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1: Winter Survival Kit by NDSU Extension Service
Live in a particularly snowy region? Live in an area that doesn't often get snow? Have you already spent hours stuck on the interstate this winter and dread having it happen again? Set up Winter Survival before you head out. This app stores emergency contact information, along with important numbers like your mechanic and insurance company. If you get stranded, click the big red I'm STRANDED button (Figure A).
The app reminds you to turn the car off every 30 minutes to allow carbon monoxide to dissipate and features other helpful tips to stay warm and safe. It can calculate how long your car can keep you warm, and you can dial 911 from the app if your situation turns critical. I haven't had to use the app in a real situation yet, but having my emergency numbers (and insurance numbers) easily accessible through the app means I'll keep it installed even after winter ends.
2: NOAA Weather Free by N Studio
Many local news stations offer free weather apps that push severe weather alerts to your phone and provide the local forecast. These are invaluable for keeping up, and the best show your local weather blogs so you get a clear picture of what's to come. NOAA Weather Free (Figure B) offers local weather for pretty much any area and enables you to see weather details for specified other locations. The radar leaves a bit to be desired, but the hourly view has a great graph that shows many variables, including temperature and "feels like" temperature. The Forecast UI is simple and easy to read. This app doesn't have fancy graphics, but it has what you need to be prepared for the weather.
Available on: Google Play and Amazon.
3: Sunrise Sunset by Alok Mandavgane
If you exercise outdoors, Sunrise Sunset (Figure C) is a great way to schedule your runs when you'll be most visible. If you don't exercise outdoors, or at all, this app will at least give you hope that spring is coming (eventually). Watch as the sunrise time gets a little earlier every week, and the sunset time gets a little later. It's a basic app, but it does have some neat visuals of the planet's position and solar path.
Available on: Google Play.
4: NOAA Snow Forecast by WeatherSphere
If you're looking for highly targeted snow predictions for various locations, NOAA Snow Forecast (Figure D) might be what you need. This app lets you pinpoint spots to get hourly snowfall projections (as well as general weather predictions and NOAA warnings).
You can add locations by map address or contact information and customize the name and icon used to mark the spot on the interactive map.
5: Alchemy Classic HD by NIAsoft
Okay, so you're keeping an eye on the forecast, but you might still wind up stranded at an airport or stuck at home. Alchemy Classic HD (Figure E) is a fun little app that will help you pass the time. Drag items on top of each other to create new items. As you play, combinations get more difficult to determine, and more possibilities and categories open up. Game play is simple, but the quests get pretty hard. This little game will take your mind off the snow for a while.
Available on: Google Play.
What apps have proven useful as you've dealt with tricky travel and harsh winter conditions? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.
Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conducting science experiments at home. Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Transylvania University, and has experience in copywriting for education, print, business, and the web. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter via @HuTerra.