You couldn’t save up for a rainy day like this: Apple acquired popular weather app Dark Sky and has shut off access to Android users. Where will you go to get your weather now? Well, of course, here at Android Police, we have our own suggestions of what to use if you like reliable forecasts in an easy-to-digest format on your phone.
First, we ought to lay out the appeal of any weather app and they seem to rely on three factors: aesthetics, the capacity to give an accurate forecast, and to what detail the forecast is given.
Dark Sky gave users a clean interface and short verbal forecasts explaining what might happen in a given period. Its API, as described here, probably contains an in-house forecast model in addition to ones from other meteorological agencies. It’s made its way to other apps like CARROT and Overdrop to take care of the math so that the devs can focus on UX — alas, the toolkit won’t be available to use beyond 2021. However, results are only as good as the data one puts in and that data, as Dark Sky attributed here, can be pulled from public sources that everyone has access to.
So, with all these vertices in mind, we’ve got three recommendations for weather apps with good, reliable data and a variety of ways to express it. They’re a bit off the beaten path, but each should provide a pretty darn good experience.
Norwegian public broadcaster NRK has a website called Yr and there’s an app by the same name — the word means “drizzle” in Norwegian. Data is sourced from the Meteorologisk Institutt and while nearly all of its reporting stations are within Norway, it also sources data from global weather services plus public and private Netatmo and Holfuy weather stations. A full list can be found here.
The app defaults on the Sky tab which features an animated sky display as well as a verbal forecast and the usual temp, wind, and condition stats. Scrolling along the screen tells you the forecasted conditions hour-by-hour for the next 60 hours. Sunrise and sunset information appears during relevant hours of the day.
The Table and Graph tabs feature the same data in those forms while the map only displays current conditions for cities, no radar. You can also set the app to push a forecast notification every morning.
You get the basic stats in a clean manner and it’s free for all to use.
This one’s for nerds who like visuals. Flowx uses complex operational models from government and private agencies. Two are available for free — NOAA GFS and CMC GDPS runs — with up to 16 more available upon annual subscription.
The app prominently features a map with eight layers available to inspect — precipitation, satellite, temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, wave heights, wind circulation, and wave circulation. The top third of the screen features temperature, wind speed, and precip trends on one graph and temperature difference trends on the other. You can scroll to track conditions hour-by-hour for the next 6 days with stats appearing on a narrow band at the top of the map.
There are three annual subscription tiers. At the $5 level, users get a 10-day range, extra map layers, and customizable graphs. $10 a year will get you four more models. $15 gets you the rest.
NOAA Weather International
Last but not least, here’s a no-frills weather app that takes data solely from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It offers the same data and forecast products as the website, but in a more usable mobile format as NOAA has yet to make it out of the 2000’s.
You’ll see a map with four topical layers and four data layers you can toggle on — radar, cloud, wind, and surface pressure. You’ll be able to see animated loops of the past hour of activity (8 hours for satellite data). Searching for a city or town or pulling out the overflow menu and narrowing down to your current location will give you the current conditions, watches, warnings, and 7-day forecast for the National Weather Service’s nearest reporting site. Tapping on a future period will give you hourly predictions on several vectors. At the bottom of the page is the forecast discussion from the local NWS office.
The free version runs with ads, but you can either pay $2.99 or get Play Pass to remove them.