Rainfall is one of the most useful pieces of information to know about the weather. Rather than “it will rain sometime today,” get weather forecasts more like “heavy rain starting in five minutes, for the next 45 minutes.”
Weather apps and websites are a dime a dozen. Most of them will tell you whether it’ll be sunny, cloudy, or rainy on any given day. iPhone users have long loved Dark Sky, but the same information is available via a website and Android apps.
On the Web – Forecast.io
On the web, forecast.io is an excellent website for finding this information. Give it your exact physical location — down to a street address, not just an entire city — and it’ll provide forecasts for your area.
Rather than a few icons with information about the average weather each day, you’ll see a forecast for the next hour, next 24 hours, and next week. You can drill down and look at each weekday to see the projected precipitation for each day and click to see exactly when in the day the forecast projects it’ll rain.
Forecast.io doesn’t use existing weather services like Weather Channel or the other services that power many similar apps. Instead, it aggregates data from a variety of raw data sources.
On iPhone – Dark Sky
Dark Sky is a paid app, yes, but it’s also arguably on of the best apps for iPhones. Dark Sky features an app with the same information as the forecast.io website — they use the same weather service — and a Today view widget so you can glance at the weather by swiping down from the top of your screen.
But it also features notifications, which can be very useful. Set your preferred notification level — any rain, light rain, moderate rain, or heavy rain — and Dark Sky will send you a notification when it’s about to rain soon. Those notifications often seem eerily accurate, and they let you know when you might want to leave somewhere and avoid the impending precipitation.
On Android – Arcus Weather or atmosHere Weather
An official Dark Sky for Android hasn’t appeared yet, but that’s fine. Android users can access the mobile version of the forecast.io website, which does display the weather, but there are now third-party apps that have access to the same forecast.io data.
The forecast.io website lists a variety of third-party apps. Android users can choose between the free Arcus Weather and the paid atmosHere Weather. These apps work similarly to Dark Sky on an iPhone, offering the same up-to-the-minute data and similar notifications from the forecast.io service. They’re the closest thing you can get to Dark Sky for Android, as they use the same data.
Other apps are also available — the list of third-party apps at forecast.io even lists a Windows Phone app.
Of course, this isn’t the only weather service out there, and other services offer theoretically similar features. For example, you can just go to Google and search for “weather [city]” to see projected weather for a city, including projected rainfall levels for the hours of every day. But your average weather service doesn’t offer up-to-the-minute information like this.
But other services don’t offer the notifications and by-the-minute forecasts we’ve found Dark Sky and forecast.io do.