It's officially summertime. The temperatures are higher, the days are almost as long as they can possibly get, and schools are out almost everywhere. Time for a vacation, or holiday, as my British bosses would say.
That's if the weather cooperates. When it doesn't, it's nice to have some advance notice, and these days, that can be as close as your phone.
There are plenty of free weather apps on the App Store at any given time, but as with most things, the cream tends to rise to the top over time. To make sure your summer goes as smoothly as possible when it comes to the fickle whims of Mother Nature, consider downloading one of the following apps so you're ready for anything she throws your way.
Just saying the name Yahoo conjures up thoughts of a cluttered front page and a frustrating email interface that makes you wish you'd abandoned your account long ago. That's why you might be surprised to learn that Yahoo Weather is one of the more elegant apps out there, weather or otherwise.
A lot of that has to do with the photography used as the backdrop for its forecasts, showing you instantly what you can expect outside your window. But the app also delivers the goods when it comes to details, maps and everything else you'd expect, and it can track the conditions of up to 20 cities at a time.
I grew up with the AccuWeather forecast telling me what was coming each day on the radio, and I'm sure I'm not alone. It's one of the most ambitious free weather apps around, constantly undergoing updates and adding new features.
Where it stands out is in its devotion to giving you the conditions in your exact location. AccuWeather uses both its own technology and crowdsourcing to help deliver hyper-local forecasts, and its MinuteCast gives you as much possible info on precipitation. And when things get really bad, you'll appreciate its severe weather alerts.
The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel's website is not quite cover your eyes awful, but considering the prominent place the network holds in the U.S., it's not ideal, full of things that are only tangentially related to weather. Fortunately, the app is much, much nicer, and can easily be the first thing you check each day.
Highlights of The Weather Channel app include a dynamic home screen, easy to locate hourly, 15-day and weekend reports, and the ability to keep multiple cities just a tap away. It also incorporates video segments and other cool stuff from the network's weather coverage, which is something its competitors just don't offer.
Besides just having a cool name, WeatherBug offers a couple of other things beside just the usual hourly and 10-day forecasts. Traffic info is a big selling point for commuters, and the app has recently been updated with better maps.
When it comes to alerts, WeatherBug claims to be the fastest at warning you when things go awry. We haven't tested all these apps against each other to find out if that is indeed the case (and don't really care to be around severe weather often enough to do so!), but they do seem to come quickly when the clouds start gathering.
Billing itself as the world's first internet weather service, Weather Underground has been around since the mid-90s. Though it's now part of The Weather Channel, it has a separate app that a lot of people prefer to that company's app.
Relying on a network of hundreds of thousands of personal weather stations, the Weather Underground app provides basics like the 10-day forecast, "feels like" temperatures that include wind chill and other factors, and how current conditions match up with historical data. You can also watch real-time weather from other parts of the globe, so even if your vacation is getting ruined, you can at least imagine yourself someplace more pleasant.