So what is Dark Sky?
Dark Sky is an iOS app that can predict to the minute if and when rain (or snow) will fall in your current location. Highly useful during the British summer, a time when your plans for barbecues, sunbathing and other outdoor activities are at the mercy of capricious weather gods.
How does it work?
Dark Sky uses GPS to pinpoint your exact location, and uses data from a huge range of radar stations to predict rain or snowfall. That might sound like something every weather app does, but Dark Sky’s creators have developed a method for highly accurate predictions up to an hour in advance. Basically, the app will tell you when it’s going to rain and for how many minutes, allowing you to make your plans for walking the dog or popping down the shops around that.
Is that all?
Nope. This same system allows for a beautiful, smoothly-animated map showing storms as they move across the country. You’re probably used to seeing ugly, jerkily-animated weather maps, and that’s because radar stations only take snapshots every five or ten minutes. What Dark Sky does is fill in the gaps between those, so you can watch clouds rolling silkily over the landscape. The maps will show you what’s going on in the future (again, for up to an hour), and you can drag them back and forth using a timeline. It's really very cool.
So is it a full-fat weather app?
Dark Sky is made for a very specific purpose: to tell you if and exactly when it’s going to rain or snow in the next hour. It pulls that off brilliantly and stylishly. It isn’t, however, a general purpose weather app (like, say, Accuweather) that tells you the temperature, humidity, wind speed and forecasts days in advance. There’s an elegance in Dark Sky’s simplicity that most catch-all weather apps are lacking.
Does it work everywhere in the world?
No, unfortunately not. Dark Sky currently covers the US (including Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico) as well as the UK and Ireland.
It’s available at the App Store, priced at £2.49.