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Weather tools in your pocket

Weather tools in your pocket

Smartphone apps have become a go-to tool for tracking an important factor impacting your farm.

Weather has been the bane, and boon, of agriculture since the first hunter-gatherer tried planting a few seeds to see what would happen. Today, more is known about the weather and its causes, but that has not diminished the grower’s desire to know what’s happening to a growing crop.

A big change in weather monitoring is the rising use of mobile apps, and an early leader in in-depth, online weather information has capitalized on this phenomenon. Weather Underground, a privately held company based in San Francisco, has two popular smartphone apps: WunderMap and WunderStation. Find them at

“People really want to dig deeper into the weather, and the ag market was one of the key constituencies behind the development of our mobile apps,” explains Jim Menard, a meteorologist and senior vice president and general manager of Weather Underground.

According to Menard, WunderMap was introduced in 2013 and WunderStation last summer. He says both apps have been well-received thanks to features that are bolstered by real-time data collected from more than 100,000 weather-monitoring stations. WunderMap gives users a “contextual view of where the weather is, and where it has been,” while WunderStation is more climate-oriented and provides “graphs and statistics on a variety of weather-related measurements.”

Menard believes this is only the beginning when it comes to technology and weather monitoring. “Over the next decade, a variety of new technology sources will become available, which will increase the amount of observations we have to track weather,” says Menard, who sees a day when growers will be able to get real-time, weather-related data from multiple devices integrated throughout their entire operation.

And with more data being added, Menard says better forecast models will be possible.

Here’s a look at a few other apps you may want to consider downloading to your phone to track weather:

  • The Weather Channel ( This app provides a wealth of meteorological data — everything from temperature and wind speed to visibility measurements and extended forecasts. Interactive maps and access to Doppler radar data are also part of the service.
  • WeatherBug ( This app gives users fast, targeted alerts of dangerous weather, accurate forecast data, interactive maps and more, all localized through GPS.
  • 1Weather ( This app provides real-time conditions, as well as a variety of predictions and forecasts — all in a nice visual package. Radar maps, severe weather alerts, sunrise and sunset indicators, and more are available.
  • Weather Decision Technologies ( RadarScope, Weather Radio and HailSpot are three mobile apps offered by this company that provide users with high-end tracking and monitoring capabilities.
  • Yahoo! Weather ( A winner of an Apple Design Award, this app is both informative and aesthetically appealing because it displays images of your location with matching time of day and weather conditions.
  • AccuWeather ( This app provides hourly, daily and 15-day forecasts, which can be integrated with your calendar. You can even create minute-by-minute hyper-forecasts for two-hour periods.

Yontz writes from Urbandale, Iowa.

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