My dad was a genuine weather geek. He bought an antique barometric pressure gauge and hung it prominently on a hallway wall in our home. He’d sit in the breakfast room for what seemed like hours, listening to updates on his weather radio. If a hurricane happened to be brewing and he wasn’t at work, I pretty much knew where to find him.
C.W. Martin passed away in 1993. But oh man, would he have loved Weather HD 2, an iOS weather app optimized for both iPhone and iPad. The software is slick, informative, and fun to use.
I tested version 2.0.0 of the $1 app. A free version is also available. The difference between the two apps: The free version includes ads and doesn’t let you track weather in an unlimited number of cities, receive push notifications for severe weather alerts or use the MultiForecast feature.
The MultiForecast feature collects data from Weather Underground, which is the default service, as well as from AccuWeather (for an additional $1 per year) or MeteoGroup (for an additional $2 per year), a European weather service. And a unique color-coding feature shows you when temperature forecasts from each of the services differ by more than three degrees.
Weather HD 2 features new weather animations, such as moving clouds and blowing blades of grass. They’re pretty to look at but don’t really add any value, and other apps, including Weather+ ($1 for iOS), have similar animations.
The 3D weather maps are Weather HD 2’s coolest feature. You can see all the cities you’re tracking on a globe, which you can rotate and pinch to zoom. A thermometer icon lets you see a heat map, a precipitation icon shows where it’s raining, and a Twitter icon displays weather-related topics people are tweeting about. The tweets are just a few minutes old, and they’re updated automatically on the map.
Weather HD 2 also lets you see the current temps for places where your Facebook friends are located and share your own. Another feature I appreciate: Weather HD 2 automatically syncs the cities you track on multiple iOS devices.
Plenty of other great weather apps for mobile devices are also available, of course. One of my favorites is the Weather Channel’s free app for Android and iOS, which provides 10-day forecasts and easy-to-read, graphical forecasts, among other things.
All this weather information for free, or just a buck, is amazing. My father would’ve loved it.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.