If you spend any amount of time outside you’ve probably used at least one weather site to view the current temperature and possibly a weather radar image. Even if you haven’t purchased any of the add-on programs that perform this function, the iPhone has a built in basic weather tool that shows the predicted high and low temperatures for the day. What the built-in application lacks is weather radar. By looking at a live weather map you can often predict whether the showers that have been forecast for your area are imminent or still a few hours away. While contemplating purchasing an iPhone weather radar app in iTunes for $9.99, I stumbled across iWeather – which is free and runs via your iPhone web browser linking you to the NOAA weather station radar maps and condition reports.
One thing that’s odd about this site is that not every state is listed. I found that my state, Connecticut, is missing. However I believe that is because the weather radar for Connecticut is served from either neighboring New York or Massachusetts.
Another oddity is the absence of forecasts. The NOAA.GOV site publishes text forecasts for nearly all geographic regions. It’s too bad that these detailed forecasts aren’t included as a menu choice.
To view weather maps for all states you may have to select a neighboring area if your state is tiny or doesn’t have a radar facility within the state. This doesn’t seem to be a huge issue though because the neighboring state’s have very broad radar coverage. In my instance both the New York and Massachusetts radar overlap Connecticut which gives me a good picture of the CT weather map.
Once you zero in on the state, select the type of weather radar that you would like to view. This is all served from the NOAA weather servers.
Here’s one of the weather radar images. Notice that you can “pinch zoom” to move the image and enlarge it over the area that you’re interested in. Here I’ve taken the Boston image and enlarged it to show Connecticut.
You can view the current weather conditions from the reporting station. Unfortunately there is no forecast – this is all current weather reporting (it would be nice if the site could include the official NOAA forecast text).
iWeathr is a free web app. The developer’s blog states that a free standlone version is coming but that the feature set will likely remain the same in each version.
Before you spend $9.99 for a weather radar app, check out this free one and also be sure to look at the NOAA site where you can get free forecasts for your area.