Weather radar

Mother Nature is fickle. While things may be sunny and calm one day, the next may bring a full-blown case of what my grandfather used to call "some weather." Whether that weather is rain, or ice, or something more sinister that rotates, keeping up-to-date and a step ahead can be crucial.

We have the technology in our hands to see the same maps and data the professional weather people are seeing, in almost real-time. We can be prepared if we want to be. So do you?

I'll admit I'm a weather junkie. It even rubbed off on my wife since she's been stuck with me for so long. The minute I hear some bad schtuff may be going down, I grab my tablet or my phone and start opening some apps to get all the information I can. I know some of you guys live in my neck of the woods, and know exactly how important it was this past winter to stay ahead of the ice. And the ice. And the ice. Or as we just saw in Northwest Florida, rain can make one hell of a mess — or do worse. And that's not even mentioning the emergencies like tornados or hurricanes.

What about you? Do you use your phone or tablet to keep up-to-date with this sort of thing, or do you rely on other means to stay informed? There's a poll below, and you can always find it on the homepage in the right-hand sidebar. Let us all know, and be sure to mention your favorite app for it in the comments!


Reader comments

This week's sidebar poll: Do you use your Android to track severe weather?


I use radar now to have instant radar coverage. Too bad that the payment method to get rid of ads and enhance viewing is a yearly subscription

Posted via Android Central App

If you need a good radar weather app free, just shows radar with legend, Rainy Days is a great free app. I use that along with WeatherBug Elite.

Yep. I was a big Weatherbug Elite user until they abandoned the app. I can't stand the adds in the up to date ad-supported version and elite is getting very out of date and slow as I move through devices. And the weather channel app looks awful to me.
Currently use the WeatherUndergound app as my source. It's very accurate in my area but has the downfall of no Push notifications for severe weather.
I am also a big fan of "Atmoshere" On the play store. It's a gorgeous app but the Dev can't afford(according to his G+ page) to add any decent animated radar to the app until his user base get's bigger so it's a no go for me at the moment.

I have weatherbug elite and I have no adds and they have kept it up to date with nice features. It never gives me any issues and the widget for it is great. Plus they have a lighting strike near you feature and instant alerts for severe weather. Don't know what you mean by they abandoned it.

He means they pulled it from the Play Store. If you uninstall it and remove it from your list, you won't get it back. And when's the last time it was updated? I'm guessing December. I switch between Weather Underground and 1Weather, since BeWeather also seems to have been abandoned.

Got it. I had no idea the pulled the paid version from the market. The paid version is still available in the amazon market and I think it still gets updated. That's where I got mine. I guess if I lose it I will switch. As of now I'm glad I didn't buy it from the google market.

I run weatherbug elite that I also got through Amazon. It does what I want (severe weather maps and forecast of pollen conditions.)


If you previously paid for WB E, then you can still download it. However, Earth Networks will no longer update the app as they have put all their eggs into the free version. If you searched for in in the Playstore from a computer you won't fine it.

I have weatherbug elite, have been using it for years, ever since they have abandoned it, it has been slow as heck, sometimes failing to load at all. Sucks I haven't been able to find a good app to replace it with.

Posted via Android Central App

wait, what the hell, when did they pull elite from the play store, i've had it on my phone for ages, that is terrible!

Add me to the list of disappointed Weatherbug Elite users. ( Damn you WB! ) All the features of the elite app are now available on the free version though you must suffer the pain of advertisements. I still use it for Sparks but have switched to Weather Underground for general forecasting needs. Their new layout is very attractive, accurate and functional..

I ditched weatherbug back when they ruined their windows plug in. That was buggy enough for me to never try them on my phone. Google Now gives you great forecasting and Radar Now is free and relatively up to date.

I currently use the Weather bug for my weather needs.... Works pretty solid... Unaware of any other app's that are better than Bug...

Give BeWeather a look. It's used on the Samsung in the article picture, has good widgets, and is well designed and looks pretty darn nice. Been my main go-to since my BlackBerry days.

I used to be a big fan of BeWeather but it also seems to be abandoned. The last update was over a year ago and I always had trouble getting the widget to update on the set timeframe. Weather alerts always worked well. Currently I'm running both WeatherUnderground and 1Weather to decide which I like more, just need some severe weather for testing.

Yes. I live in tornado alley so it's a must to keep track of severe weather. However, that seems to be nearly the entire USA now! :-)

Yes. I have BeWeather for my basic weather alert and forecast app. I use RadarScope for radars. The NOAA app for hurricane forecasts and cone mapping.

I'm still looking for a good app that provides USGS info for water levels in rivers and streams.

Arcus weather is pretty damn awesome and I'd recommend everyone try it. In northern Louisiana where the weather can change at the drop of a hat, it reliably and accurately predicts the start and stop of storms down to the minute. Very cool...

Posted via Android Central App

As suggested by some local storm chasers and meteorologists, I've started to use RadarScope, which is on Play, Amazon and iOS/Mac as well.

Its not exactly cheap though ($10). But still probably one of the better mobile radar apps I've seen.

GRlevel3 is probably the best weather enthusiast software for PC though.

eWeather HD. Gives me a radar widget and numerous other widgets. Very customizable. The weather sources also typically are more accurate than WeatherBug and others that I have tried.

Sometimes. Google Now informs me of the weather in my area. Beyond that, I don't really track it unless there was a wave of cyclones or something extreme.

Posted from my Motorola Moto G

Tried them all keep coming back to eweather (takes a while to get use to) first click the four arrows at the top left to get a bar graph of the weather instead of the clock....

the smoothest cheapest radar I have found was NOAA HI-Def Radar

the professionals use RadarScope, but that is a little pricey and confusing of an app for me :(

Yup, I use BeWeather Pro for general weather info and alerts (very granular control over type of alerts).

Otherwise, I use the following websites (in desktop mode, easy to view with the larger screens on my Note 2 and Note 10.1) during severe weather: Weather Underground (BeWeather Pro app uses them as its source too), Intellicast (great weather maps!), and a local Birmingham ABC33/40 weather blog ( with the great James Spann!. :)

I use the accuweather website, which is a shortcut from my homescreen widget, and generally look at the radar during severe weather. I don't care enough to have a standalone app installed. I really only look at radar during bad weather and the 3 day outlook at the beginning of the day so I know what to wear as far as a jacket or whatever.

About the only thing I am picky about is I like my radar to have counties clearly outlined which the accuweather one does.

I have a simple Tasker task setup to get my current cell location and put it into a url to access's mobile site for my location. My atmospheric chemist wife only trusts, so same goes for me.

Task is here if anyone wants it:

I've been using Weatherbug Elite since my first Android phone.
I have it set to alert me of severe weather which is great since North Carolina has the highest instance of night time tornadoes it seems.
Love the radar feature!

I really like eweather. It is a well designed app but does have a small learning curve. The radar works well when I need it and I like to originality of the app design.

1Weather Widget still works best for me as far as radar is concerned. And the notices of severe weather come through BeWeather.

Another great program is Tempest. It's nearly as complete as Radarscope and a bit easier to use. I believe it incorporates Weather Underground information

SPEAKING of SEVERE Weather.....

How is our fearless leader doing in Pensacola? Anyone heard from Phil?
TV coverage often exaggerates, but still, looked serious down there?

LOL, for general weather that's fine. But what about severe weather? Sticking your head out the door isn't very helpful when a tornado is bearing down on you! :(

I currently use AccuWeather Pro. To me it is the best looking weather app and has almost every piece of information you could ask for. I also like how it puts the pollen forecast front and center as my allergies can be rough a at times. I easily know what to expect on a daily basis.

I also use AccuWeather to monitor weather conditions around the world and in places I have relatives living. I don't enable notifications because I get weather alerts from Google now and the alert system built into my phone. That seems more reliable and faster than the weather apps.

Posted via Android Central App

Use RadarScope and em both. Weather nerd though!

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk ATT

I use the free NOAA app for detailed info and Raindar for radar. Note that Raindar may not work on Samsung phones.

Posted via Android Central App

As a motorcyle rider here in NW Florida it is necessary. Never want to get stuck out in the rain. Also can severely affect traffic on my way somewhere. Radar Now and Google now work great for me

I live in the heart of "Dixie Alley" and I am a weather nerd so a quality/professional level radar app is a necessity for me. I use Pkyl3 radar. Heard great things about Radarscope as well but when I purchased Pykl3, Radarscope had not been developed for android yet. Pykl3 does everything I need it to and more, so I haven't seen the need to spend money on another radar app.

I'm an admitted Weather addict. Currently Installed:
Weather Underground
The Weather Channel
MyCast Weather

By far, MyCast has been the best over time - no ads (I've had it forever so I'm sure I paid for it at one time....), and you can purchase a lightning tracker that is nearly real time. I've used it on a Razr (flip not Droid) BB Storm, Droid X, and now my SGS3. They don't update a lot, which is good and bad but I've seen very few bugs.

Weather Bug and Weather Underground are catching up though, and both are very good. Weather Underground forecasts were more accurate this past winter.

All 4 have great notifications. Can't really say anything bad about any, but I default to MyCast. I will have to check out BeWeather again. I forgot about that one!

I use PYKL3, it's extremely advanced and does a LOT more than what I understand, but it does a great job and extremely helpful I especially love it in the spring / summer months here in the mid-west. I remember this time last year when I used it to determine when we should bring in or cover up our garage sale items, and I (it) was spot on!

Pykl3 and Radar Scope. If I could only choose one, it would be Pykl3, but I like to have a backup app preloaded and ready to go just in case.

I used to use BeWeather Pro until it was abandoned, now I switch between 1Weather and Weather Underground. PYKL3 and RadarScope for my radar apps, and Red Cross Tornado app for weather alerts.

My favorite radar app is Pykl3. It's expensive for an app at $9.99, but a simpler version is available also for $1.99. A comparison is available here:

Pykl3is very full featured, including the new dual-pol products multiple elevation angles, metar data, warning polygons, etc. It may be too much for many though and I often suggest just going to the NWS mobile site and looking at the local radar loop to friends.

I also use the weather underground app for general forecast when not looking at the NWS mobile page, Weather Geek Pro for model output, and SeaStorm for hurricane information...

I briefly had purchased the lite version until.. Gasp.. The legacy menu button of shame. Refunded :P (I also have the full version)

Posted via Android Central App

Not really severe, as much as weather in general. I definitely use my weather app at least once to twice a day.

Posted via Android Central App

Living in the area that Dr. Forbes of the weather channel has identified as the most dangerous for tornados in the US (we had 9 in one day in 2011, one an f4, another an f1 that snapped 20 inch oaks like matchsticks in my backyard) the answer is...duh. Besides being glued to the tv,and having several battery powered back-up radios, my S3 is my main link to information. I have dedicated links to all three local news stations, and the NWS radar feed, I am subscribed to a (free) local alert notification and also use the Baron Saf-T-Net app, which is free with very unobtrusive ads. It provides real time radar coverage, alerts tailored to type and custom locations (ex. Work, school, current mobile location) and as for accuracy I can tell you that as the alerts came up on my phone I could hear the same alerts coming in in the background on local news. When the power went out in 2011 (for 8 days) I was able to use my phone to track in real time the f4 that passed 2 miles from my house, and to identify the threat of the one that went through my back yard with plenty of time to make sure my family and friends were safe jn our shelter. A side note for all of you Sprint and Samsung haters, Sprint had generators going on key towers within minutes of power outage and maintained service throughout, and my S3 allows me to charge spare batteries in my car, giving me fully powered communications throughout the ordeal.

Oops, just realized I was still rocking the Palm Pre back in 2011 (red face here), but same deal, replaceable batteries a must have if you might ever face power outages

I kinda laughed at this...Whats the next poll "Do you use your Android device to browse the internet"? Than I read the comments and Poll, and was surprised to see some folks don't O:

I use Weather Underground (wunderground) and for forecasts and such - they're the most reliable that I've found. And I use Rain Days (free) for radar. I travel a lot and mountain bike a lot and these two have been far more reliable than my local weather people.

Our local crew told us earlier this week (in SC) to "brace for severe weather" like was seen in AL, N Fla, AR, etc. But my apps said we'd see next to nothing - which is what happened.

These two are two of my most definite Must Have apps. And both are free.

Yes in fact the weather apps are one of the few that I have triplicates on my phone of. Not to mention I have severe weather alerts sent via text message. Great point to bring up. Thanks for the continued hard work everyone at AC.

I used WeatherBug but now I just use Google Now. It gets the job done, and that's one less app I have running in the background sucking up battery.

Glad to live in Baltimore. Not too far north, not too far south. Weather doesn't get too crazy except for the all the snow we got this past winter. And then that sinkhole right outside Downtown Baltimore cause by all that rain yesterday

Posted via Android Central App

Nah, I just judge the weather when I take the dogs out. If it's cold I grab a jacket. If it's warm I put on a t-shirt. Raining I grab an umbrella, etc. Silly humans.

I always feel like weather apps take too long to load the data I want and I end up sifting through a lot of features that just aren't important to me when a major storm is on its way.
ESPECIALLY when I'm in the car and might not have a fast data connection.

So even though it's incredibly basic, I find myself using Weather Underground's mobile site:

Just go to the site, type in your city, hit the radar tab, press "View Full Screen WunderMap", then make that page a shortcut on your home screen.

For me, it loads in about 2 seconds even on edge. Raindar (which is fast) takes at least triple that amount of time. And I find that time to be more important than the extra detail when I'm driving around and trying to avoid severe weather.

I use AccuWeather. Gives me alerts and is pretty accurate.

Posted with my Nexus 7 2012 or Moto X via the Android Central App

1Weather, Radar Now beta, and AccuWeather Pro are three applications that help me monitor weather conditions and forecasts. I manage a golf course in Myrtle Beach, SC and keeping informed of changing weather conditions is a huge requirement.

Posted via Android Central App

The Weather Network is the only accurate app for Canada. Shows weather alerts within the app but no push notifications. I check it often enough though to see them. Too bad it doesn't have a decent widget; its widget just shows the current temperature with a weather condition icon and it kills battery. So I use inaccurate digits, SimiClock for a small one and Eye in Sky for a 5 day forecast.

Fortunately we don't have severe weather in Southern California.

Bonus - - No gargantuan insect infestations.

Extra bonus - - Hotties. Clue - they don't wear grody sweatpants, either.

PYKL3 for serious geeks. Lite version for everyone else. It's the best and most accurate radar app out there. More customizable than Radarscope

Posted via Android Central App

Oh hell yes. And my Nexus wakes me in the wee hours of the morning to warn me that a tornado is lurking outside somewhere. Emergency broadcasts and immediate update apps are a superb luxury. Even NOAA's web site is mobile ready and tells it all.

WeatherBug - the lightning tracker is great for Sunny Funny Florida. I use an area TV station (WESH) app for Doppler radar.

Posted via Android Central App

I used to, but nowadays I use the Win8 Weatherbug app, mostly because I prefer to use a bigger screen.

Since when did we start screwing up and calling them "Androids" instead of "Android devices" or "Android-based devices"?