The best weather apps are a must-have during hurricane season, especially with Hurricane Ida making landfall on the Gulf Coast. A weather app can bring you the latest conditions, any breaking alerts, and forecasts for what to expect next.
There's a lot of competition among the best weather apps, which deliver extensive forecasts, radar images of weather patterns and lots of data to study.
Even beyond hurricane season, having a reliable weather app is especially important these days with climate change leading to unpredictable and sometimes dangerous weather patterns. The best weather apps can track winter storms, air quality issues and extreme heat — they're invaluable at any time of the year.
The best weather apps you can download today
1. Carrot Weather (Android, iOS: Free/$4.99)
Long an iOS exclusive you couldn't get on Android, Carrot Weather has since bridged the platform divide, and now the malevolent AI overlord Carrot can bring Android users the weather forecast along with a big side helping of snark and sarcasm. (iOS users still enjoy features like being able to add a Carrot Weather widget to their home screens; the version 5.0 update added new customization features and bonuses for premium subscribers such as tide data.)
The app pulls data from Dark Sky to provide current, hourly, and 7-day forecasts leavened with sarcastic humor to cushion even the gloomiest outlook. Infographics put useful information in quick reach, with more detailed meteorological data available as you tap and swipe. You can even configure Carrot's sense of humor to be friendly, snarky, or murderous, with the ability to set how political the AI's jokes can get.
Carrot Weather offers different subscription tiers. iOS users who opt for the Tier 3 subscription (the priciest option, with a $24.99 annual cost) can receive notifications for rain, snow, lightning strikes and storms. Tier 2 subscribers ($9.99) can create custom reminders triggered by weather conditions, while the $3.99-a-year Tier 1 level brings alerts about critical weather conditions. The Android version has a Premium Club with time travel and widget features.
Clearly, the makers of Carrot Weather must be doing something right. Even with its own in-house Weather App, Apple recognized Carrot Weather with an Apple Design Award earlier this year, recognizing its interactive features.
2. The Weather Channel (Android; iOS: Free)
The Weather Channel's free, ad-supported weather app is available on Android and iOS. The TWC app provides you with a wealth of meteorological data such as temperature, wind and visibility on an hourly or daily basis, with an extended 10-day forecast available. Interactive maps can display the latest Doppler radar data to show rainfall and weather events and severe weather alerts.
The Weather Channel also includes social sharing features for users to upload images, tweets, videos and photos.
3. Emergency: Alerts (Android; iOS)
It's an app you hope you never have to use, but when disaster strikes, you'll be glad you have Emergency: Alerts from the American Red Cross on your iPhone or Android device.
Because it keeps tabs on everything from hurricanes and floods to extreme heat and winter storms, Emergency: Alerts is good to keep installed on your phone at all times, and not just during hurricane season. Not only will Emergency monitor where you live, you can also enter cities and people that are important to you. The app features customizable alerts and provides a map with shelter information in the event of an emergency.
You can use Emergency Alerts to make sure you're ready for a potential storm by scanning through the disaster preparedness info tucked within Emergency.
4. NOAA Weather Radar Live: Clime (Android, iOS: Free)
The app formerly known as NOAA Radar Pro has a new name — it's now NOAA Weather Radar Live: Clime on the iPhone and just Clime for Android users. But the focus remains the same. This weather tracker is highlighted by real time radar showing you changing weather conditions in your area.
You'll get the standard 24-hour and 7-day forecasts with severe weather alerts included. But the reason to turn to Clime is for the satellite weather imagery that gives you the full picture of precipitation, temperature and other weather details.
A premium subscription unlocks the best features on Clime, including severe weather alerts for all saved locations, trackers for hurricanes, lightning and wildfires and a temperature map. Subscribers get rid of ads, too.
5. WeatherBug (Android, iOS: Free)
If there's a developing weather situation you need to track, WeatherBug can help you out. (On Android, the app is called Weather by WeatherBug.)
The free download not only offers Doppler radar for North America, but can provide hurricane forecasts, Spark lightning alerts, air quality info and pollen count data on top of the usual array of weather information. Since it pulls data from weather services, satellites and tracking stations, WeatherBug can provide hyperlocal real-time conditions with current, hourly and 10-day forecasts.
6. AirVisual Air Quality Forecast (Android, iOS: Free)
In a time of increasing pollution, knowing the quality of the air you breathe is even more important than knowing if it's going to rain. We like the AirVisual Air Quality Forecast app for the eye-catching way it presents vital data about air quality wherever your are as well as around the world.
The app promises detailed info on pollutants and the air quality index for 10,000-plus locations in more than 100 countries. You have a choice of maps for viewing air quality — either a color-coded 2D map or a Google Earth-like 3D version. AirVisual also works in 7-day forecasts so that you can plan ahead on your outdoor activities to make sure you're going out in healthy air. And if you've got on of iQAir's air quality monitors in your home, you can sync them with the app to get a mobile reading on your indoor air quality, too.
7. Weather on the Way (iOS: Free)
Knowing the weather before you start out on a road trip can be just as crucial as having the right directions. Weather on the Way, a free iOS download, understands this point, and so it combines navigation features with severe weather alerts that let you know whether to expect rain, snow or other potentially hazardous conditions during your drive from Point A to Point B.
While free, Weather on the Way becomes even more valuable with a Pro subscription (99 cents a month or $9.99 annually.) Pro users get more sophisticated features like alternate routes suggestions, road visibility and expanded data about conditions such as precipitation and wind speed. If you've got any extended trips in your future, Weather on the Way can be a helpful companion to make sure that you arrive safely at your destination.
Download Weather on the Way: iOS
8. Yahoo Weather (Android, iOS: Free)
The beautiful Yahoo Weather app boasts a gorgeous interface that is both informative and striking. The app displays images of your location with matching time of day and weather conditions, with the option to view detailed five-day forecasts, as well as interactive radar, heat and satellite maps. Updates have brought the Android app in line with the iOS design for a unified experience across both platforms.
Other apps provide more details and features, but Yahoo Weather's clean, concise presentation makes it an eminently user-friendly, everyday app, marred only by a fairly large advertisement as you swipe up to get to the detailed forecast.
9: Weather Up (iOS: Free)
iPhone users who like to see a visual representation of upcoming shifts in the weather can give Weather Up a try. The free download offers hourly and 10-day forecasts, with your choice of icons for an at-a-glance look at the forecast. But Weather Up really proves its value with radar maps that can show shifting conditions in your area — all part of the basic app.
There is a rather prominent ad at the top of the otherwise uncluttered Weather Up interface, and to make it go away, you can subscribe to the Pro version. Subscriptions cost $1.99 per month or $9.99 annually. In addition to an ad-free experience, you can also pull your weather data from more sources, including Dark Sky and Aeris. Pro subscribers get additional options like warning layers and animation, really making the paid tier worth it.
Download Weather Up: iOS
10. My Moon Phase (Android: $1.99; iOS: Free)
If your interest in the best weather apps extends to the lunar calendar, then My Moon Phase is a must-download. The app can help you pinpoint moonrise time as well as phases of the moon with an extensive calendar for tracking the cycles of the moon. You can even get notifications for when the moon is about to enter a particular phase.
Photographers will appreciate the clear interface of My Moon Phase, as it includes information about the golden hour and the blue hour — when the moon will be in a particular position of the sky best suited for taking specific photos. On the weather front, you can also see how cloudy it will be, so that you'll know if you have a clear view of the moon.
11. AccuWeather (Android, iOS: Free)
AccuWeather is an excellent app that provides hourly, daily and 15-day weather forecasts, which you can integrate with your calendar. The MinuteCast feature even provides hyper-local, minute-by-minute forecasts for the next two hours.
AccuWeather's reach is comprehensive, with forecast data for more than 3 million locations. The app also includes alerts for incoming severe weather events such as snow, thunderstorms, high winds or tornadoes.
12. Flowx (Android: Free)
If geeking out over maps, graphs, and predictions is your thing, check out Flowx. Formerly known as Weatherbomb, the app provides users with a rich array of charts, forecasts, and weather maps presented in a scrolling animated forecast timeline. Users can have the app center on their location automatically, or set custom locations.
Flowx can display a variety of data overlays, such as precipitation, clouds and wind direction arrows, with data sourced from the NWS/NOAA and Environment Canada. The app is ad-supported, with an optional subscription that removes ads and rewards the developer.
Download Flowx: Android
13. Radarscope (Android, iOS: $9.99)
If you're looking for an incredibly feature-packed and powerful weather radar app and cost isn't an issue, then check out RadarScope, an Android and iOS app aimed at meteorologists and weather enthusiasts.
RadarScope provides users with Nexrad Level 3 data from radar stations across the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico, with options for fine-tuning the view with settings for displaying reflectivity, velocity and more. In addition, there are detailed severe weather alerts for tornadoes, flash floods and thunderstorms. While it's overkill for just checking the weather forecast, it's a fantastic tool for the more dedicated enthusiast.
14. Weather Underground (Android, iOS: Free)
Weather Underground relies upon a network of more than 30,000 personal and amateur weather stations to deliver truly local weather forecasts. Crowd reporting features allow you to verify reported forecasts and post their own sky and hazard reports. A detailed weather map allows you to apply a variety of information overlays. You can receive severe weather alerts, meteorological data in your notification tray and receive hourly forecasts up to 10 days.