Phone apps for the 2019 chase season

Bill Hark

EF5
Jan 13, 2004
1,254
171
11
51
Richmond Virginia
www.harkphoto.com
Now is a good time to reevaluate phone apps for the 2019 chase season. Below is a my list. Please feel free to add your list along with comments and suggestions on chase use including radar, photo and other apps.

My list (Android)

RadarScope (Pro Tier One)

My main radar app. I like having the Pro Tier for dual screen and lightning. I've also used it with AllisonHouse though haven't decided whether to add it back for the new season.

PYKL3 Radar

It was a nice back up, but has been discontinued. Last I checked, it still functions on my phone but no more updates. I need a new back up radar app.

Chaser Location

Nice easy way to show my position to SpotterNet and to upload reports. Runs in the background. I prefer using it than running SpotterNet on my laptop which causes some instability.

Google Maps

Easy to use for navigation and showing areas of traffic and construction slowdowns. The satellite view is useful for showing areas of better visibility which is useful while chasing in the east.

Yelp

Useful for finding restaurants in unknown areas though not as helpful in more rural areas.

Kindle

I keep copies of the manuals for my cameras and ham radio. I also have a copy of the Storm Chaser Handbook by Tim Vasquez for travel, restaurant and forecast information. Hoping for the 3rd edition as the 2nd is getting out of date.

Bill Hark
 

Lou Ruh

EF2
May 17, 2007
136
24
11
SE PA
Now is a good time to reevaluate phone apps for the 2019 chase season. Below is a my list. Please feel free to add your list along with comments and suggestions on chase use including radar, photo and other apps.

My list (Android)

RadarScope (Pro Tier One)

My main radar app. I like having the Pro Tier for dual screen and lightning. I've also used it with AllisonHouse though haven't decided whether to add it back for the new season.

PYKL3 Radar

It was a nice back up, but has been discontinued. Last I checked, it still functions on my phone but no more updates. I need a new back up radar app.

Chaser Location

Nice easy way to show my position to SpotterNet and to upload reports. Runs in the background. I prefer using it than running SpotterNet on my laptop which causes some instability.

Google Maps

Easy to use for navigation and showing areas of traffic and construction slowdowns. The satellite view is useful for showing areas of better visibility which is useful while chasing in the east.

Yelp

Useful for finding restaurants in unknown areas though not as helpful in more rural areas.

Kindle

I keep copies of the manuals for my cameras and ham radio. I also have a copy of the Storm Chaser Handbook by Tim Vasquez for travel, restaurant and forecast information. Hoping for the 3rd edition as the 2nd is getting out of date.

Bill Hark
For another radar app, you could try Radar Alive Pro! It is a nice alternative.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Stormtrack mobile app
 
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Aug 9, 2012
344
572
21
Galesburg, IL
www.facebook.com
I continue to use radarscope and then the mesoanalysis site on SPC. That in addition to some forums I'm part of is about all I use. I also use google and apple maps on my ipad for navigation, also have it set on my phone too. I try to keep the amount of technology at a minimum that way the amount of errors are at a minimum.

Edit: I also like to keep a roadmap in the car and a portable weather radio. Never know when technology is going to fail and you need to take things back to your roots.
 
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B. Dean Berry

Moderator
May 25, 2014
261
67
11
My list right now:

Phone -

- Radarscope Tier I w/Allison House data
- WDT WeatherOps
- Baron Critical Weather Intelligence

Tablet 1 -

- Radarscope Tier I w/Allison House data
- Baron Critical Weather Intelligence
- Torque PRO OBDII

Tablet 2 -

- WDT WeatherOps
- NWSChat Live/no map

Laptop -

- Baron Mobile Threat Net
- Baron Threat Net Map
- GRLevel3
- SpotterNetwork
- NWSChat Live

Note that I don't use the laptop in the winter season, and I rarely use two tablets at once.
 
Jul 5, 2009
844
521
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
I pretty much just use RadarScope with Allison House. Everything else is just websites for surface, satellite, models, etc.

I have Weather Radio on my phone mostly for watches and warnings at home, but do find it occasionally useful to get similar info while chasing - sometimes for example I’ll get an audible tornado watch notification while driving to the target, or maybe hear the audible tornado warning while viewing the storm, in both cases not looking at a screen.

Then of course there are the apps used during a chase trip that are not “chasing-specific,” such as Google Maps, Waze, a couple different hotel apps for reservations, and TripAdvisor for finding hotel/restaurant recommendations, or to see if a hotel/restaurant of interest is any good.
 

Bill Hark

EF5
Jan 13, 2004
1,254
171
11
51
Richmond Virginia
www.harkphoto.com
My list right now:

Phone -

- Radarscope Tier I w/Allison House data
- WDT WeatherOps
- Baron Critical Weather Intelligence

Tablet 1 -

- Radarscope Tier I w/Allison House data
- Baron Critical Weather Intelligence
- Torque PRO OBDII

Tablet 2 -

- WDT WeatherOps
- NWSChat Live/no map

Laptop -

- Baron Mobile Threat Net
- Baron Threat Net Map
- GRLevel3
- SpotterNetwork
- NWSChat Live

Note that I don't use the laptop in the winter season, and I rarely use two tablets at once.
You have a couple of apps that I am not familiar with and I'm curious how you use them with chasing. Those include WDT WeatherOps and Baron Critical Weather Intelligence. BTW, I still use Baron Mobile ThreatNet on my laptop.

Bill Hark
 
I didn't know Mping now takes severe wx reports. Are those monitored in real time for warning purposes? I'd say Mping would be a must-have app for all seasons if that is the case.
They can be pulled up in AWIPS so forecasters can use them and overlay them on radar or whatever else they would want. In my relatively limited experience at an NWS office, I've only seen this done during winter storms when trying to get ground truth for p-types. For severe reports, phone calls and social media (particularly twitter) were the primary sources of real-time reports. You usually can get more info through those two sources than you can others.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
6,906
416
21
49
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
Social media is not an effective way for realtime since it would require someone monitor that. Not all offices have 24/7 monitoring. SpotterNetwork is the fastest since 1) it's automatically lat/longed 2) it displays on GR software and 3) it's pushed into NWSChat rooms instantly so media / EMs / NWS / etc. all see it in realtime without having to run Tweetdeck :)
 
Social media is not an effective way for realtime since it would require someone monitor that.
While yes, there may be offices that don't monitor social media 24/7 for various reasons, and there are unique benefits to using actual reporting platforms, there are many offices that do monitor it and take the use of social media to relay and receive weather information very seriously. In the office I was at, monitoring and using social media was part of daily shift duties, especially during severe weather. Spotters, chasers, or anyone else can post images of whatever they're seeing which is extremely helpful to forecasters for so many reasons. Even if offices aren't able to monitor it for whatever reason during severe weather, they can still go back post event and use the social media reports for verification purposes. Some events can be poorly judged or measured, e.g., 6-inch diameter tree limbs down that are really 2-inches and dead, golf-ball sized hail that's really quarter-sized, funnel that's just scud, etc. Seeing images via social media can really help clear up those issues and give forecasters more accurate info. This isn't meant as an argument, but just FYI for those who read this thread: if you are able to, facebook or tweet info and footage to whatever office(s) you think you're closest to (even if you're wrong, they can still forward the info to the right one), and/or use the the state-weather hashtag combo (e.g., for Oklahoma: #okwx) for twitter. Offices that utilize social media will be very grateful.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
6,906
416
21
49
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
You're right in suggesting that social media is a good way to document it. I just wouldn't suggest using it as realtime information - again, that's why SN injects directly into the chatroom :)
 

B. Dean Berry

Moderator
May 25, 2014
261
67
11
You have a couple of apps that I am not familiar with and I'm curious how you use them with chasing. Those include WDT WeatherOps and Baron Critical Weather Intelligence. BTW, I still use Baron Mobile ThreatNet on my laptop.

Bill Hark
Baron CWI is a free smartphone app. WDT WeatherOps is available through WDT. Steve Miller (OK) can give you more information. It's a very robust platform.

weatherops.com
 
May 12, 2014
13
19
6
Rapid City, SD
I didn't know Mping now takes severe wx reports. Are those monitored in real time for warning purposes? I'd say Mping would be a must-have app for all seasons if that is the case.
I think it depends upon those working that day; I definitely have it overlaid in GR and RS even when working warning operations. Out here in western SD and northeastern WY, we monitor everything during severe weather given our low population density. In the late spring and summer we'll keep an eye on the chasers that are up here. Often the only people near a storm are chasers and we will use your reports (and appreciate them!)
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
2,986
1,498
21
Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
You're right in suggesting that social media is a good way to document it. I just wouldn't suggest using it as realtime information - again, that's why SN injects directly into the chatroom :)
I would think any respectable or reasonable WFO anywhere near the central Plains would have a setup where they are running GR and can see reports from all sources in real-time during the spring. Also, someone should be monitoring their FB and Twitter feeds during a severe weather event. I actually now prefer sending severe weather reports via Twitter because it's very fast, you get more-or-less direct access to WFOs (as far as getting their attention), and you can send images to corroborate your report (unlike SN or MPING).

During the "offseason" or in more remote locations, yeah, it might be better to use SN.
 
Aug 22, 2015
134
30
11
Hastings, Nebraska
I use radar scope, One weather, I have an SPC widget, chaser location, RadarX is a very cheap app similar to radar scope, Rapid Report, Satellite weather is a crude app the shows basic sat images, sea storm during cane season, and I extensively use Zello walkie talkie app to talk to my chase team.