Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems | Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy | How to Block Spam Calls | Snapchat Symbol Meaning

author photo

The Best Weather Sites

posted by on January 24, 2022 in Travel, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Travel & Entertainment, Guides & Reviews, Top Picks :: 57 comments


Techlicious editors independently review products. To help support our mission, we may earn affiliate commissions from links contained on this page.

The first thing I do in the morning is to check the weather forecast. With the recent wacky weather, I need to be armed with the forecast to head off the inevitable complaints from my boys when I hand out hats and gloves.

Weather sites these days deliver much more than just the high and low temperatures and whether you need an umbrella or gloves. They provide hyper-local, minute-by-minute precipitation graphs, emergency weather alerts, and air quality information, including allergen reports. And accessing the sites via your computer (versus the associated apps on your phone), will provide better access to the rich data maps that the best sites provide.

There are many weather sites to choose from, so I spent the last few weeks visiting weather sites to find the ones that deliver the best experience based on forecast accuracy, design, and depth of information. I found four weather sites that met my criteria and which I would highly recommend: The Weather Channel, AccuWeather, Weather Underground, and Dark Sky. For most people, The Weather Channel provides the at-a-glance information you need with rich data and interesting weather stories. Specifically, here’s what I considered.

Forecast Accuracy

Weather forecasts are based on data that is collected by weather stations and other sources from around the world. That information is fed into supercomputers that generate the forecast based on weather models. The best weather sites use weather models with accuracy rates that hover around 85 percent. For any given location, though, one site's weather model may have better local data than another. This is especially true for sites that include data from personal weather stations.

According to research by Forecast Watch, a company that tracks forecast accuracy, The Weather Channel (aka Weather.com) and AccuWeather consistently rank at the top for forecast accuracy in the United States. However,  Dark Sky and Weather Underground also consistently rank highly and may have more local data for your area (the list below shows forecast accuracy for Lewiston, ME). You can see who ranks highly in your area at Forecast Watch's ForecastAdvisor.

ForecastWatch ForecastAdvisor showing  a list of the sites that had the most accurate forecasts for Lewiston, ME, in 2021.

Design

The best sites let you see the day’s forecast at a glance, including temperature highs and lows, how cold it feels (the “real feel”), and whether you’ll need an umbrella later in the day. If there is dangerous weather in your area, a weather advisory is clearly visible.

All of the best sites have graphical elements that clue you in immediately about important weather information. The temperature, precipitation and any weather alerts are hard to miss. 

The Weather Channel has a clean graphical interface that clearly shows the current temperature, the day's high and low temperatures, an icon for precipitation, and any weather advisories in the main weather box. Below, you'll find the precipitation forecast if relevant. As you scroll down the page, you can dig deeper into the forecast.

The Weather Channel has a clean graphical interface that clearly shows the current temperature, the day's high and low temperatures, an icon for precipitation, and any weather advisories in the main weather box. Below, you'll find the precipitation forecast if relevant. And then as you scroll down the page, you can dig deeper into the forecast. 

The AccuWeather main local weather page has a slight edge over The Weather Channel, with its very prominent weather alert bar, as well as including RealFeel Shade temperature, wind speed, and air quality in the main weather box. There's no need to scroll for more. I also like the color coded precipitation graph, which clearly shows how heavy the precipitation is. If it's rain, you'll see shades of  green through red. For snow, it's not as obvious, but there are shades of blue.

The AccuWeather main local weather page has a slight edge over The Weather Channel, with its very prominent weather alert bar, as well as including RealFeel Shade temperature, wind speed, and air quality in the main weather box. There's no need to scroll for more. I also like the color coded precipitation graph, which clearly shows how heavy the precipitation is. If it's rain, you'll see shades of  green (light rain) through red (heavy rain). For snow, it's not as obvious, but there are shades of blue.

Weather Underground packs a lot of data into a small box, with the current temperature, the current

Weather Underground packs a lot of data into a small box, with the current temperature, the current  "feels like" temperature, low and high temperatures for the day, wind speed and direction, the radar map, snapshot forecasts for the day, night and next day, as well as an overview of Coronavirus confirmed cases and deceased in the county. It's so dense that the details don't pop as much. The weather advisory is at the top of the page before the ad, so you see if first, but may just scroll by. 

Dark Sky has a clean look with the weather advisory in a prominent red color with the temperature, precipitation,

Dark Sky has a clean look with the weather advisory in a prominent red color with the temperature, precipitation, "feels like" temperature, daily low and high temperatures, and short written forecast easily accessible. The graph showing precipitation has movement and really catches your eye. The color-coded hourly forecast is easy to read. 

Most weather sites have ads, which appear on the page and, occasionally and annoyingly, pop up over the content or in between pages as you browse. Dark Sky is the only free site on my list that doesn’t have any ads. The Weather Channel, AccuWeather and Weather Underground all have ads, but there are few pop up ads. The Weather Channel offers an option to go ad-free with a premium subscription ($4.99 per month or $29.99 per year).

Weather maps

For those that want a deeper dive into the data, some sites offer a range of map data beyond the standard radar map. The Weather Channel and Weather Underground, which are both owned by The Weather Company, have the richest sets of map data. However, The Weather Channel's map has more data sets to view than Weather Underground and the interface is easier to use and read.

The overall best weather site: The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel local weather page showing the current conditions and high and low temperatures plus the weather advisory in the main box. Below is Today's forecast with Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Overnight conditions. Below that is a row of weather-related videos. In the right bar is a Covid-19 tracker and Air Quality Index

Techlicious Top Pick award logo with the text: Easy-to-read, accurate forecasts with the ability to dig deep into the data,The Weather Channel is the best weather site for most people, offering an accurate forecast that’s easy to read, high-quality weather-related news, and an interactive map that is easy to use and delivers a lot of detailed information. While there are ads, they don’t significantly detract from the viewing experience, and you can choose to go ad-free with a premium subscription ($4.99 per month or $29.99 per year).

Forecast Watch consistently ranks The Weather Channel among the top three for weather forecast accuracy, making it a good choice for your local weather and when traveling. I like the fact that there is a favorite cities bar at the top of the page that automatically populates as you search for weather, so you can easily toggle between places. And, it’s easy to remove a city once it’s no longer a top priority. If there is an active weather advisory, there is a colored circle (yellow, orange, or red) with the number of advisories that is available on all pages. And if you want a detailed look at what to expect in the next hours, the Hourly page provides forecasts at 15-minute increments for an hour for the free service and up to two hours for the premium service. 

The Weather Channel hourly forecast page showing temperature, feels like temperature, UV index, precipitation, wind speed, humidity and snow amount. Forecasts are in 15-minute increments.

The Weather Channel has an easy-to-use interactive map that lets you take a deep dive into weather data, including information from personal weather stations in your area. Choose your map style from light, dark, satellite or grayscale. Then choose the main map layer from radar, clouds, temperature, wind speed, dew point, UV index, infrared satellite, driving difficulty and more. After that, you can add other other data like dew point, humidity, temperature, precipitation, and wind, among others. You can also toggle on sightings of local area lightning and wildfires, turn on official marine, flood, tornado, and other official watches and warnings, view storm tracks, and data collected from personal weather stations. If you pay for a premium subscription, you can also access 24-hour future radar, a 30-mile lightning map layer, and windstream data (the screenshot below shows the premium service). 

The Weather Channel radar map showing the menu for map layers and the player for seeing the forecast. Options shown are Hurricane Tracker, Lightning, Local Storm Reports.

As a weather news outlet, The Weather Channel offers timely weather stories and videos. Plus, there’s a whole section devoted to beautiful and interesting photos. The depth of weather news is greater than other weather sites.

The Weather Channel does the best job of providing both quick at-a-glance weather information and more in-depth content, making it my top pick for the best weather site.  

The best weather site for hyperlocal forecasts: AccuWeather

AccuWeather local forecast page showing a weather advisory in a red bar at the top with the conditions, temperature, RealFeel Shade temperature, air quality, wind gusts and minutecast precipitation forecast in the main weather box. Below is a box with the current air quality with a Fair rating and a numberic raing. To the right is a bar with top weather stories

Techlicious Editor's Choice award logo with the text: The best choice for hyperlocal forecastsOf all the weather sites, AccuWeather does the best job of delivering your local forecast. Like The Weather Channel, AccuWeather consistently ranks within the top three sites for forecast accuracy. In addition, it has a proprietary forecasting tool that provides a highly-precise hyperlocal near-term forecast, which AccuWeather calls Minutecast. Through Minutecast, you’ll to-the-minute predictions of any weather that’s expected in the next 120 minutes. So, if you want to know if you have time to walk the dog before the rain starts, Minutecast provides a quick answer.

Finding your local forecast is just a matter of searching. Once you’ve searched for a location, it will appear as a suggested location when you return, making it easy to click into your local forecast. AccuWeather’s local forecast page has a clean, easy-to-read design. There you’ll find an overview of the day’s weather, a weather alert from Minutecast if there’s precipitation expected in the next 120 minutes, and you’ll see how the temperature feels in the shade as well as the sun.

AccuWeather’s maps are limited to radar, satellite, current conditions (meaning temperature), and severe weather (which you can top into to see the alert). Like The Weather Channel, you can view past weather as well as the predicted weather.

Accuweather maps show a radar map of the New York area.

AccuWeather provides detailed air quality data, including the level of particulate matter at two sizes (less than 10 micrometers and less than 2.5 micrometers), nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ground-level ozone. You can also view air quality maps and an hourly air-quality forecast.

For news, AccuWeather has a blog that’s written by its staff of weather experts, which range in specialties from regional weather to astronomy and climate change. You’ll also find videos produced by AccuWeather and taken from across the web. The selection isn’t as deep as The Weather Channel, but there’s plenty to watch.

If you’re looking for the best at-a-glance short-term local forecast, AccuWeather is the best. The site has a clean (though ad-supported) interface and gets you in and out armed with exactly what you need for the day.

If you need access to specific weather stations: Weather Underground

Weather Underground local forecast page with the current temperature, high and low temperatures, feels like temperature, wind speed and gusts, precipitation forecast. Below are show forecasts for Today, Tonight and Tomorrow with the temperature, chance of precipitation and a short description of the forecast.

If you need to now the weather on the top of a ski mountain, along the coast where you will be boating, or near a field for your son's afternoon soccer game, Weather Underground is the best choice for you. The site will automatically pull from weather stations near your current location, but you can select Change next to the weather station name and select any station from its database of more than 250,000 sites. I've used the feature to check the conditions at the top of the mountain when skiing and the forecast for the tiny island where we vacation in Maine. In many locations, especially more rural areas, Weather Underground is ranked highly by Forecast Watch.

Finding your local forecast is as easy as allowing the site to see your location and pull up the nearest station, or you can search for your city. If you regularly check the weather in a variety of locations, you can create a Favorite Cities list. Your local forecast will show the forecast for the day and local radar. Weather advisories show up in a bar at the top of the page.

Weather Underground screenshot showing a map with the location of weather stations you can choose for your local forecast.

The interactive weather map on Weather Underground, called the Wundermap, lets you access a variety of weather information, including temperature, wind speed and direction, dew point and humidity, and precipitation. You can also toggle on storm tracks, lightning, and active wildfires, among other data. You can look at current, past, and future readings as a video showing changes over time. 

Weather Underground: interactive map showing data that you can layer on the map. From the Weather Stations data, you see Temperature/Wind selected among Temperature, Dew Point/Humidity and Precipitation. At the bottom of the map you can see a play button to show the forecast over time.

Specialized forecasts are limited to Pollen, air quality, and UV index, which you can find right below the local forecast. Clicking on any rating will take you to a page with pollen data broken down into types of pollen, a map that shows fine particulate matter readings and UV risk based on skin type.

Weather Underground staff produces some weather news stories and videos, plus it pulls content in from The Weather Channel. You won’t find the depth that The Weather Channel has, but you will find plenty of stories and videos to keep you up to date.

If you want to know where your weather data is being collected, or want to use your own weather station, Weather Underground provides the best combination of an easy-to-read forecast with rich weather data and news when you want more information.

The cleanest interface for those who hate ads: Dark Sky

Dark Sky home screen with the location at the top, the next line has wind, humidity, dew point, UV index, visibility, and pressure. The next line shows a Winter Weather advisory in red. The next line shows the temperature with a graphic of snow, the word snow and the feels like temperature, low temperature and high temperature. The next line has the general daily forecast. The next line has a graphic showing light snow for the next 50 minutes.The next line is a graphic show the forecast by hour using colors to show snow, clouds, overcast. At the bottom is a precipitation map with wind speed.

For a clean, ad-free weather site experience, Dark Sky delivers the best experience. The site, which was acquired by Apple in March 2020, has a spartan design that uses text, colors, and icons to deliver your local forecast in a compelling way. Dark Sky isn’t as consistently ranked for weather forecast accuracy as The Weather Channel and AccuWeather, but it does rank well in many locations, so be sure to check your location on ForecastAdvisor.

On your local forecast page, you’ll find your daily forecast, UV index, information on notable upcoming weather (such as rain or severe weather), a moving graphic of any forecasted precipitation, and your local temperature map. Weather advisories show up as red text above your forecast.

The weather temperature map on your local forecast page can be changed to show cloud cover, precipitation radar, wind speed, ozone, dew point, and more. The maps don’t move, but you can select different times of day and dates to see how the weather will change.

Dark Sky website screenshot showing a temperature map and a pull down menu with the options

Dark Sky doesn’t provide any specialized forecasts or news stories and related videos.

If you’re looking for a free ad-free visually-clean forecast, Dark Sky is the right site for you. It doesn’t have the resources of the other sites on my list, but when all you need is the forecast, you can be in and out in seconds.

Re-evaluated weather websites and updated the story on 1/24/2022

[Image credit: screenshots via Techlicious, dog with umbrella via BigStockPhoto]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.



Discussion loading

Dark Sky

From Phil Rubino on April 30, 2020 :: 11:59 am

In case some didn’t know, Dark Sky has joined Apple. The news is here: https://blog.darksky.net/
My experience with darksky.net is new - thank you for the weather site suggestions. Years ago..in the early 2000’s, I used weatherunderground.com. It was ad free and easy to use…like darksky. I’m always looking for the simpler, but informative weather sites, with few ads and less clutter. Good luck darksky.

Reply

The Worst Weather Channel IS:

From Daniel on January 15, 2022 :: 7:48 pm

The Weather Channel.  Slow. Cumbersome.  Laden with pop ups, ads and useless garbage strewn all over the screen that you must pick your way through.  The Weather Channel decided serving up click bait was more to their liking than actually doing the weather. 
No matter how fast my computer is it can’t keep up with the stupidity of their programmers who seem intent on making the experience on their site as painful as possible.
Really!  It is one ugly site in terms of their attitude towards their users.
That this website thinks they are the best simply means it is owned by TWC or they were paid to rank them the best.

Reply

Dropped weather.com

From Eileen on January 26, 2022 :: 2:35 pm

Took too long to load and want you to turn off adblockers. Don’t look at the ads anyway!

Reply

2022 and weather dot com is still horrible

From Felix on April 03, 2022 :: 12:18 am

It is a giant horrible mess that takes a long time to just see the basic information.. and they want people to pay for it? Are you kidding me? Make it work first, then I might would. Why would anyone pay for a site and service this horrible?

Reply

forgot to add..

From Felix on April 03, 2022 :: 12:22 am

Thanks for the info about AccuWeather, I will try it. It has to be better than TWC.

Reply

Weather.com is awful

From Joshua on May 03, 2022 :: 7:04 pm

This is obviously promoted.  Weather.com is unusable.  It’s ads.com with a little weather sprinkled in.

Reply

WeatherForYou.com

From Joe on May 08, 2022 :: 12:07 am

Check out WeatherForYou.com.  Simple.  Accurate.  Great tide tables.  Uses data from PWSWeather.com and MADIS for conditions close to more places.

Reply

Read More Comments: 1 2

Home | About | Meet the Team | Contact Us
Media Kit | Newsletter Sponsorships
Accessibility Statement
Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookie Policy

Techlicious participates in affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provide a small commission from some, but not all, of the "click-thru to buy" links contained in our articles. These click-thru links are determined after the article has been written, based on price and product availability — the commissions do not impact our choice of recommended product, nor the price you pay. When you use these links, you help support our ongoing editorial mission to provide you with the best product recommendations.

© Techlicious LLC.