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The best weather apps for truckers: Part 2

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves, NOAA)

It’s crucial for truck drivers to know the forecast for areas along their routes, but a reliable weather app can also provide important real-time information as they approach each storm. In a FreightWaves Twitter survey last month, drivers rated The Weather Channel as their top publicly available weather app (out of four choices). Here’s what they had to say about the next selections: NOAA Weather Radar Live, Storm Shield, Drive Weather and MyRadar.

NOAA Weather Radar Live
Available on iOS and Android

The NOAA Weather Radar Live app is quite popular among drivers and received 75% of the votes in the survey.

This app has come a long way in the past few years and offers more than 35 real-time, high-resolution weather layers to plan trips better. They include storm cells, lightning strikes and temperatures, just to name a few. The NOAA app also has up to 12 hours of weather layer forecasts.

The radar updates whenever and wherever drivers need it, and they can receive daily notifications regarding forecasts and severe weather alerts. Drivers can also receive detailed hourly forecasts for saved favorite locations.

“As a truck driver, being able to look a few hours ahead to track radar was very helpful to timing travel in mountainous areas,” said one trucker who had been using the free version for a long time.

The NOAA app is free, with a $1.99 in-app purchase for removing ads.

Storm Shield
Available on iOS and Android

While this weather app provides many of the most basic forecasting features, Storm Shield’s primary focus is on providing users with up-to-date local severe weather alerts for extreme weather events such as thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes. This app was preferred by 25% of the drivers in the survey.

Using GPS location data from drivers’ devices, Storm Shield can update them with relevant NOAA alerts via voice and push notifications (or on the Apple Watch). Storm Shield is different from most apps in that its alerts are based on the user’s precise GPS location, instead of using county-based data. A detailed radar and weather map comes with numerous data overlays, keeping drivers up to date with real-time information for current and saved locations.

The base Storm Shield app is free, but additional features cost extra.

MyRadar and Drive Weather

No drivers chose either of these two apps, but they have their fair share of excellent features and positive reviews online.

Related: The top weather apps for drivers

For the casual weather enthusiast to the seasoned weather professional, MyRadar offers high-definition radar, as well as NOAA weather alerts, temperatures and forecasts. It also has a detailed hurricane tracker and drivers can share their own weather photos.

One of its best features is the ability to provide advanced rain alerts. MyRadar’s patent-pending process for predicting hyper-local rainfall means drivers don’t have to check the app all the time. MyRadar will send them alerts up to an hour in advance as to when rain will arrive at their current location.

The Drive Weather app also follows drivers using GPS. It shows weather conditions based on the time drivers leave, and the forecast conditions as drivers get to each point on their routes. It works best for trips that will be longer than one hour.

“Just what I’ve been looking for. Wind speeds are particularly concerning since I haul mostly tall loads across the Midwest,” said one trucker online. “Too many bad experiences to not check the forecast on a long haul. No more hiding under underpasses for me.”

The base Drive Weather app is free. Additional premium subscriptions features include wind speed and direction, night locations indicator, seven days of weather forecasts, no ads and unlimited trip length.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.


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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.