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Don't forget your umbrella (ella, ella) with these 5 free weather apps

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | May 9, 2013
Be ready, rain or shine, with these free weather apps

There's no web app for Android users, but Forecast.io's mobile site is just as useful. The mobile site on Android is almost identical to the iOS web app, with the ability to store favorite locations and swipe through each day to see detailed weather info.

Forecast.io on Windows Phone 8 is a little disappointing; it's no different from what you'd see on a regular web browser. Apparently Internet Explorer can't force Forecast.io into a neat, app-like mobile version, so you end up having to pinch and zoom around the site.

WeatherBug--iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8

WeatherBug offers detailed weather information, a 7-day forecast, and a customizable radar map in its free (ad-supported) app, which is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8. The WeatherBug app consists of four forecast screens (current, hourly, 7-day, and detailed), the first of which features a customizable set of tiles along the bottom for accessing other app features.

The main screen displays a good amount of information, but if you're looking for more details you can swipe to the left to check out the "detailed" screen. Here you'll see highs and lows for temperature, humidity, and pressure, as well as detailed precipitation and wind speed data.

In both the iOS and Android versions of the app, a small icon in the upper left corner lets you access the menu where you can find the radar map, lifestyle forecasts, and settings. The radar map features customizable overlays (radar, visible satellite, worldwide satellite, and temperature gradients).

WeatherBug's lifestyle forecasts are fairly useful, in that they offer general advice. For example, the "beauty" forecast lets you know if there's a dry skin risk (and, if so, advises you to put on lotion). WeatherBug also features photos, live weather cameras, a pollen forecast courtesy of Pollen.com, and national video clips. The app also integrates with the Android notification bar, where it displays the current temperature.

Solar:Weather--iOS

Not everyone is looking for a super-detailed, multi-faceted weather app. Some people just want to know the temperature and whether it's snowing outside. For those people, there's Solar:Weather, a minimalist iPhone app that's both useful and attractive.

Solar:Weather is quite simple: The main screen shows your current location, current date and time, temperature, and general weather conditions (for example, "clear," or "mostly cloudy") against a muted, colorful background. The background color changes depending on the weather. For example, if it's hot outside, the background will be reddish orange; if it's raining, small animated droplets of rain will fall on the upper half of the screen.

To navigate through the app, you use swipes and gestures. Swipe to the side to view the next city on your list, swipe down to see a 3-day forecast (highs, lows, and general conditions), and swipe up to scroll through the next 24 hours. Pinch to zoom out and see all of your saved cities and to access the app's settings. That's all there is to Solar:Weather--it's an extremely straightforward app, but it's perfect for getting a feel for the weather at a glance.

 

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