Storm tracking is a lot of fun, and it can be a great way to keep track of the weather if you have an interest in severe storms. There are plenty of different ways to do so, and all of them can be done on your computer or other device.
We recommend starting with The National Weather Service (NWS), which has different types of alerts you can receive depending on what interests you. If you see a tornado warning in your area, you’ll get a notification on your phone, and if there’s a watch or warning for flash flooding that goes into effect when you’re at home, you’ll receive an alert as well.
You can also sign up for email alerts that go out based on the criteria you set—for example, if there’s a thunderstorm with hail anywhere in Oklahoma within 50 miles of Tulsa, you’ll get an email about it.
There are other apps that are useful for tracking storms as well. The American Meteorological Society has an app called RadarCast which lets you look at radar imagery from around the country—it’s available for Android and Apple devices. You can also use the NOAA Storm Radar app, which lets you look at six locations around the country at once and has push notifications when severe weather is spotted in your area.
Are you a weather junkie? Do you get excited when you see a thunderstorm on the horizon? Do you wake up in the middle of the night just to see if there have been any new developments in your “storm of the century” that’s supposed to hit later this week? Does it bother you when there aren’t enough weather apps with different features for you to choose from?
If so, then you’re a prime candidate for getting a storm tracking app. Storm tracking apps are some of the most popular apps out there. They give you the latest and most accurate weather reports, and they even let you know when your area is going to be hit by bad weather, so that they can give you time to prepare yourself before the storm hits. Not only will these apps let you know about severe weather, but they’ll also let you know about other types of inclement weather that your area might face. Some of them will even provide information about solar activity and air quality as well!
Some of these apps are free, but download one that has data about your location (if it doesn’t already) to make sure it’s giving accurate information. Some weather information is location-sensitive, so having accurate information from an app on your phone could save your life!
1. Clime: NOAA Weather Radar (iOS, Android – Free)
The Clime app makes it easier and faster to get relevant, real-time weather information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA’s radar data allows you to track precipitation in your neighborhood, especially helpful for those of us who live in areas with unpredictable (or frequent) bad weather.
The app pulls local radar data from NOAA directly, giving you a straightforward look at the precipitation nearest you. You can even set an alert for when your local radar indicates a certain amount or type of precipitation.
It also has a “storm tracks” feature that shows the path of storms over time, as well as a tab for weather conditions outside of your current location. The one thing that sets Clime apart is its interface, which is simple and easy to use. Like many other weather apps, it gives you an easy-to-understand snapshot of what’s going on outside.
With the premium subscription, you can unlock weather alerts for severe storms, hurricanes and wildfires. You can also track lightning strikes with their live feed. And if you want more information about the weather in a particular city, you can check out their temperature map.
2. The Weather Channel (Android; iOS: Free)
The Weather Channel app for Android and iPhone is a great way to keep tabs on a storm or other severe weather you might be driving or walking under. The map interface is simple and intuitive, which makes it easy to find your location and zoom around to get an idea of the extent of the storm, whether it’s going to hit you directly or pass by, and how long it will take.
It also has a useful list of the closest cities, so you can see how far away the storm is from you. The app also has severe weather alerts, so if there’s something dangerous coming towards you right now, you’ll get a notification. Also handy are the extra details, like sunrise and sunset times (you can also add custom locations), which are important when driving in unfamiliar areas.
And since it’s The Weather Channel app, it gets high marks for accuracy and attention to detail—I’ve often found myself shrugging my shoulders at apps that have inaccurate radar maps, but this one is always spot-on. It’s a great app for keeping up with storms when you’re not in front of your TV!
The Weather Channel’s app includes a variety of features, including social sharing options, radar info, and a variety of weather-related news. The app also provides access to local weather conditions, letting users know when it will rain in their area. The app also includes 15-minute forecasts and 72-hour radar info as well as the ability to share weather-related photos to Facebook.
3. WeatherBug – Local Radar, Live Map, Alerts
WeatherBug is the easiest way to stay on top of what’s happening in the weather right now. Its easy-to-use interface features a live map that offers current radar maps, local forecasts, and an alert system—all available with just one click.
With Radar Now and Live Maps, you can see high definition live images of your local weather conditions. You can zoom in and out to see the weather patterns up close or from a distance. You can also search for a specific location like “New York City” to get a view of the weather there instead of where you are.
WeatherBug has a 10-day forecast that lets you plan for tomorrow or ten days from now. The Nice or Not feature tells you how nice the weather will be on any given day, so you can make plans without worrying about getting rained out. From wind to storm warnings, WeatherBug has an extensive list of alerts that can be turned on or off as needed.
WeatherBug is more than just a place to check the current weather and forecast; it also contains valuable information about extreme weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes. It records historical weather data so you have an idea of what might happen when you travel, and it offers helpful advice when severe weather strikes.
4. CARROT Weather: Alerts & Radar (Android, iOS: Free)
If you’re a weather buff, the newest update to CARROT Weather gives you the perfect combination of hyper-local and national forecast information. That’s right—CARROT now has radar, severe weather alerts, and a fully functioning radar viewer. You can even set it to alert you when a storm or bad weather is coming your way in order to never be caught unprepared again!
CARROT’s been entertaining iOS users since 2012 with its snarky personality and unique approach to notification management. Its brand of humor is a great way to wake up in the morning and make sure you’ve got everything you need for the day ahead.
CARROT Weather is now the premier weather app for the serious meteorologist in all of us. Yes, you can have your standard weather conditions, but why would you bother with those when you could be alerted about “plummeting temperatures” or “dense cumulonimbus clouds”? The app takes its cues from the hilarious personality of the same name, a snarky little robot that’s a regular presence on the Internet’s most popular tech blogs and podcasts.
The app itself is really easy to use. It runs in the background and constantly updates you with everything from rain alerts and sun warnings to stifling humidity and bone-chilling windchill. You can choose to be notified about any of these weather conditions individually, or all of them at once. The background image changes depending on what time of day it is, so if it’s morning, it will show an image of an alarm clock and if it’s night, it will show an image of a moon—it’s super clever and awesome.
The forecast-and-alert app will make you feel like you’re having a conversation with an entertaining friend who won’t let you get away with thinking it’s not funny that the sun is shining when you’re supposed to have three inches of rain by noon.
The name in itself is enough to indicate that this isn’t your typical weather app; instead of just telling you what the weather is going to be like, CARROT keeps track of how far off the mark its predictions are (which it does by using some really cool technology) and then makes witty comments on how it thinks you should react.
It also goes above and beyond the typical alerts from other apps by letting you know what to do in case of an emergency. And if it doesn’t think there’s going to be an emergency, it’ll tell you that too.
5. RadarScope (Android, iOS – $9.99)
It allows you to view a huge variety of products over a large number of radars, including reflectivity (base), velocity, dual-polarization, precipitation estimates (PIREPS), freezing rain and snow accumulation (radar accumulation), lightning strike density maps, mesocyclone detection (MESO), and more. On top of all that, it offers complete customization in terms of radar sites shown on the map, product sets displayed on each radar site, overall map appearance (including radar layer opacity) and more.
Protection from the elements: RadarScope works in all sorts of weather conditions—if your computer can boot up and connect to the Internet, so can RadarScope
RadarScope also has an impressive suite of specialized tools for meteorologists, including a customizable point plotter for all kinds of points like high/low pressure systems or tornado locations (the default uses green dots
This app can be very useful to meteorologists who need to access radar data on the go or hobbyists who want to keep an eye on approaching storms right at their fingertips. You can customize RadarScope for your needs by changing settings for things like your preferred map layout and color scheme. It’s available on iOS devices running iOS 7.0+ as a universal app for $9.99 (USD) from the App Store with no additional in-app purchases and requires an iPhone or Android.
It’s for people who want more out of their experience with radar than just animated loops, and it’s also for people who want more out of their experience with weather than just the forecast. RadarScope gives you the power to view the full resolution of radar data, which can be crucial in spotting small features like velocity couplets in the storm relative radial velocity product or pinpointing the landfall of a hurricane’s eye wall.
If you’re scanning reflectivity for a mesocyclone’s tell-tale hook echo, trying to identify a tornado or waterspout on base reflectivity, or looking for other features like tail clouds, RadarScope lets you see finer details than any other free software. You can zoom in and pan around to look at exactly what interests you.
Using advanced techniques like 3D display and layering multiple radar products on top of each other, RadarScope makes it easy to get a sense of how storms are moving and where they’re headed—and gives you more information about what’s happening inside those storms than anything else.
6. 1Weather (Android, iOS: Free)
Being able to see the weather is important—it’s hard to plan anything if you don’t know what the day will bring. There are plenty of great weather apps out there, but 1Weather is a top-notch option for anyone who wants to get the most out of their iPhone.
This app allows you to check the weather for any spot in the country (and even around the world), as well as view up-to-the-minute radar data. It’s free with no ads, which is always good. But it also has some nice features that make it worth paying a couple bucks for: an animated radar map, a glance at hourly and daily forecasts, and optional push notifications for severe weather alerts. You can even set it up so that when you wake your phone, it automatically refreshes the screen with current conditions. The app is simple and easy to use, but packed with useful features that will help you plan your day perfectly.
Besides its clean design and intuitive interface, what really sets 1Weather apart from other apps is its beautiful background images—photos taken by professional photographers around the world. There are hundreds of different views every day, ranging from serene landscapes to cityscapes to striking sunsets.
The forecast tab is organized by hour of the day and it shows the temperature, weather conditions, and an hourly forecast. Swiping to the right shows maximum temperatures at various times throughout the day. You can easily view precipitation radar, or check out the local conditions with a five-day forecast. You can choose between several different locations and customize each location to show only what’s important such as temperature, wind speed, humidity, etc.
The app automatically updates when you open it so you’re always aware of what’s going on outside. 1Weather also includes its own flashlight for when you need to find your keys in a dark room or walk down a dark street. The app displays current battery life percentage so that you know if you have enough juice left in your phone to get through an emergency situation.
In addition to all of these features, you can purchase a subscription to 1Weather Premium , which costs $9.99/year or $1.99/month (with a 7-day free trial). Premium gives you access to 10-day forecasts instead of the regular 48-hour ones, adds hourly forecasts for 48 additional hours instead of just 24, gives you access to more detailed air quality data such as AQI and pollen levels for your area, and removes all advertising from the app.
- Real-time local forecast
- Radar and weather maps
- Future and next day forecasts
- Temperature, humidity, wind speed informations
7. IQAir AirVisual
The IQAir AirVisual app is the perfect way to stay informed and take action against air pollution. This easy-to-use app is the most trusted and reliable source for real-time air quality information. It offers you multiple ways to stay informed, from a simple and clean home screen, to an interactive map of the world with details about your local air quality and nearby AQI stations, as well as the latest news from our blog.
After downloading the free AirVisual app, you will be able to access all of these features by simply going to “Air” in your main menu.
The home screen will display your location on a map along with a few key pieces of information about air quality, including:
- The current AQI in your region;
- The latest forecast for your area; and
- A brief topic summary on the current AQI situation in your city.
If you want to know more about what’s happening in your area or around the world, tap “AQI STATION” on the screen that appears when you first open the app.
Since the app can keep track of all your favorite locations, you can monitor the air quality around your current location at any time or anywhere you go. Each location has a clear-cut one-page display with an easy-to-understand graph that shows historic and real-time figures of key pollutants like PM2.5 & PM10, ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), benzene, lead (Pb), and more. The graph also displays the AQI for the day so you can quickly check if you need to take any special precautions.
8 Yahoo Weather (Android, iOS: Free)
Yahoo! Weather is a simple and informative app that gives you real-time weather information for your local area—and for much more than just your local area, if you’re willing to pay. (It’s free.) But even though it doesn’t cost anything, Yahoo! Weather has a lot to offer:
Yahoo! Weather has current conditions, hourly and daily forecasts, precipitation amounts, and severe weather warnings. It also lets you save locations to easily compare the weather in different places. A handy chart at the bottom of the screen shows you how far away rain is, with blue bars representing the cloud cover and white bars showing the amount of precipitation. I’ve also liked that it shows me sunrise and sunset times for my location; having those times at my fingertips makes planning for days when I’m out of town a lot easier.
The only major downside to this app is its lack of customization: You can’t change any of the default settings or do much of anything besides see the current forecast. You can’t add or remove any cities or locations from your list, which can make finding information about places you don’t live in difficult.
Overall, Yahoo! Weather is full of useful information about the weather—information that’s easy to access when you need it most.
Download Yahoo Weather: Android
9. AccuWeather (Android, iOS: Free)
AccuWeather provides 24-hour forecasts in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, as well as weekly and monthly weather forecasts. You can add up to seven locations, so you can keep track of weather across the country or wherever you might be going on vacation.
In addition to the usual conditions like temperature and visibility, you can also get reports on UV index, barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, sunrise and sunset times, dew point, moonrise and moonset times, current phase of the moon (and where it will rise from or set) and much more. You can even add custom alerts for when conditions reach your preset thresholds—for example, if it’s about to start raining in your area or if the temperature is about to drop below freezing.
The ” MinuteCast ” feature tells you how much it’s going to rain in the next 60 minutes and whether it will be sunny or cloudy, so you know what to wear and what to pack as you head out the door.
The app shows you local radar and temperature maps so you can see where rain, snow, sleet, or hail is falling.
It gives you real-time updates on current conditions, such as wind speed and visibility.
It tracks changes in barometric pressure that signal storms are coming.
It gives you alerts about severe weather in your area, so you can take shelter if necessary.
All of these features add up to help make this a great tool for winter safety.
The app’s main interface is a home screen that features a five-day forecast, a radar map, and a list of locations for which you can set multiple weather-related alerts. The forecast for each city is displayed in a large font, with the temperature and conditions taking up the most real estate. Below this are three lines of text: “Feels like,” “Highs/Lows,” and “Chance of precipitation.”
The radar map is also pretty straightforward—it’s represented by a large circle with an animated line that indicates wind speed as well as the distance to any current precipitation. The map allows users to zoom in and out using the standard gestures. The map is color-coded and shaded to indicate different types of precipitation, so if you’re looking at it while there’s snow falling in your area, it’ll be easy to tell where exactly those flakes are coming down.
The app’s settings menu lets users change what they see on the home screen. This can be useful if you want to get a more detailed view of one location or another without switching screens, or if you want your radar map to appear larger on your phone’s screen. In this menu, users can also choose from a number of city locations for which they can set alerts.