Dark Sky

OK, I know everyone else bought Dark Sky and wrote a glowing post about it months ago. I was skeptical and held off until it went on sale a couple of days ago. I figured I couldn’t go wrong for $2. An understatement.

Last night and this morning we actually got some rain here in the Chicago area, so I had a chance to test Dark Sky. Not only did it predict the comings and goings of our intermittent thunderstorms, it did so with one hand tied behind its back: our local radar station, KLOT, was down due to a (warning: irony ahead) lightning strike. Here’s the NWS notice:

KLOT RADAR WAS POSSIBLY HIT BY LIGHTNING AND IS OUT OF SERVICE…TECHS ARE BEING NOTIFIED. NO ETA FOR RETURN TO SERVICE.

That notice went up at 9:08 last night. Here’s what Dark Sky was showing for radar:

Dark Sky sans radar

The radar was still down this morning when I drove to work. As I pulled into the parking lot, we were in the middle of an especially strong downpour. I checked Dark Sky to see if it would be over soon. It told me the rain would pass in three minutes, so I waited in the car, listening to some podcast about pizza. While I waited, one of my business partners pulled in next to me, got out of her car, and had to rush to the door to avoid getting soaked. I waited out the full three minutes and sauntered up to the door with only a couple of stray drops hitting me. She now owns a copy of Dark Sky.

The radar came back up this afternoon. I assume this means Dark Sky will be even more accurate than it was this morning, which is, frankly, hard to believe.


4 Responses to “Dark Sky”

  1. Carl says:

    I have read all the blogs talking about this app, but I haven’t bothered with it, since I live in Hawaii. (Weather forecast for the next 20 years: scattered showers.) A daily forecast for the city is worthless to me because each valley has its own weather pattern. But if this app gets the Dr. Drang seal of approval, it’s gotta be worth a shot, right? I’ll see how it goes.

  2. Chris Herbert says:

    Carl - this weather app isn’t about giving you the current forecast, it’s more about precipitation and how much / how long you will get it. The radar view is excellent and accurate up to an hour (pending changing patterns). It’s unique and looks so much better than 100% of other radar apps. Dr. Drang really should update this post and show people the radar screen with an actual shot of radar though. ;^)

  3. Carl says:

    I was getting ready to go out this morning, and Dark Sky gave me the all clear, so I left the umbrella at home. As soon as I did I remembered the other reason I always carry an umbrella with me: God never intended for white people to live in the tropics, so he sent the sun to burn us all up. On days when it’s not sprinkling, I end up using my umbrella as a sun parasol, so it never makes sense to leave the house without it.

    Oh well, it’s a neat to look at the radar maps, at least. If I ever move, I’m sure the forecast function will be more useful.

  4. Carl says:

    One final bit of follow up: here in Hawaii it is still common to hang laundry out to dry. Dark Sky was useful for letting me know that it wasn’t going to be sprinkling for very long, so it was fine to go ahead and hang my clothes for a couple hours.