At AY, we're constantly checking the weather, whether we're prepping our weekend sailing class lesson plan or just deciding whether to eat out on the patio at our favorite Mexican place. With improved prediction algorithms and radar resolution, weather prediction has never been more accurate. Still, it's impossible to say exactly when you'll get wet until you actually feel those first drops, so we check several apps to make the best guess we can. So the next time you see dark clouds over the western horizon, you can be sure all of us in the office and on the water are constantly switching between these apps.
RadarCast ($2.99 iOS/Android)
This app does one thing very well. It combines up-to-the-minute ground radar and satellite data to give you a continous loop of past present and projected future preciptiation. It also shows the precise locations of lighting strikes, so you know when it's time to head for shore.
Dark Sky ($3.99 iOS/Free for Android)
Only care if it's going to rain exactly where you're standing? Dark Sky is exceptional at predicting that. The app's main page shows you the temperature and a timeline of when it's supposed to rain at your precise location. It's also really pretty, so you don't have to choose between avoiding ugly design or staying dry.
SailFlow (Free for iOS & Android)
As any pedestrian who's had to trash a blown-out umbrella after turning a corner knows, one wind forecast does not fit all. SailFlow allows you to see realtime wind speed and direction from over 50,000 weather stations worldwide, so you can see what the wind's doing at each point along your course. We at AY usually use the weather station at Robbins Reef, since anything north of that is in the lee of the Jersey shoreline.
Weather Underground (Free for iOS and Android)
This is our "everything" weather app. Its nicely laid out main page has hourly/daily/weekly temperature and preciptitation forecasts, humidity, atmospheric pressure, UV index, sunrise and sunset times, and moon phases, all just a finger flick away. It's your one stop shop for weather preparedness, or just to sound like a know-it-all in front of your crew.
Navionics USA ($9.99 iOS/Android)
While technically not a weather app, a navigation app should absolutely be part of your sailing tech toolbox, even if it's only a backup for the backup. And since you'll have it anyway, you can use its comprehensive tide and current information to plan your trip. Tides and currents change at different times at The Battery than at the GW Bridge, and Navionics allows you to see high and low tide, and flood and ebb currents at thousands of locations up to a week in the future. That way you know if you'll be home in time for dinner after your sunset sail to the Statue of Liberty, or whether you should bring snacks. (Pro tip: Always bring snacks.)