index, which considers factors such as wind and humidity. The index gives you a more robust understanding of what the weather will feel like, as opposed to just the number you see on a thermometer.
Best Design: Dark Sky
Dark Sky has been a long-time favorite among weather app users, even if it comes with a small price tag of $3.99. It gives you minute-by-minute predictions packaged in a digestible way. Weather information can be very detailed and clunky, but Dark Sky conveys it neatly. You can review all of the details of your forecast and choose the ones that you need. You'll be able to get hourly forecasts of projected conditions and temperature for your entire week, with customizable weather alerts available. This makes planning trips and outdoor activities — down to the hour — easier. It includes advanced local and global radar maps that allow you to see where storms are as well as where they are going. The information all translates well into the Apple Watch app, which pares everything down to the basics. On top of that, Dark Sky supports a family sharing setup, so up to six family members can use the app.
Best for Comprehensive Info: The Weather Channel
Of course, we had to include The Weather Channel app on our list, as it's the most downloaded weather app on the market. It'll provide you with everything you need to know about the weather, and at no cost. You'll be able to receive forecast reports 15 days in advance, and you'll get by the hour information for two days into the future. The app covers the basics, such as temperature, wind speed, and storm reports. Keep an eye out for thunderstorms and hurricanes with the real-time severe weather reports and live radar maps. The alerts provide useful data for both convenient and safe traveling. Along with the numbers, you'll be able to view daily video content about the weather. Keep in mind that some users have reported bugginess with the program. The Weather Channel app updates often and reads through user reviews, so it's constantly evolving.
Best for Local Weather: Weather Underground
Weather Underground displays accurate hyperlocal forecasts, coming with interactive radar, satellite maps, and severe weather alerts. You can receive hourly updates for up to ten days. The app uses a network of 270,000+ weather stations, aggregating crowdsourced data about your specific location. Each station has instruments to gauge numbers for temperature, humidity, pressure, rainfall, wind speed, and direction. Data from user-owned weather stations fills in the missing information between airport weather stations that show general forecasts, so you receive hyper-accurate statistics about your neighborhood. The reporting feature also allows you to confirm the conditions and post your own updates.
Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the app's notifications for first and last light, as opposed to just sunrise and sunset. With this information, you can know whether or not you'll have enough visibility for doing things like hiking or going on a bike ride. The app is free of charge, though it does include ad displays, which you can turn off for a year with a payment of $1.99.
Best Maps: WeatherBug
Free and easy to use, WeatherBug delivers fast alerts and provides reliable real-time forecasts from your current time to ten days into the future, using localized GPS data. The best thing about this app is that you'll be able to visualize the weather with 18 different maps, including Doppler radar, lightning, wind, temperature, pressure, and humidity. If you're in areas affected by hurricanes, severe winters, and lightning, you'll receive real-time storm alerts. On top of everything, the app will inform you how the weather may influence your sports, workouts, allergies, pain, and more. Measurements unique to WeatherBug include heat index, pollen count, and UV index. WeatherBug has forecasts for over 2.6 million locations around the world so you'll be able to plan your international trips accordingly. And besides the forecast, you'll be able to get a heads up on real-time traffic conditions to prepare for your trips and commutes.
Best for Tracking Multiple Locations: NOAA Weather Radar Live
NOAA Weather Radar Live lets you keep track of multiple locations at once, so you'll know how your friends and family are doing while keeping track of the weather conditions where you are. You can add bookmarks to specific areas to highlight key places. The app allows you to search detailed information about a location by pinpointing it on a map or looking it up by name. It uses real-time animated radar images, showing rain, snow, precipitation, and cloud cover. You'll be able to get push notifications for tornadoes, flood warnings, snow storms, and other harsh weather for your current location.
Besides radar maps, you'll also be able to get basic numbers about the forecast, such as pressure, humidity, wind speed, visibility, sunset and sunrise, and dew point. With the app, you'll be able to look ahead seven days into the future for wherever you want. The premium version of the app removes ads and includes severe weather alerts for an unlimited number of saved locations. Additionally, it also features lightning and hurricane trackers.
Best for Rainy Weather: RainAware
Looking up rainy weather can be vague, as most general weather forecasts will let you know the chance of precipitation with a percentage, instead of telling you the exact time that it will drizzle or shower. The best use for RainAware is trip planning and storm tracking. The app's rain spotting allows you to look at rainfall three hours ahead and lets you know where you'll find the nearest rain, so you dress and pack appropriately for the next destination on your agenda. Should there be precipitation, RainAware will also give you information about the duration of the rain. It takes data from radars, satellites, and surface stations to figure out areas of rain where you are and forecasts local storms. The radar imagery displays storm movement meticulously by the minute.
Best for Weather Experts: Radarscope
At $9.99, Radarscope is the most expensive app on this list, but its radar detailing is unsurpassed, and great for experts or anyone who wants to keep a close eye on a storm. Built for meteorologists and weather enthusiasts, it features NEXRAD Level 3 and “super resolution” radar data, which is the greatest level of radar detail for smartphones. (So accurate, in fact, that pilots use it for storm navigation.) Instead of GIF or PNG files, you will see native radar data in a radial format with lots of detail in two-minute intervals.
The app gives you in-depth stats for precipitation and storm tracking — more specifically, information on reflectivity, velocity, and dual-polarization from any NEXRAD or TDWR site in the US, Guam, Puerto Rico, Korea, and Okinawa plus reflectivity and velocity data from Environment Canada radars. Additionally, it sends alerts for tornado, severe thunderstorm, flash flood, and special marine warnings.
Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular weather radar apps on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different apps overall, read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 3 of the weather apps themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.