As an Englishman, I know all about rain. I’m intimate with sleet, drizzle, and driving rain both horizontal and vertical. I know about rain that slowly soaks you even though it seems that none is falling, about freezing rain that stings as hard as hail, about the rain that seems to ignore your umbrella and creep into even the best-sealed seams of your clothes.
Other countries might have spectacular monsoons, or driving rainstorms that flow for days, but for variety and ubiquity of precipitation, it’s hard to beat the British Isles. Which is why I’m sad that Dark Sky — an app that predicts the rain forecast for the next hour only — currently only works in the continental United States.
Dark Sky might sound like a UFO-based sci-fi series (because it is), but in this case it’s a super-focused weather app, and if you live up in Washington state, Oregon or another rain-infested locale, then you’ll love it.
The app tells you what the weather is doing now, and what it will do in the next hour. This first part builds trust in the second. There is also a graph which shows you how much rain there will be within the next hour (heavy, medium and light) and the app’s confidence in the prediction is signified by waviness. The more the line moves, the more uncertain the prediction. Thus you can plan your dash to the corner store with minute-by-minute accuracy.
And should you wish to take a look at the rain radar, you’re in for a treat. Radar data is interpolated and used to produce a gorgeous flowing animation, instead of the usual herky-jerky low frame rate of other apps’ radar animations. This not only looks good, but makes it easier to see just where the clouds are headed.
As I said, the app is U.S-only for now, but the team is looking to incorporate radar data from the rest of the world. Not that I care, really. I moved to Spain years ago and, apart from a few weeks in April and September, the weather is predictably, boringly sunny. Dark Sky is available now for $4, which is much less than the cost of a good umbrella.