By Steve Casimiro
After running neck and neck with the Weather Channel, Accuweather pulls ahead thanks to smarter, more appealing design. Let’s face it: They’re all pulling from the same data, so presentation is everything. Accuweather’s is easier to grasp at a glance: hourly forecast, 15-day forecast, even the maps are gentler on the eye. If you have just one weather app, make it Accuweather.
Aimed at pilots, these forecasts and conditions come from reporting stations at airports and are stripped of fancy graphics and frills: Just the facts, presented in the aeronautic reporting formats of METAR and TAF. Shorthand: Weather junkies should get this one.
Wow. Wow. What a fantastically valuable little app for weather voyeurs. Although designed to run herd on hurricanes, it makes for a great general satellite hookup, too: Animated radar views of both coasts and mid-latitude waters are on display at all times. And the hurricane beta is super rich, with a daily built-in podcast, forecasts, computer modeling…the deeper I drilled, the more I found, and I’m not even sure I hit bottom. (Took the screengrabs out of hurricane season, though. Sorry!)
Meteorology channels the National Weather Service radar mosaic of the United States in real time and cycles through a short animation with a forecast. You can drill down to metro areas and have it show cloud cover, winds, precip, and more. It’s simple and effective, but Weather Radar is better dialed to take advantage of the iPhone’s touchscreen and display.
Although Accuweather gets the nod at the moment, Weather Channel isn’t totally off the back in the race for number one and two: It packs a bit more information onto its daily forecast screen, including sunrise and sunset times. But does it really need to spend 40 percent of the page on menus and ads? Time for a facelift, folks.
LOVE this app. It doesn’t offer as many weather variables, but Weather Radar is more full featured than Meteorology. When you pinch and drag to zoom in, it redraws the map on Google Earth, unlike Meteorology, which simply enlarges its maps. Offers cloud cover and base reflectivity.
Want more? See the entire list of 107 awesome outdoor apps.