I spent most of my childhood and teenage years in Florida. I must’ve been through at least 20 hurricanes during that stretch of time. The summer of 2004 is still ingrained into my memory. That was the year where six hurricanes of at least category 3 hit Florida. I vividly remember that Hurricane Charley was supposed to directly hit Tampa before it veered further south costing 16.3 billion dollars in damage. Ever since that summer, I actively check the weather on a daily basis. I recently discovered the MyRadar app, which blows the current weather app I use out of the water.
How It Works
The MyRadar app has been touted as one of the best weather app for pilots. However, anyone can make use of the many features in this weather app. The first thing you’ll notice when opening up the app is an animated radar of the U.S. along with icons at the bottom. The most important icons are the ones on the left which are Locate Me, Map Type, and Toggle Layers. The other icons are used to upload and share weather photos.
You can move the cross-hairs around to view different parts of the United States. If you want to quickly go back to your current location, all you have to do is tap the Locate Me icon and it’ll move the cross-hairs back to your location.
The Map Type icon is used to change the way your map looks. The default map mode is set to gray, but you can change it to roads, which looks like the map you would see on Google Maps and aerial.
You’ll be spending most of your time in the Layers icon, which gives you total control of what you want to see on your radar. There are three free radars to choose from classic, HD, and temp map. While the classic and HD radars are very similar, the temp map is different in that it shows shades of green to red indicating temperature differences in the U.S.
This toggle should definitely be turned on in the Layers icon. A brief summary of the forecast is shown at the top of the radar map. If you want more information about the forecast, all you have to do is drag the forecast bar down. This will give you information such as hourly forecast, temperature, precipitation (%), and a five day forecast. There is a star at the top right corner to bookmark all your favorite locations. Multiple favorite locations will allow you to swipe left or right to view each location’s forecast.
There is a separate toggle for temperature that is different from the temp map radar. This toggle will show temperatures of individual locations. The oval labels indicate land temperatures, while the rectangle labels indicate water temperatures. The current water temperature in San Diego is 69 degrees, which is a drastic difference from the 80 degree water I am used to in Florida. This is probably the reason why I never go to the beach anymore in California. It’s way too cold.
Clouds and Winds
The cloud toggle comes with four different views. The rainbow mode shows a color scale that indicates where the heaviest rainfall is occurring. As a resident of a state that is in an eternal drought, I couldn’t help but notice that there was no sign of rain activity in San Diego. I can only look on with jealousy as the Midwest is currently getting buckets and buckets of rain.
The wind layer shows an animated view of the wind flow patterns. Seen below is the wind flow pattern of San Diego.
Other great features
My favorite feature is the weather outlook option. This option shows areas that are at risk for severe weather. Hovering over an area with the SPC overlay will show the weather outlook such as general thunder, marginal risk, slight risk, etc.
Another awesome feature is the flight plan toggle in the aviation layer options. This allows you to search your flight ID and MyRadar will draw the path of the flight plan so you can check on the weather for your flight. I wish I had this app when I traveled to Texas. My flight was cancelled due to heavy rain, which I didn’t know about until I got to the airport. I had to have my friend drive thirty minutes back to the airport to pick me up. If I had the MyRadar app, I would’ve been able to check my flight plan and plan accordingly before I arrived at the airport.
MyRadar is such a powerful weather tool. The app is loaded with features, even in the free version. There are various upgrades such as a professional radar pack or hurricane tracker for the power users. The free version should be more than enough for most casual users. If you travel frequently, this app is a must to check for potential flight cancellations due to weather. Don’t settle for the stock weather app and download MyRadar immediately!