When the weather outside is frightful, having one of the best weather apps loaded on to your smartphone can pay dividends. After all, with weather conditions becoming ever more extreme, an app can warn you when things are about to turn nasty. With a top weather app at the ready, your iPhone or Android device can let you know about changing weather conditions, even sending you notifications when a storm's on the way.
A quick trip through the iOS App Store or Google Play will turn up a number of top weather apps that offer everything from up-to-the-minute forecasts, radar-aided overviews and extended looks at coming weather patterns. Check out 15 of the best weather apps for Android and iOS devices.
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The best weather apps you can download today
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.
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.
The app pays attention to when severe weather conditions strike — everything from hurricanes and floods to extreme heat and winter storms. 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.
NOAA Radar Pro (Android, iOS: Free/$1.99)
Weather can change in an instant, so it's handy to be alerted when something severe is headed your way. Apalon's NOAA Radar Pro for iOS promises real-time animated radar images on an interactive app map, along with the kind of detailed weather information you'd expect from a mobile app.
A noteworthy feature is the app's ability to send notifications whenever a weather alert is issued, so that you're never caught unaware by snow storms, flood warnings or other dangerous conditions.
The iOS version of NOAA Radar Pro includes Apple Watch compatibility, so those alerts are delivered to your wrist. Android users can download the free NOAA Weather Radar & Alerts, with a $1.99 in-app purchase removing ads.
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.
Dark Sky (Android: Free; iOS: $3.99)
Dark Sky impressed many mobile users with its hyper-accurate local weather forecasting when it originally debuted, and the app continues to improve on the formula. A major interface revamp puts more weather data right at your fingertips.
The freakishly accurate hyperlocal forecast is now accompanied by a precipitation map for the next hour, as well as handy hourly forecasts and a precipitation graph. Those additions join severe weather alerts, customizable notifications, and lockscreen weather digests. The main timeline also includes UV information, and options for more granular information.
The latest update to Dark Sky is a bright refresh of the app interface that doesn't skimp on bringing all the meteorological info that's important to you right now.
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.
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.
The app 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.
Hello Weather (iOS: Free)
Hello Weather wants to make sure all the weather data you need is front and center, with the app's main screen giving you current and upcoming conditions as well as a forecast for the rest of the week. Even better, the information adapts to what's happening around you, serving up relevant details during stormy weather.
The app is free, but for a $6.99 annual subscription, you can add radar, real-time precipitation estimates and additional weather data sources, among other features. Apple Watch owners will want to spring for that subscription, as it also includes a very handy app and complications for Apple's smartwatches.
Download Hello Weather: iOS
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.
1Weather (Android, iOS: Free)
1Weather has been an old favorite among Android users for its clean and striking interface and its wealth of weather data. And now, the app has since made the jump to iOS.
1Weather provides quick summaries of current weather conditions and forecasts, as well as hourly, 10-day, and 12-week forecasts. In addition to the forecasts, 1Weather also provides detailed radar maps with customizable data layers, widgets, notifications and severe weather alerts where available.
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.
Weather Live (Android, iOS: Free)
Apalon's Weather Live app aims to provide a weather app experience as pretty as it is functional. Each weather report is accompanied by a matching photo that gives you a sense of the type of weather to expect, from beautiful clear skies to stormy weather and everything in between. The forecast indicates current and "feels like" temperatures, precipitation info, and sunrise and sunset times, and more, with 7-day and 24 hour forecasts available.
Going for a premium subscription removes advertising, and provides access to more features like hurricane tracking and interactive weather maps.
Air Quality by Plume Labs (Android, iOS: Free)
If you're looking for a forecast app that's more about air quality than overall weather forecasting, check out Air Quality by Plume Labs. This free air quality forecast app gives you a handy summary of current and forecast air quality conditions, including Air Quality Index (AQI), temperature, humidity, and concentrations for pollutants like NO2 and PM2.5, as well as an interactive map showing air quality conditions around you.
Air Quality comes with a timeline that you can use to scroll backward and forward to give you historical data for a week, as well as a 24-hour forecast that alerts you to upcoming conditions. Plume Air Report is also designed to work with the Flow air quality tracker gadget, though the app also works perfectly fine on its own.
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
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.
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.