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NOAA Hi-Def Radar iOS app for iPhone and iPad provides a more detailed view of current and recent weather based on radar images of rain, snow, and hail. It’s a must-have weather app for every iPhone owner.

The problem with the built-in Apple weather app for iPhone is that it only provides static forecasts, highs and lows, a chance of rain or snow. When I’m about to embark on a trip where weather is important, particularly out into the mountains, I turn to NOAA Hi-Def Radar on my iPhone or iPad. NOAA Hi-Def Radar is $1.99 and available in the Apple iOS App Store.

Why Use NOAA Hi-Def Radar for Your iPhone Weather App?

NOAA Hi-Def Radar shows near real-time animated weather radar images on a map so I can see if it’s raining at my destination. Plus, I can see if it had been raining an hour ago. So how does it work?

It’s easy. All you have to do is zoom into the map on the app and you’ll start seeing green blobs moving over the surface — as long as it’s raining, of course. The green blogs represent the radar image of rain. The darker the green, the heavier the rain. And snow? Snow is shown by a sickly light blue color. If you get into yellows, orange, red, and hot pink, you’ve got a seriously wicked storm on your hands.

The animation shows a snapshot of the radar image an hour ago, 40 minutes ago, 20 minutes ago, 10 minutes ago, and five minutes ago — approximately. The default loop speed is pretty fast, but you can slow it down so you can zoom into the area you want to check out. For instance, the first time I used the app, it had been raining all morning and we were going huckleberry picking up in the mountains. Had it been raining in the mountains over our favorite huckleberry patch? A little or a lot? NOAA Hi-Def Radar showed that while there was scattered rain, there wasn’t much, and there wasn’t a big green blob showering the area. So we went. And sure, the brush was wet, but we didn’t get stuck in a muddy mess of a road getting there, either.

Standard weather apps for iPhone and iPad simply don’t come close to offering this sort of specialized weather information.

On another occasion, I was in Boise, then heading to a new camping spot 150 miles away north of McCall. I talked to a friend back home around Moscow and Lewiston, who told me about a bunch of nasty windstorms, rain, and baseball-sized hail. The sky was clear where I was, so I fired up NOAA Hi-Def Radar, and boom, I could see storms all over, along with flood and severe thunderstorm warnings.

Storm warnings, by the way, are tappable polygons on the map. If you download and install the app, you can zoom all around the United States until you find a storm warning to see what I mean. On this day, the polygon storm warnings were scattered all over Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Big storm system. But around McCall? Sunny and clear. So we headed out camping and had a great time.

All-in-all, this visual weather app for your iPhone is worth $1.99. So buy it, install it, and when you’re wondering what’s happening on the road ahead, use it to take a look.

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