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RadarScope App | iPhone Review

Oct 11, 2011
RadarScope is the best weather radar app available for the iPhone. If you're outside doing yard work, attending a sports game or even monitoring severe weather, having access to weather radar app while on the go is a big plus to have for you and your family. Let's take a quick peek at what RadarScope has to offer.

RadarScope - iPhone

The RadarScope iPhone app provides the following visual products: Reflectivity, Velocity, Rainfall, Hail & Echo Tops, Dual Polarization, Storm Tracking and much more!

RadarScope - Warning PolygonReflectivity - The average user will use this component the most out of any other listed below. You are able to monitor rain, severe thunderstorms, snow or an approaching hurricane. Out of all the other radar apps, RadarScope offers the best clarity for viewing precipitation especially for the iPhone 4/4S models. You can easily determine where the heaviest rain or snow is occurring by using the color code legend at the bottom of the screen. The brighter colors represent the heavier rain/snow/sleet, etc.

Velocity - This product is somewhat more confusing if you don't have any meteorology background. Doppler radar can identify what direction and how fast water droplets (known as clouds) are moving. For instance, here (at the bottom left) is a radar shot of a supercell thunderstorm near Milwaukee on the iPhone. The red colors show water droplets progressing away from the radar (shown as the black circle at the far left of the image). The brighter colors in red advertise strong damaging winds traveling southeast. The green colors show droplets coming toward the radar shifting northwest but not as strong as the red colors. This type of signature indicates rotation within the thunderstorm that could produce a tornado. RadarScope helps determine if a tornado or damaging winds is occurring in or near your location.TVS - Tornado Vortex Signature - Velocity Radar

Rainfall - This product is helpful on measuring how much rainfall has fallen in a given area. You can measure one hour rainfall rates and storm total measurements for any area of interest.

Hail & Echo Tops - If you're on the road, hailstones can do a number on your vehicle. This feature is beneficial to see if thunderstorms are producing large hail. RadarScope can verify how high the storm tops are of thunderstorms. The higher the storm tops, the better the chances of them being severe. Remember, if your iPhone model is the 4|4S, the product images will be more crisp with better resolution than the older iPhone models such as the 3G|3GS.

Dual Polarization - This is a new feature just added to the RadarScope in 2011. Currently, the Doppler radar network across the country will be upgraded to allow Dual Polarization. This product and how it will work is somewhat complex but looks exciting. I'll add more on this later down the road.

iPhone App Users Note: You may notice numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 on some of the products. For example, Reflectivity 1, 2, 3, 4 is simply the tilt of the radar. In depth Reflectivity 1 represents the radar beam scanning the sky at the lowest elevation. Reflectivity 4 scans at the highest elevation. Reflectivity 2 and 3 is in between. The same goes for Velocity 1 through 4 and Storm Relative Velocity. Unless if you're a smart weather enthusiast, you don't really need to use the 2, 3 and 4 elevation scans. Just keep it at 1.

RadarScope - Location & Animation

RadarScope - Snow and LocationOne of my favorite features is you can track your location. Here is a visual of the February 2, 2011 Groundhog Day Blizzard across Wisconsin and Illinois. On the Reflectivity image heavy snow is falling across the area noted in green and yellow. The blue circle is your pin point location which is made possible by using your iPhone's GPS functionality.

RadarScope offers radar animation. By touching the play button symbol at the bottom of the app, the radar will animate all the products listed above to notify you if threatening weather is headed your way.

RadarScope - Storm Tracker, Warning Polygons & Spotter Network

Another key trait for the user is viewing severe, tornado and flash flood warnings. A warning polygon is displayed on the radar screen. You can take a step further by tapping on the polygon and it will direct you to a warning text screen produced by the National Weather Service. I was able to capture a radar image of a tornadic supercell (above top left) in west central Wisconsin. The app allowed me to view the severe thunderstorm and tornado warning polygon. In addition my location, noted by the blue circle, was displayed with the help of my iPhone's GPS. The Spotter Network and the newly added storm tracks functionality are nice tools to use. You can integrate storm reports, lightning and other features into RadarScope but this require an AllisonHouse subscription. However, the functionality is there if you decide to do so.

Storm Tracks - RadarScope - iPhoneThere are many iPhone weather radar apps available but nothing has come close to RadarScope. I have used this application for many storm chases and it has worked flawlessly. If I would have to point out any negatives the complexity to navigate through the different products can be a little annoying. The $9.99 price may drive some customers away and they may find another radar app that is more simple without the added velocity, echo tops and dual polarization. With that said, if you're looking for a weather radar app that does it all, RadarScope in my opinion is currently the best one for the iPhone with so many features available.

Note: In addition to being available on the iPhone, RadarScope is now available for the Android.


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