How many times do you check the weather forecast on your phone? If you haven’t made it a habit, you should.
I check the weather forecast plenty of times before planning a tour or a business meeting. Some may see it as obsessive, but this habit saved me from a lot of trouble of rescheduling afterward.
I don’t just search up on google and get the forecast from anywhere. For this, I have a list of the best weather radar website that I selected through long-time observations.
Fortunately, the options are ever-increasing. I don’t have to rely on only the national weather service anymore. I thought, why not share the top weather sites and apps with everyone. I’m sure it’ll be of great help to someone out there.
How Reliable Are Weather Forecasts?
Weather forecasts are amazingly accurate and reliable. But only if you follow the best weather websites.
Since we can’t extract information from the future, we have to resort to predictions. But those predictions are based on scientific methods and properties.
It’s not to say that forecasts are never wrong. However, there is a lesser chance of misreading the weather with the modern techniques of predicting the weather.
Only in the instances of sudden and abnormal weather changes, the weather predictions may not work.
If you wish to know how the weather forecasts are made, then hop over to the national weather service. They are the standard when it comes to weather forecasting.
A short answer: The closer the forecast to your intended date, the more accurate it will be. According to NOAA, forecasts are reliable for up to 7 days.
It’s 80% correct if it’s for 7 days, it’s 90% correct if it’s for 5 days. If a forecast is made 10 days before, it’s only half right most of the time.
12 Best Weather Radar Apps and Websites List
I’ve made a list of weather sites that I follow. So, you can follow them as well. There are weather forecast websites that provide free services and some sites that provide paid services.
You’ll know if it’s worth paying for the extra services or not. Below, I’ve written an overview for each to know what you should be expecting.
I think the first choice was obvious. The National Weather Service’s website has been the default forecasting website for a decade. And since I last looked it up, it improved its design and website navigation a lot.
The website is free to use for all. It provides radar data regularly. Although it’s not as dynamic as I’d have liked, but that also makes it quite reliable all the time since there’s less maintenance to be done.
It’s got a newly updated interface that allows users to select their locations easily. The zooming in and out function makes it easier to pinpoint the exact location. It gets a plus point for being usable in both mobile and desktop computers.
It also shows animations and other radar data in graphic media as additional perks. You can also view the velocity of rainfall and wind.
With all those positives, some faults do hold it down. For example, the resolution of the map is still not sharp enough, and it’s grainy. It’s not as pretty compared to other premium weather forecast websites.
And most of all, it only gives service for US locations despite having the world map on its website page. The fact that you can access all the data for free makes it one of the best weather channels for weather forecasts inside the USA.
- Free to use
- Easy to use
- Zoom in-out function
- Animations and graphical data
- Usable in all devices
- No app
- Only for USA locations
Never mind the position of it. I prefer the weather channel over the national weather service any day and every day of the week.
It’s better in every way, and so far, I haven’t seen it giving any wrong readings or wrong forecasts. And this website has its own smartphone app so that you can access their data on the go.
It has great features and a greater level of design and feature implementation. You can zoom out and zoom in quite smoothly.
If you think that’s impressive, wait till you try out their satellite zoom. It can take you down to street level and select the exact position you’re looking for. It’s on par with google earth’s satellite imagery service.
You can access radar data or see current weather conditions. From the radar data, you can see the movements of clouds as well as the velocity of wind and rainfall if it’s available.
However, what’s amazing is its future radar option which tries to predict the storm condition for the next 6 hours.
The only negative I could find is in the app. It makes the radar imagery too smooth, which can result in inaccurate results. You can choose the paid version for a more detailed image.
Overall, it has one of the best weather channels you could be subscribed to.
- Impressive interface
- Future radar prediction
- You can zoom down to street level
- Shows weather data through animation
- The free app makes the radar imagery too smooth
- You have to pay for better-detailed imagery
There are apps for laypeople, and there are apps for pros. And Windy.com is one of those pro weather forecast websites for professionals who need every bit of detail as they can for their plans ahead. One look at this website should tell you everything.
The name says it, it’s best for taking wind velocity data along with wind patterns.
When you visit the website, the first thing it hits you with is a world map. You can zoom in and zoom out to a district level.
Using your IP address, the system will pinpoint your location and give you all the data for free. There is a premium version, but that won’t be required in most cases.
A beautiful animation shows where the winds and clouds are moving. It shows the amount of rainfall in each area.
Truthfully, it’s one of the top weather forecasting websites out there. It gives a pretty good overall image of the weather around the world. And you’ll also get it in a smartphone app available in the Playstore and AppStore.
- Excellent interface
- Detailed graphical presentation of the radar data
- Learn forecasts through weather model data
- You can layer different radar data on top of another
- You need to give some time to learn how the website works
- Weather data can be 5+ minutes old
This is one of the most used websites for weather forecasts. AccuWeather has so many things in store for you for free. It does a lot more than just give you its radar data. You can access weather forecasts going up to 15 days and a predictive model to forecast the weather condition.
Although the predictive model can go only up to 3 hours, unlike the weather channel, it has the best free weather radar app, in my opinion. You’re getting everything from radar data, rainfall, air quality index, and wind velocity, etc.
The animation on there is not as good as it’s on windy.com, but it does well to deliver what you want.
There is no learning curve since the website, and the app has a very simple interface. User interaction is simple, with everything being labeled clearly. You can zoom in and out as you wish.
However, you should know that the map does not update constantly. Frankly, it does make it light for mobile devices.
One thing I really appreciate about AccuWeather is its allergy outlook feature. This section will let you know the allergens present in the air along with the air quality.
However, the radar images on the app don’t have a very high resolution. For me, that isn’t a deal-breaker.
- Access to all kinds of radar data
- Allergy outlook feature
- It has a predictive future radar model
- Good User interface
- Light on mobile devices
- Low radar image resolution
- Only 3 hours of future radar model
The Wunground weather website, short for Weather Underground, is an excellent provider service if you’re looking for radar data as well as information on hyperlocal weather. This site contains the biggest collection of weather stations in the world.
They’ve put this collected data on the map. With the radar, you get a much better picture of the total weather condition at a specific location of your choice.
That being said, it might seem too complex if you don’t need the current weather information as local weather reporters do. Extra information might get in the way if you’re looking for something simpler. In that case, I would suggest you follow the weather channel instead.
Since the weather channel has taken over Wunderground and its resources, there is no fundamental difference between the two’s weather data and forecasts.
I think that unless you need the continuously updated current hyperlocal weather data, the weather channel website and app are better options.
And that also means that the limitations of weather channel transfer onto Wunderground. For example, the radar imagery on its free app is smoothened out too much, just like the weather channel app.
- Provides hyperlocal weather data
- It has a better collection of personal weather stations
- Performs the same as the weather channel
- Fit for professional stage
- Too smooth radar imagery on the app
This is another websites for getting weather data that I find visiting once in a while. If I were to compare, Weatherbug is a simpler version of Windy.
It can be a positive or a negative, depending on what you’re looking for. I admit that it’s not as famous as it was a few years back, but it’s still a good resource.
The WeatherBug website still offers the same services, including their hyperlocal weather reports. It still has those personal weather stations placed in homes, schools, and other institutions all over the world.
They have an app for your smartphones. It provides good weather information along with lightning data. And you’re getting it all for free.
Moreover, the radar imagery on its app is better than what you find even on the weather channel’s app. It’s still smooth but better nonetheless.
It does have a paid weather radar app with a bit better-detailed imagery and data. I still recommend that you stick with the free app despite the ads.
The functions and options on the website can be a bit hard to understand. If you find it hard, don’t worry.
Just keep hitting the options to see what each does, and you’ll know how it works. Well, that’s what I did when I first used the site. The app is much easier to use.
- Provides all the basic weather information you need
- Lightning data is included
- Free app with better imagery
- Light on smartphones
- The design feels outdated
The World Weather Online is one of the most user-friendly weather forecasting websites. It has a comprehensive weather report system that covers the whole world.
Although it doesn’t have an app for iOS and android systems, it can easily be accessed from either device. The formatting is done quite well for mobile devices.
Your location is automatically selected by the site. It can’t get into a street-level accuracy like the weather channel. But it’s accurate enough to select your area.
When your location is selected, you’ll be presented with the details of your atmosphere and overall weather conditions.
Among the data that the site provides are wind velocity, rainfall amount, cloud, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and a general weather forecast for the next 10 days.
There’s no animated weather forecast or current weather report as the more premium websites and apps. But that’s not required by most users anyway. I think the simpler it is, the easier it is to use.
One thing you should know is that the data on this website doesn’t change dynamically at each moment. The data might be older than 5 minutes or more in many cases.
- Simpler to use
- Gives 10 days of the weather forecast
- Provides all the basic weather information in a graphical manner
- Historical weather data
- No animation
When you see Ventusky's website, you get reminded of the Windy weather service. It's eerily similar. And that's not bad since Windy is one of the top recommended weather forecasting sites. So, this is a great alternative.
It also has a live map that's constantly updating. You can choose any location on the map or by typing out the location on the search bar. Depending on what parameter you're selecting, the animation will change immediately and display animation.
They've updated the site's features so much that it's pretty much the same as Windy. It shows all kinds of weather data and atmospheric data such as wind speeds, apparent temperature, cloud movement, air pressure, snow condition, air quality, and whatnot.
You can change the animation settings to make it easier to read. This customization option allows you to isolate or emphasize specific data. For example, you can increase or decrease the motion speed, streamline thickness, and the number of streamlines, etc.
However, the weather data is not going to be the most time-accurate. You'll get data delayed by minutes or hours. But it's free to download in both Playstore and AppStore. So, I can't complain too much about it.
- Shows all kinds of data
- Impressive animation
- Free to use
- Focuses on wind data
- Delayed weather updates
NOAA, short for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a part of the National Weather Service. Their operation is much broader than the original organization. The name says it. They also monitor the situation in the ocean and how the atmosphere is affecting it.
They have an app for both the android Playstore and Apple's AppStore. And it's freakishly good. It has tons of data ready to be served. It was one of our top recommendations until it started to shrink the amount of free data. For a paid app, it's still recommended.
You'll be getting all kinds of radar data from wind speed to rain velocity. Their forecasts are just as accurate as those from National Weather Service or The Weather Channel.
The radar imagery on this app is pretty sharp. It shows the amount of precipitation, and that helps during winter. You'll know where it's raining and where it's snowing.
But there are no severe weather alerts or lightning data for the free users. You'll have to get the premium version for that. Strangely, they included weather alerts in the paid service. Such a shame for a great app this is.
We're still keeping them on the list. But the number of users is getting thin.
- Provides enough data for free users
- All kinds of radar data are available
- Sharp radar imagery
- Smooth interface
- Weather alerts and lightning data are for paid users only
10. Dark Sky
Formerly known as the Forecast.IO, Dark Sky was and is one of the simplest weather forecasting services available. The app was so good that Apple bought it and made it an exclusive for Apple users. It has a web version as well.
On the web, you'll notice the minimal design they went for. There's a section for forecasts and a general presentation of the atmosphere. It'll provide you with wind speed, atmospheric pressure, Humidity, Visibility, and other things.
In terms of providing data, I admit that it's not as comprehensive as the National weather Service. However, this simplicity is what allowed this app to be so much user-friendly.
Even then, the animations on it are quite smooth and do well in presenting the information.
The best part about Dark Sky is it's always updated weather data policy. It's accurate almost down to the minute.
The good news for Apple users is that it's been in the process of being integrated as Apple's own app.
- Minimal design makes it light for your device
- One of the most accurate data provider
- Down-to-one-minute data update
- Smooth animations
- The app is paid and only for Apple users.
11. RadarScope App
If those weather forecasting websites and apps above don't appeal to you, you might be looking for something professional. In that case,
I have just the thing. The RadarScope is a professional premium service used mostly by Storm Chasers, a fancy name for storm researchers.
This app bought me with its quick updates. I haven't compared it with any other services. But it always gives you the latest data on every parameter you want.
You'll have access to data that the professionals use in their research especially hurricane hunter or air force, and no later than they receive the information as well. The app will also alert you with warnings that are rarely late.
There are quite a few packages for you to subscribe to. Pro Tier 1 gets you longer animations and lightning data. You'll also have inspection tools at your reserve. The Tier 2 package will add a few extra details, such as hail and shear.
For the price you're paying, only a 30-day radar archive is unfair if you ask me. Even without the Tiered options, this is a top recommendation if you're looking into paid forecasting services. However, most people won't be needing such features.
It's available both on android and iOS for $9.99. The more detailed version is available for Windows and Mac for $29.99
- Best radar app available
- No delay in update
- Clear radar imagery
- Delivers data for professional use
- It's paid
This is a premium weather app for Windows 10 users only. It's a paid app, but the amount is very negligible for those who need it. I loved the aesthetic of it. A fast and fluid app with an easy interface is what gathers the crowd. So, it is not for the professional.
It shows everything an average person needs in their day-to-day life. You're getting multiday forecasts. These are presented as weekly and hourly forecasts in graph form. "Meteogram" is what they call this graphic presentation.
There are no animations, however, which might be something you want. In that case, this is not going to suit you.
In terms of data, it's going to provide you with wind speeds, temperature, precipitation, pressure, and humidity.
The app's functionality is pretty limited. But the data is accurate. It's a crowd-pleaser with its customizable aesthetics.
- Easy to read interface
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Meteogram graphs
- Correct forecasts
- Paid app
- Might be too simplistic and limited for some
Top 7 Weather Apps and Website Comparison Table
Here’s a brief comparison between the 7 weather websites and apps,
National Weather Service
The Weather Channel
Location: USA, Canada, Australia
World Weather Online
Why Should You Follow Weather Forecasting Media Regularly?
The importance of following weather forecasting media can only be understood if one experiences themselves. Following weather forecasts can save you from a lot of trouble. It can help you plan your weekends so that you don’t need to postpone midway.
Checking forecasts before your travels should be taken seriously. You don’t want to get stranded somewhere in the middle when your flight gets canceled due to bad weather.
Forecasts can even save your life if you reside in any of the coastal areas. Getting notified of weather alerts can save lives and property.
In the bigger picture, following weather forecasts can give you a glimpse at the changing climate all over the world. This might not be everyone’s sport, but I do this personally. It can positively affect how you think about the world climate and its conditions.
No doubt, you’ll find a lot of weather forecasting services on the internet. But most of those are made to bank on ad services and less on providing service to the end-users. And that I find really annoying especially when the forecasts and reports aren’t accurate and taken from external sources.
That is why I put the National Weather Service as the best weather website. It’s 100% reliable and free to use.
However, since NWS doesn’t provide weather data for places outside the USA, I prefer the Weather Channel for worldwide coverage. You can choose AccuWeather as an alternative. There’s no practical difference between the two.
On the other hand, if you’re talking about professional weather reports for air and sea travel, I’d recommend the weather reports from Windy. It’s on a whole other level with animations and all kinds of radar data.