As I write this, we’re just a short 36 hours away from the most important weather event of the year: Groundhog Day. And while I know that everyone loves Punxsutawney Phil, I’m a personal supporter of General Beauregard Lee, who lives here in the South with me and has a much higher accuracy rate.
Bill Murray aside, the reason we’re all fascinated with Groundhog Day is twofold. First, now that the winter holidays are over and we’ve slogged through January, we all feel entitled to get to Spring as quickly as possible. Second and more to the heart of the species, weather can have a tremendous effect on us, our ability to get work done, and even our ability to get to or from work. (Fellow ProfHacker Mark Sample was recently stranded at Dulles for more than 36 hours when the January 25 storm came through.) If you want posts about your commute and how to hack it, we’ve got them.)
Fortunately, most of us don’t have to travel with groundhogs in our pockets these days to get a quick check on the weather. If you’ve got a smartphone or other Internet-capable device, you’ve got quick and easy access to a plethora of different weather. Naturally, most of these devices have a weather app already built in. But perhaps just as naturally, these stock apps tend to be rather…underwhelming. The sad nature of the iOS weather app is why Jason described using Google to get mobile weather information without an app.
While you can get weather information without the app, then, it turns out that dedicated apps can offer alerts, multiple locations, and better visuals. Perhaps it is this last reason that has led to such a proliferation of such tools. My own personal favorite is Check the Weather. It offers a beautiful and minimalistic interface and I can get hourly forecasts with a swipe in one direction and daily forecasts with a swipe in the other. If I swipe up, I get minute-by-minute precipitation predictions from the Dark Sky API for the next hour. I don’t get barometric pressure or wind speed / direction, but I find that those things aren’t really that important to me.
Jason has written for Wired‘s GeekDad about the Dark Sky app, so I know it’s one of his favorites. But what about you, ProfHacker readers? What’s your favorite weather app? What features are must-haves for you? Let us know in the comments! (And — while you’re at it — what’s your favorite predictive Sciurdiae?)