I don’t remember all of the apps that I put on my first smartphone, but I know a weather app was among them. It may have been pre-installed like the one that comes with new iPhones. It displays the current temperature and offers a snapshot of predicted conditions over the next several hours and days.
But for many people, snapshots aren’t enough. They want to see a radar map and be able to drill deep to find details such as the pollen count, wind speed, humidity ratings, and whether they need to wear sunscreen to protect again ultraviolet sunlight. Those are the people that Weather Bug was designed for.
This is an app that not only tells you the hour that thunderstorm will arrive in your area, it can also tell you how close you are to the nearest lightning strike and help you fine-tune a smart heating and cooling system in this area of the Internet of Things.
Check out our video review of the app going over all the useful features of this weather app:
Like most weather apps, WeatherBug puts the high-value details first. The home screen displays the current temperature and a summary of current conditions in large type that you can read at a glance of you iPhone or an Apple Watch.
Just below the basic report is a pair of widgets (three on an iPad) that can be customized to show different reports. Options include a radar map, a live camera, the current day’s forecast and a wind speed meter.
I like having a radar view close at hand. WeatherBug’s radar starts with a regional view of your current location. You can pinch, zoom, scroll and swipe to smoothly change the view. You can scroll the map all the way to Japan, but the radar only covers the US. And while the radar doesn’t show storms patterns at the same level of detail as some other weather radar apps, it’s sufficient show current storms and their movement.
WeatherBug lets you add build a long list of locations anywhere in the world where you might want to check the weather. The reporting network that WeatherBug lets you choose a specific reporting station – usually a school or government building – to represent a metro area. To get a report from a small town, you might have to accept a station that’s 10 or 15 miles away.
Each location on your list gets a red pin on WeatherBug’s global map. Tap the pin on your phone or tablet screen and you get the current weather conditions from that locations. As I write this it’s 82 degrees and clear in Destin, Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico. To prove it, I can scroll through 18 different area webcams. For most larger US cities, a collection of highway traffic cams are also available.
WeatherBug also packages its meteorological data into a set of lifestyle tips arranged along the bottom of the home page. The idea here is to suggest days that might be best suited for different activities such as gardening, boating, golfing or mowing the lawn.
Other pages on the WestherBug offer hourly and 10-day forecasts. For the hourly view, you get predictions for the temperature, sky conditions and the potential for rain or snow. And the predictions go well into the future. For example, you could check the app on Monday to see the forecast for an 8 a.m. tee time on Saturday. The 10-day forecast starts with the basics – high and low temps and sky conditions – but presents a more detailed estimate when you tap on a day.
Although WeatherBug lacks the precision to tell you exactly when a rain shower will arrive in or exit your neighborhood, it’s still the best weather app I’ve seen for lots of data and detail. It may be overkill for some people but if you’re not intimidated by deep data, this is the weather app for you.
You can learn more about WeatherBug and the Earth Networks service that supports it at the WeatherBug website: http://weather.weatherbug.com/
The iOS version of the app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store:
WeatherBug is also available in versions for Android, Ma and Windows desktops and Google’s Chrome browser:
The app is free with an option to remove advertising by purchasing an annual subscription.
Our rating(out of 5 stars):