Know when it will rain, down to the minute

Updated April 13th, 2020.

UPDATE March 2020: Apple likes Dark Sky so much, they bought them.

Weather reports are so vague: “50% chance of rain.” “Scattered showers.” I don’t know about you, but for me, that kind of “information” isn’t very informative. I care about the weather because I want to know whether it’s going to rain after I wash my car, or whether I have time to mow the lawn before it rains, or whether that football game I’m thinking of attending is going to be played in the rain or not. It’s a lot to ask, but someone’s delivered, and no it is NOT “Doppler Radar 3000” or whatever they’re pushing on TV these days. Instead, it’s an iPhone and iPad app called Dark Sky Weather.

Dark Sky Weather is a beautiful app, and I’ve had it on my iPhone for years. You should get it too– there’s nothing else as good when it comes to predicting rain. (Temperature predictions are good too, but it’s precipitation predictions where Dark Sky Weather really stands out.)

“Beautiful” is nice, but a beautiful weather app isn’t worth much if its data isn’t spot-on. The Dark Sky Weather app uses its own data sources, and I don’t really know how they do it, but it is really great. (There’s a website, powered by the same data, and it’s very handy for when you want a bigger picture and you have a computer nearby.) With this data, the Dark Sky Weather app and website provide hyper-local forecasts for you, letting you know precisely whether it’s going to rain or not in any particular location (and even more precisely for the next hour).

Santa Monica weather (via

I use Dark Sky Weather all the time, most recently today when the morning started out rainy. I wondered how long the rain would continue. The Dark Sky Weather app told me what I needed to know: the rain would stop in 45 minutes.

Dark Sky Weather app launch screen
Rain stopping in 45 minutes

The Dark Sky Weather app is fun to explore. Drag up and see the day’s weather at a glance– hour by hour. Swipe from right to left and see the week’s weather at a glance. Tap a day and see that’s day’s weather. (Based on these pictures, I can see that it’s going to be a cloudy weekend, with just a little drizzle Sunday morning.)

Dark Sky Weather forecast for the week
Dark Sky Weather forecast for the week
Dark Sky Weather forecast: Drizzle from 9 AM to noon
Drizzle from 9 AM to noon

More fun stuff: swipe from left to right to see a globe showing current precipitation. Rotate the globe with your finger, zoom with the two-finger stretch, tap the Play button to see the weather changing over time. In a way, I wish I lived where it rained more so I could play around with Dark Sky Weather more.

Dark Sky Weather globe, showing rain off the California coast
Dark Sky Weather globe, showing rain off the California coast
Heavy rain along the northern California coast
Heavy rain along the northern California coast

Dark Sky Weather licenses its data and other apps do use it, so in that sense other apps are able to predict the weather just as well as Dark Sky Weather. But Dark Sky Weather does it the best– the app is clean, pretty, and fun, while providing excellent information. I’ve tried a lot of weather apps, and Dark Sky Weather’s the best. As of this writing, Dark Sky Weather is $3.99. Get it at the App Store.

Copyright 2008-2023 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

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