Kids hoping for a snow day? Don’t get snowed with these 5 wicked weather apps!
posted by: Guest Blogger
As the winter weather season sets in and snow arrives, it’s time for my kids’ favorite game: Will there be school tomorrow?
If there is any hope of a snow day, my kids will usually create a chart with the options: School Delay, School Cancelled and School Open (heaven forbid.) Then they get predictions from family and friends and fill in the chart accordingly. As a divorced father of three who shares custody of my three kids, I’m always hoping for the “open” option. A delay or full snow day wreaks havoc on work schedules, usually requiring some scrambling by my ex-wife and me.
So, for parents the question is: How do you plan for a Snow Day? Or, in some cases, should I plan for a snow day?
Over the years I’ve become increasingly wary of weather forecasts from local news outlets. That’s partially because I lived in Maryland for 13 years – where you had a better chance of predicting the final score of the Redskins game than predicting the weather. I live in New England now – where it snows and gets cold – but still, predictions can be off here as well.
Recently, my kids became all excited about the possibility of a delay with the first real snow and ice of the season. When we received no call from the school district in the morning, they asked me to check the local news and school websites. When it was clear school was on, unhappiness swept through the Fox house.
So, now I’m on a quest to get more accurate forecasts. For that, we turn to a variety of weather app offerings for your phone. There are literally hundreds of options out there. The iTunes App Store includes the option for the “Macau Weather Report.” You probably don’t need that, but as always, we do the scanning so you don’t have to:
I didn’t know that the recent winter storm we had was named “Electra” until I went onto this app – which has video feeds as well as a “Hurricane Central” tab to give you updates on more severe weather. The app’s settings (as on most) allow you to track several towns/cities – so I entered Orlando, Fla. as one of the places so that I can monitor the weather there as my kids and I prepare for our post-Christmas vacation to Disneyworld!
The Yahoo app has received some buzz for its new design and beautiful photos from the cities you are following for weather. The hourly and 5- and 10-day forecasts are easily accessible with a swipe of your finger.
There’s lots going on when you arrive at the home screen for this app. But once you start poking around, you find some fairly unique features, including an interactive feature where you can submit weather photos. There is also a “Cameras” feature – allowing you to see real-time images from around the state. In my case, shots of Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium are pretty useful in case I’m planning to go to a game. There is also a “Lifestyle Forecasts” area that includes a golf forecast and fitness forecast – giving you red, green and yellow designations on whether conditions are suitable. My favorite: The Family Forecast – letting you know whether conditions are optimal for outside family activities.
While other apps give you “feels like” options, the “RealFeel” feature here is right under the current temperature – and for those of us living in New England in December, that’s kind of important. This app also features a 15-day forecast – which is nice for vacation-planning purposes. And, under their “More” tab is a lifestyle section which has an area for health and includes low, moderate and high designations for everything from asthma risk to flu risk.
I throw this one into the mix because we try not to be U.S.-centric here. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, this is the app you want on your phone.
There are also plenty of local options – most local television stations have their own apps – so try those out as well. At least you won’t have to turn on the television to find out about school cancellations.
As for lowering the expectations for a snow day with your kids? Well, good luck. There’s not an app for that – yet.