Big Systems

Forecast.io

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The best weather site for everyday use

Forecast.io is simply the best weather site for everyday use. It presents you with the weather information you need in a simple, elegant, natural way.

If you’re like me, all you want from your forecast is some intelligence for daily decision-making. If I ride my bike to work this morning, will I have to contend with rain on the ride home? If I go out tonight, will I be home before the snow starts? If I dress warmly this morning, will I be sweating by noon?

It’s surprisingly difficult to get answers to these questions on major weather websites. The information is there, but it’s buried under superfluous information, and locked behind location searches – and once you find the actual forecast for your location, you have to parse the raw data into something that helps you plan your day (or your weekend).

Most weather websites seem designed for either weather nerds (the folks interested in barometric pressure trends, and what the sky is doing on the other side of the country), or are attempting to compete with infotainment sites (Top 10 weather pics from the Polar Vortex!). Even on the most advanced sites, you’re several clicks and keystrokes away from finding out how you should dress tomorrow.

Forecast.io is different. After allowing it to access your location, you’ll know the three most valuable pieces of weather information: What it’s doing right now, what’s going to happen in the next hour, and what’s going to happen in the next 24 hours. Scroll down and you’ll get a 10-day forecast.

All of this information is presented in concise, natural language. For example, rather than arcane numbers and figures, Forecast.io says: “Light snow (under 1 inch) until this afternoon”. More detailed information is available in a click, if you want to know exactly *when* the snow will start, or exactly what the temperature is going to be for your walk home.

The Forecast.io desktop site is great, and the mobile version shines as well. There’s a $3.99 IOS app called Dark Sky that will alert you to precipitation, but the mobile site works flawlessly (at least on IOS) for free.

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-- Greg Park 12/24/14