Stormy summer? Believe it or not, there are apps for that, too. Last night during a deluge, I found myself going to my iPhone 4 many times for many reasons, and that got me thinking about handy apps to peruse while watching the storm coverage on TV or just sitting stunned on the front porch as the rain came down.
WeatherBug Elite (99 cents): As the TV meteorologists talk about how much rain is pouring down and where, I like to follow along -- or bounce to specific areas they might not be talking about at that moment -- on this app. WeatherBug Elite provides live local weather conditions and forecasts, tapping into the largest network of professional weather stations nationwide. There is a free version of the app, too.
Twitter (free): Twitter explodes during storms as people share their photos, videos and other observations as events unfold. Micro-blogging can be a fascinating way to get news in real-time. There are loads of Twitter apps out there with varying features, functionality and interface aesthetics. The official Twitter app gets the job done just fine.
Flashlight (free): During those first few minutes when the lights go out and you're fumbling around for a real flashlight, it's nice to be able to use a flashlight app on the iPhone for some quick temporary light. The LED flash on the iPhone 4 is particularly brilliant under these conditions, but even apps that illuminate the screen with bright white light are useful until you can fire up some candles. There are lots of these programs on the app store, including a free one that lights up the iPhone 4s LED flash and the screen from John Haney Software.
SAS Survival Lite (free): With the potential for cars to be trapped on interstates, streets flooded and power failures, it dawns upon me how drastically unprepared I am to endure beyond the creature comforts of my urban lifestyle. No problem: the "lite" version of SAS Survival, based on the bestselling book, details basic survival strategies, photo galleries of cloud spotting and nightsky navigation and other resources. The full version of the app costs $6.99.
Explore further: Meet the new old thing—mobile messaging