The best weather apps 2018 for up-to-the-minute forecasts

Stay one step ahead of the weather with these smart forecasting apps

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There’s no doubt that weather forecasting has come a long way, but many of us can count on one hand how many times a forecast prediction made a couple of days in advance has actually come into fruition. So, if you are in an area where it can change from sunny to torrential rain in a matter of minutes, what’s the easiest way to make sure we’re always prepared? A weather app. 

Weather apps continuously update their forecasts, whether it’s by the day, hour or minute, so we’re always one step ahead. They allow us to plan our day so whether we’re popping out for lunch, walking the dog, or heading to the shops, we can now do it when there’s the least chance of rain. 

Weather apps are like little pocket weather channels; they don’t just tell you when the sun’s going to shine and the rain is going to fall, they can tell us the wind speed, the UV level, humidity levels and even a ‘feels like’ temperature to account for the dreaded wind chill. 

We’ve done some research to clue you into the best weather apps for both iOS and Android devices that stand out from the rest. 

1. Dark Sky

Dark Sky or bright sunshine; find out with this detailed weather app

Specifications
Best for: Regularly updated forecasts
Available on: Android&iOS
In app purchases: No
Size: 19MB
Reasons to buy
+Precise location forecast+See weather systems on a radar 
Reasons to avoid
-Skinflints will be annoyed at having to pay for an app

When you think you’re safe to take the dog out for an hour, make sure you check in with Dark Sky to be certain, as it can give you a minute by minute breakdown of the next hour of weather so you have a heads up if there’s a chance of a brief shower. 

You can rely on the app for daily and weekly forecasts too, with updates as soon as the data changes so you’re clued into the up and coming weather schedule. In addition to weather symbols, you can take a look at the weather radar to check if there’s a storm cloud coming your way.

2.AccuWeather

The guys at AccuWeather meant what they said when they named the company

Specifications
Best for: Minute by minute forecast
Available on: Android&iOS
In app purchases: Yes
Size: 201.6MB
Reasons to buy
+Hyper localised weather forecasts+Minute by minute forecasts
Reasons to avoid
-Takes up a fair amount of memory 

With it’s MinuteCast minute by minute forecast giving you detailed information on the next 2 hours of weather, you have plenty of heads up to plan your morning or afternoon around the forecast, and, if there is going to be rain, it’ll give you a start and end time so you can plan micro-tasks too.  

As with our first pick, you can also view radar and satellite imagery to see weather systems on a larger scale, great if there’s storms forecast. As with all weather apps, you can see a short term forecast too, with AccuWeather promising they give the most accurate of them all!

3. Met Office

Detailed forecast from the head of UK weather forecasting

Specifications
Best for: Detailed information
Available on: Android&iOS
In app purchases: Yes
Size: 112.9MB
Reasons to buy
+Includes a ‘feels like’ temperature+Pollen updates
Reasons to avoid
-Forecast not minute by minute 

The Met Office weather app goes beyond standard forecasting to bring you even more detailed updates that may or may not affect your day. For example, those who have a pollen allergy may be interested to learn that the app details the pollen count throughout the day. 

With additional details including sunrise and sunset times, air pollution and the UV index, there’s all the information for a full forecast for the outside world. The bonus feature is the ‘feels like’ temperature, which considers the windchill factor so you can head out in the best clothes to keep you comfortable. 

4. BBC Weather

The go-to for simple yet informative forecasting

Specifications
Best for: Detailed information
Available on: Android&iOS
In app purchases: No
Size: 71.7MB
Reasons to buy
+All the data you need on one screen+Option to opt out of location accuracy
Reasons to avoid
-Not as detailed as some forecasting apps 

Simple yet effective, this app gives you all the information you need at a glance, so you can keep up with the weather on the go. Delve a little deeper into the app, though, and you can find hourly forecasting information for the next two weeks, although you may find only the main towns and cities in your area have this feature. 

While it may not provide as much information as other apps, it’s incredibly easy to use, which is great for the not so tech savvy. Some people aren’t comfortable with apps knowing their precise location, so you can turn the option off and have it display the weather for your nearest town or city instead. 

5. The Weather Channel

A weather app that brings you the usual, plus some pretty cool features

Specifications
Best for: Severe weather information
Available on: Android&iOS
In app purchases: No
Size: 147.9MB
Reasons to buy
+Hurricane feature and radar maps+Features a 6 minute weather show each morning
Reasons to avoid
-More suited to an American audience 

With features including Hurricane Central and “The Lift” 6 minute morning show, this app brings you more than just a weather update. Combining Hurricane Central and radar updates, you can monitor severe weather, great if you’re travelling to high risk areas in the right season. 

“The Lift” is a full feature programme that covers breaking weather updates, science and nature clips - a pretty cool way to start the day- and there’s even a GoRun feature, which will let you know the best time to do your daily exercise.  

It still features all the must-haves, including an hourly, daily and weekly forecast and a ‘feels like’ temperature so you can go out feeling comfortable. 

6. Haze

A interface with both a simple and complex information layers

Specifications
Best for: Severe weather information
Available on: Android&iOS
In app purchases: No
Size: 147.9MB
Reasons to buy
+Tilt and slide navigation+Swipe to temperature 
Reasons to avoid
-5 day forecast a little simple 

When some weather apps give you more information than you may need, this app gives you a glimpse on the go. It’s made more interesting by the interactive interface, which uses a swipe motion to reveal temperature, sunshine hours and rain chance. 

Slide down, and you can see the 5 day weather forecast, click through further, and you can reach detailed weather information including high and low temperatures, windchill, wind speed, humidity etc. While it doesn’t have a week or fortnightly view that other apps have, the detail that it does provide is beautifully presented to give users a far more refined experience.