Weather apps for your smartphone

Northeast Alabama’s last few weeks have been typical of Southern winter: freezing in the morning, okay at noon, winter storms threatening to swoop in from the north, delaying schools and whipping up milk and bread buying frenzies. Keeping up can be confusing.

There’s always been the option of watching the Weather Channel, but we live in a brave new world of technological wonder, and if we’re going to have miniature computers that receive signals from space in our pockets, we had pretty well ought to use them to keep track of Mother Nature’s latest mood swings. Here are a few of the apps we think you’ll enjoy for keeping track of the weather:

James Spann 24/7; iOS, Android

If there is a local lord of weather, it’s James Spann, and Mr. Spann now has his very own app courtesy of ABC 33/40, featuring live connections to his Facebook and Twitter feeds, updates on his speaking schedule and ways to submit weather photos to him. He’s an active reporter on social media, so if you’re looking for up-to-the-minute updates on local weather, this is a solid choice.

AccuWeather; iOS, Android

Created by the meteorology media company of the same name, AccuWeather is a solid choice of weather app, with local weather that includes a rolling two-hour forecast that will let you know what to expect when you’re about to head to work or are off to pick up the kids from school. The app features live, animated weather radar for watching the paths of oncoming storms, and will push severe weather notifications even when you’re not in the app to keep surprises at a minimum.

The Weather Channel; iOS, Android

As you might expect, the Weather Channel app is loaded with information, featuring sunrise and sunset, humidity, even the UV index. Fortunately, the app contains all of this in a simple interface that gives an at-a-glance weather update, with the option to dig deeper for the rare few that need to know the air pressure. Also features radar and push notifications, and the option to report local conditions so other users of the app in your area will be better informed.

RadarScope; iOS, Android

If you want a serious business weather app meant for meteorologists and weather enthusiasts, this is your huckleberry. RadarScope takes NEXRAD radar and info from the National Weather Service to give users a direct feed to nationwide weather radar, and includes updates on esoteric terminology like dual polarization and reflectivity. It’s definitely not for quick glances to find out the temperature, but if you want to be ahead of winter storms (or just about any other weather phenomena) this is the way to go.

Swackett; iOS, Android

Of all the apps mentioned, this is the only one that aims to be cute, with “peeps” that look like stick people (think of the little men and women on restroom signs) who appear in clothes that match the weather for the day. Cold days get boots and jackets, warm days are sandals and shorts. It’s a bit twee on the surface, but the app also includes a full range of forecasting information. There’s also a confusingly large emphasis on lifestyle, health and entertainment sections, however, which doesn’t really fit with the weather. If you’re looking for something functional and silly, Swackett is a popular choice.

Trent Penny, chief photographer for The Anniston Star and admitted “weather geek”, did a roundup of his favorite weather apps a couple years ago during spring storm season. Click here to see Trent Penny’s favorite weather apps.