Caught in the Web

The Best Weather Websites:

Weather Here or There


by Laura Emery, Field Editor 

The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel is a reputable website applauded for its simplicity, accuracy, and ease of use. Not only can you set up multiple personalized locations, but the website offers a variety of forecasts — 48-hour, 5-day, weekend, and 10-day. While maps and radar are available on the website for those who want to view them, the website is primarily focused on current conditions, forecasts, and weather alerts. You can also sign up to receive free weather alerts via email or text message (unless you are on Sprint/Nextel, Boost, T-Mobile, or Virgin Mobile networks). While email alerts are free, data rates may apply from your mobile phone company for the text alerts. Signing up for The Weather Channel Alerts is easy. Click on the “Get Alerts” button on the upper right-hand side of the home screen and then follow the steps indicated to get the alerts you need, when and where you need them.

Weather Underground

This might not be one of the larger weather websites, but boasts an outstanding radar interface. Instead of having to click on multiple pages, Wunder­ground gives you a quick and easy weather snapshot on the first page — providing you with easy access to current data, extended forecast, radar information, astronomy, earthquake activity, air quality, Almanac information, hourly forecast, and weather-station information. Just type in your zip code or location and get started.


WeatherSpark isn’t too simplified or too verbose; it’s just right. It is oftentimes difficult to strike a balance and summarize the day with precisely the key pieces of information that are relevant to know, but WeatherSpark does a good job at giving you a forecast that is quick and easy to read but still detailed enough to provide all the information you need. You can view hour-by-hour graphs, the unique SparkRadar (a single image capturing the motion of precipitation around you for the last 12 hours), and rich, interactive maps with current conditions from thousands of locations worldwide. Not only can you view smooth radar playback for the last two hours, but WeatherSpark will let you view any radar period from over the last five years (this feature is by subscription only). You can also compare the weather across locations for any time period, and multiple forecasts can be shown in 17 graphs.

National Weather Service/NOAA

The National Weather Service is a government agency and responsible for issuing official weather alerts and warnings. So it goes without saying that the National Weather Service is a respected weather authority. The majority of weather websites and news stations get their weather data from stations operated or sponsored by the National Weather Service, so you’re essentially getting your weather data straight from the source. The ease of its user interface isn’t the best (it will take you a few times to get used to the set-up and how to find what you’re looking for), but you will get extremely accurate, very detailed, up-to-date conditions, forecasts, satellite imagery, radar maps, and more.

In addition to current conditions, NWS offers information about ground conditions, from brush fires to wind advisories — as well as marine, fire and aviation forecasts, warnings, meteorological products, climate forecasts and information about meteorology. The data is very complete, and is the source information that most other services use to build their own forecasts. 


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