Dark Sky for iOS predicts the weather -- for the next 60 minutes

Now this is cool. The app forecasts the conditions for your exact location and tells you exactly what to expect over the next hour.

Dark Sky for iOS takes a different (and cool) approach to weather forecasts.
Dark Sky for iOS takes a different (and cool) approach to weather forecasts. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

The App Store is home to lots of weather apps, most of which are good at forecasting the upcoming days and even hours. But few excel at telling you what the clouds might bring in the next hour.

That's where Dark Sky comes in. This new app, the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, predicts the weather for your exact location for up to 60 minutes.

That could prove incredibly handy in a number of situations. For example, should you flee the beach in advance of those ominous-looking clouds? Nope, turns out they're going to blow right past; no rain expected. Should you go for your run now? Yep, Dark Sky says the shower won't hit for almost an hour. And is it done snowing? Not for another 30 minutes, so don't get out the snow-blower just yet.

The app is divided into three main areas. Up top, a graph that shows the intensity of the storm (and likelihood of precipitation) over the next 60 minutes. (Amusingly, if there's no bad weather where you are, Dark Sky says, "Clear skies are boring. Tap here to view a storm in [some location where there's an interesting storm].)

The middle section shows in big letters the weather conditions right now ("Rain, 61 degrees," for example) and what to expect in the next hour ("Light rain for 35 min"). You can flip up that panel to see the full day's forecast.

Finally, the bottom area is used to choose your current location or manually enter a different one.

Dark Sky gets even more interesting when you tap the Radar button up top. This produces a downright sexy radar map, with smoothly animated images you can scroll forward and backward in time. It's a really cool way to look at what's headed in your direction -- and what's already been there. I've never seen anything comparable in any other weather app.

Indeed, when it comes to forecasting the immediate-future weather conditions, Dark Sky stands alone. Though a bit pricey at $3.99 (compared with other weather apps, anyway), it's a must-have for weather junkies.

While you're at it, check out The Weather Channel's recently updated app . And if you don't want to buy Dark Sky until its price comes down, check out the ultimate app for finding free and discounted iPhone apps .

 

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