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Weather Tools

Knowing what the weather will be is useful for gardeners. We don’t like to water our plants unnecessarily, so we especially like knowing whether we should water the plants today or can they hang on for the rain that will be here tomorrow. Weather apps have been a great help. With the amount of information available at our fingertips one would think that the standard Weather app for the iPhone would be just as good as any of the others available in the App Store. After looking at a bunch, we can tell you that it is just not so.

The Weather app which comes pre-loaded on the iPhone will give a general forecast for the upcoming week, but if you want to know what will happen at your specific location in the next hour or so, then you are better off just looking up at the sky. Fortunately, there are other apps which are more predictive than the just-look-around-and-guess method. The best app, based on our experience, is Dark Sky. It is easy to use, informative, and most of all, extremely accurate.

Everything you want is there: location-based current and near-future conditionssatellite overlays24-hour forecastsextended forecastsDark Sky, while fantastic for gardeners, is also particularly helpful for convertible drivers like us who want to know whether we should raise the roof or whether we can make it home before the rain starts 🙂 In our tests, Dark Sky was spot on every time it predicted rain. We now “listen” to it when it says rain will start in 11 minutes and plan accordingly. If you are looking for a better weather app, get Dark Sky.

What about when you are on your own, away from satellite data, and away from streaming updates? What to do then? Hikers, sportsmen, and other outdoors enthuthiasts have relied on indicators such as temperature, wind, and barometric readings to get a sense of pending changes in local weather conditions. We have had our share of sensors embedded into watches and gadgets for detecting changes in air temperature and pressure, but they have left us wanting. The main reason is, on a form factor such as a wrist watch, they are hard to use and not very accurate. When we heard about the Skywatch Windoo, we were intriqued. Will a sensor for the iPhone fare better?

The Skywatch Windoo3 is a complete weather station. It can report wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity and air pressure. The sensors are housed in an anodized aluminum frame. The multi-directional propeller rotates on sapphire bearings and are attached to a stainless steel shaft. The entire unit fits in a small protective carbon fiber case when not in use. All in all, a pretty awesome accessory for the iPhone.

Here are some of the specs for the Skywatch Windoo3 :

  • Wind : from 0 to 150 km/h, Accuracy : ± 2%
  • Temperature : from -25 °C to +60 °C, Accuracy : ± 0.3 °C
  • Humidity : from 0 to 100 %RH, Accuracy : ± 4.5 %RH
  • Pressure : from 300 to 1100 hPa, Accuracy : ± 0.2 hPa

The Skywatch Windoo3 talks to the iPhone via the headphone jack. All of the info from the Windoo3 sensors are displayed and tracked via the Windoo app. The app is compatible with iOS 6.0/iPhone 4S/iPad 2 or newer.

In the FirstUse writeup of the Windoo3, we’ll compare its predictive power against the Dark Sky app. We already know that Dark Sky is excellent. What the test will give us is a feel for the accuracy of the Windoo3.

It is the end of Summer and the Hurricane season will soon be over. With the Dark Sky app and the Windoo3, we’ll see it coming…welcomed or not 🙂

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