Regularly checking the weather forecast is one of the great joys of owning a smartphone. After all, I’m British and cognizance of the weather is necessary for polite interaction with the rest of the society.
Plus, it’s a lot more fun than looking out of the window.
However, judging by the number of weather apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, Britain is not the only nation obsessed with the weather.
There are localised weather apps for countries as far flung as Hong Kong, Australia, Estonia, Thailand, Canada and many more.
Different but the same
Actually, most weather apps allow you to choose several locations so that you can keep an eye on forecasts in cities all over the world, whether there is a local app or not.
Other common features shared by many of the apps include:
- Snapshot of the current day’s weather
- The day’s maximum and minimum day/night temperature
- Long-range forecasts
- Choice between Fahrenheit and Celsius
- Wind speeds
- UV index forecasts
- Sunrise and sunset times
- Weather maps
- Live Tile customisation
With so many apps to choose from, how do you choose the best one? Ultimately, a lot of that will come down to personal preference.
Here though are some weather apps with some unique and unusual features; or maybe it’s an app that does one thing very, very well that makes it stand out from the others.
So, while the sun is shining, here is a recipe for an ultimate weather app for your Nokia Lumia.
This is one of the most popular weather apps in Marketplace and is comprehensive enough to satisfy even the greatest meteorological anorak.
It claims to have a proprietary weather forecasting system that gives more realistic temperature readings because it takes into account multiple and local weather factors.
Other elements include animated maps, such as radar and satellite maps, and severe weather alarms.
Hottest feature: You can store up to seven locations, including your current GPS position, but handily you can give them all nicknames. So, perhaps if the name of a particular city doesn’t resonate with you, you can store it by the name of a friend that lives there.
The Weather Channel supports live tiles, easy sharing on Facebook or by email and has a nice interactive map.
Hottest feature: Fittingly, for something called the Weather Channel, this app lets you watch local, national and global weather video bulletins.
Beach Weather Tiles
An accurate weather forecast is never more crucial than when you are heading off on a beach holiday.
Rather than a mass audience, this app is very much targeting beach-bound holidaymakers.
It’s no mere repackaging job either. As well as general weather conditions, this gives you information about wind speeds, wave sizes and the tides of popular beaches around the world.
Hottest feature: Weather app nirvana for beach bums.
This isn’t so much an app that tells you what the forecast is, but rather helps to explain why the weather is the way it is.
Weather Satellite provides the very latest images for clouds and winds taken from orbiting satellites.
Hottest feature: The zoom feature lets you do just that and you can also move the maps around.
On the face of it, StormGlass is a rather limited weather app compared to some of its competitors. There’s nothing remotely fancy like radar maps, weather warnings or video bulletins.
What you have instead is what the vast majority of people want: A simple interface that shows them what the weather will be like today and for the next few days.
This works fantastically well with Live Tiles. Once you’ve set up your locations, all of which you can pin to start screen, you won’t need to launch the app again.
Hottest feature: Best use of customised Live Tiles. You can choose the style of graphics you want and the amount information that you want displayed.
World Weather Free
Like the AccuWeather and Weather Channel offerings, this is another all-singing, all-dancing, all-the-weather-information-that-you-could-possibly-need sort of app.
This has a whole range of maps, 36 hour or 7 day forecasts, weather cams, Live Tile options and save as many locations that you like.
Hottest feature: Get information for your favourite activities and their associated locations. For example, set up weather alerts for the river where you go fishing, or the park where you go running.
This is not really a weather app at all, but it would be a quirky feature to add to any of the other apps featured on this page.
Using the difference between the speed of sound and the speed of light, it calculates the distance of the lightning from where you are. Tap when you see the lightning, tap again when you hear the thunder.
Remember learning this in school?
Hottest feature: OK, it’s only got the one feature but it’s simple interactive fun. Comes in particularly handy on the golf course.
Several other apps include the phases of the moon as well but Lunar Phase takes it onto a whole new, er, orbit.
Not only can you see the phases of the moon and what times it will rise and set in the future, but you can also look back on dates in history. Also offers sunset and sunrise times.
Hottest feature: If selenology is your thing, then you’ll be over the moon with this app.
All the apps make a big deal about their global coverage, but this one puts that concept to best use with its simple interface.
Rather than inputting a location or scrolling through a A-Z list, just look for it on the map and tap. Up pops the current weather with a five day forecast.
Hottest feature: Best use of interactive maps.
How many times have you heard a weather forecaster say that it is hotter or colder than normal for this time of year?
Weather Stats lets you discover the monthly weather records and averages for more than 26,820 cities in 250 countries worldwide. The databases, provided by weatherbase.com, are updated every quarter.
Hottest feature: Integrates with Bing local search so you can generate weather reports for your area with a single click.
What’s your favourite weather app?
image credit: Mike Deal