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10 Weather Tracking Apps for Snow Contractors


One of the most annoying of being a snowplow contractor is guessing the weather. More than one long-time operator has breathed a sigh of relief at the end of winter, looking forward to not waking up in the middle of the night.  That’s because the only thing predictable about weather is that it’s unpredictable, which means you can’t plan far into the future. Schedule those dentist appointments carefully!

Most snow-removal professionals know they must get up in the middle of the night, every winter night—we’re talking somewhere around 3 or 4 a.m., depending upon your schedule—to check things out, regardless of the local weather forecasters say. Snowfall predictions can change in the blink of an eye, especially if you’re in a lake-effect area.

While looking out your window is a basic no-brainer, and local weather forecasters are pretty good these days, it’s still all on you. Radar is your friend, and you should practice reading it, noticing patterns, and making your own predictions, too.

Not surprisingly, phone apps are a good place to go, and you’ll find the cost of upgrade/premium versions well worth the cost as they have stronger features than the free apps. It’s a legitimate business expense, provided you do consult it regularly for your snowplowing schedule (document it!). And, really, they’re not expensive (I saw someone post that a $3.99 app was “costly,” but I would beg to differ).

A look at apps across the board brought up some best-bet choices in apps. It doesn’t hurt to have at least two of them on your phone, but these appear to be as reliable as you can hope for (in alphabetical order):

  1. AccuWeather (almost 60 years old and always a top pick)
  2. CARROT Weather (allows you to scan other sources, too, and it’s incredibly entertaining as well—you can set the level for how obnoxious you want it to be)
  3. Dark Sky (strong reviews for its long-range forecasting—which is still “forecasting,” of course)
  4. NOAA Weather Radar (from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  5. RadarScope (a favorite of weather junkies due to its solid radar)
  6. Storm Radar (in-depth radar tracking from the Weather Channel)
  7. Storm Shield (detailed information that allows you to choose what alerts you want)
  8. The Weather Channel (app from the cable channel we all know and love)
  9. Weather Bug (an oldy but goody that has stayed competitive)
  10. Weather Underground (good information, but maybe not as simple to use as others)

While alert notifications are available on these apps, we wouldn’t rely on them for snowplowing decisions unless your phone alert tone is very loud and you are a light sleeper. You are still going to have to set that old-fashioned alarm clock, look out the window, and do the decision-making yourself.

Posted on November 1, 2021

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