The best weather apps are essential any time of year, but especially during the winter. Having one of these apps on your phone can tip you off to what conditions are like should you need to venture outside. Many apps even take advantage of notifications to let you know if there's a big storm coming that you need to prepare for.
Most smartphones come with their own pre-installed weather app, but it's always worth checking out third-party options to see if the more extensive data is a better fit for your needs. Picking your own app from Google Play or the App Store means you can get the features you want, where it's up-to-the-minute forecasts, radar-aided overviews or extended looks at coming weather patterns.
Check out 15 of the best weather apps for Android and iOS devices.
The best weather apps you can download today
1. Dark Sky (iOS: $3.99)
How good is Dark Sky? So good that Apple itself snapped up the app to improve its own built-in weather offerings. You can see the benefits of that purchase throughout iOS 14, as many of Dark Sky's best features have been integrated into the Weather app.
Even with the Weather app adding Dark Sky-inspired features like weather alerts and upcoming precipitation forecasts, iOS users can still download Dark Sky from the App Store for $3.99 to enjoy its hyper-accurate local weather forecasting. Android users are out of luck, as Dark Sky has disappeared from the Google Play Store and Apple has turned off service to existing users. (Fortunately, there are plenty of other apps on this list to download to your Android phone.)
A major interface revamp to Dark Sky put even more weather data right at your fingertips, including a precipitation map and handy hourly forecasts. 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. Dark Sky has also been updated for iOS 14 and watchOS 7, adding a new icon to show when Precise Location is disabled as well as extra large watch complication for Apple Watch users.
Download Dark Sky: iOS
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 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.
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. 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 in iOS 14.)
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.
8. Weather Line (iOS)
Weather Line proves the value in bundling the best features of weather-tracking services. Pay up for a premium subscription to this iOS-only app, and you'll get extended 10-day forecasts that pull data from Dark Sky, WDT and Accuweather for a comprehensive look ahead at ever-changing weather conditions. The free ad-supported version of Weather Line just uses Dark Sky data.
Whether free or paid, you'll appreciate the customizable views of Weather Line, which includes multiple dark modes, themes and icons so that you can give the app a look that helps you easily pick out the weather for locations at a glance.
A Supercharge subscription to Weather Line costs $1.99 a month or $9.99 if you opt for an annual subscription; a lifetime unlocks costs $44.99. In addition to the 10-day forecast feature, subscriptions include a 72-hour forecast, animated radar, by-the-minute rain forecasts, and all the themes and app icons.
Download Weather Line: iOS
9. 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.
10. 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
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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
14. 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.
15. 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.