As many of us are still in the grips of the big freeze, or "snow chaos" as the newspapers like to call it, getting out and about can be tricky. No one wants to be caught in a blizzard or sliding around on the ice like a particularly uncoordinated Z-lister on a celebrity skating TV show. That's why it's a good idea to check the weather before you go out to see what's waiting for you outside the front door. Apps that let you check the weather are a godsend in these chilly times, but which are the best? We've put together a list for all the iPhone users out there.
Met Office Weather (Free)
If you're in the UK, then chances are you'll be able to see a wintery wonderland out of your window at the moment. But will it ever melt? And is there more on the way? The most reliable source of weather predictions is almost certainly the Met Office. As the the UK's national meteorological service, the Met Office is well placed to offer accurate weather info.
Along with 5-day forecasts, the iPhone app offers daily national and regional weather maps along with a UK rainfall radar and satellite imagery. What's more, you can save and access your favourite locations so that you can automatically check what the weather's like where you are or where you're planning on spending Christmas.
Weather+ Free (Free)
If you're after a comprehensive app that'll fill you in on all aspects of the weather, no matter where you are, then look no further than this free app. Weather+ offers attractive full-screen graphics along with standard readings such as temperature and general conditions, and more detailed readings such as wind direction, wind speed and humidity.
You can also switch the readings between Fahrenheit and Celsius and miles and kilometres. You'll get three-hourly weather forecasts for up to 5 days and you can set your cities all over the world as your favourite locations. You simply swipe the screen from left to right to switch between your saved locations. A great all-rounder.
Weather Quickie (Free)
This is a great choice for those who like to keep it simple, rather than trawling through copious amounts of weather-related data. If all you want to know is whether today will be warmer than yesterday, then Weather Quickie is the app of choice for you.
The GPS-enabled app plots your location and then tells you if the weather will be warmer or cooler than it was yesterday, or whether it'll be about the same. You can also check tomorrow's weather, compared to today, and the app will let you know if there's rain or snow forecasted so you'll know whether to wear a mac or don a pair of snowshoes.
The Weather Channel (Free)
Based on the well-known TV channel, this app enables you to check the current weather, or check out the hourly update, the next 36 hours or the next 10 days. Current conditions are given in lots of detail including temperature, UV index and humidity, as well as sunrise and sunset times. The app also uses Google maps for faster panning and zooming.
The Weather Channel app didn't automatically pinpoint our location at launch - we had to select it manually. It seems that the map is designed primarily for use in the US, although it did find us in the end and gave us all the relevant weather-related info. There's also an option to post the latest weather directly to your Facebook page.
Weather HD: Christmas Edition (59p)
This is the top-selling weather app in many countries, including the US, and offers a stunning way to check for weather updates thanks to its use of high-def videos. As well as showing the current forecast, the app shows a video in the background depending on the predicted weather conditions for that day.
You can navigate between cities by swiping the screen left and right, with the app offering information on temperature, general conditions, humidity, chance of rain and wind speed and direction. You can get an hourly update, or check the weather for the next few days. With its beautiful HD videos, this is certainly one of the nicest weather apps to look at. The Christmas Edition offers themed videos for the holidays, to get you in the festive spirit.
This all-encompassing app offers local forecasts for all global locations, either on the hour, for the day's 24 hours, or daily forecasts for the next 15 days. The app uses interactive Google maps and you can store up to 15 favourite locations that can easily be switched between.
There are warnings for severe weather conditions such as snow, ice, high winds and thunderstorms and you can also check less scary sounding "lifestyle" options such as the Hair Frizz Risk and air quality conditions for people with allergies. The app will let you know if the weather is specifically suitable for a number of outdoor activities including dog walking, lawn mowing and golf.
Umbrella - The Simplest Weather Forecast (£1.19)
Sometimes the simple ideas are the best - and that's precisely the basis for this app. As the name hints, it answers one simple question every day - will you need an umbrella? Along with a simple daily forecast including the conditions, temperature and chance of rain, you'll also get a big YES or NO as to whether you'll need an umbrella or not.
If you want to be kept up to speed with the latest umbrella-based news without having to manually check the app, you can alter the settings so that the app texts you to tell you whether you'll need to bust out the brolly. You can choose the time and days of the week that you receive these to make sure that you're not disturbed by a barrage of texts telling you to take your umbrella out with you when all you want is a lazy day in bed.
World Aviation Weather (£2.39)
This is a great resource if you're after detailed weather information and is also a good indicator as to whether your local airport is up and running or closed due to weather conditions such as snow. The app uses real time aviation weather data and breaks it down into easy-to-read snippets in order to keep you in the picture.
Although it can't be used as an official aviation weather briefing tool, World Aviation Weather is a handy source of info and you can also email weather details to your friends and family, directly from the app. The app uses data from nearly 7,000 airports across the globe and could be a vital travel tool, as well as a weather checker.
Thermometer Free (Free)
If you simply want to know what the temperature is then, as the annoyingly catchy marketing slogan goes, there's an app for that. No prizes for guessing that Thermometer Free is an app that effectively turns your iPhone into a thermometer - for free.
Obviously, it doesn't actually turn your phone into a thermometer - it simply gives you a location-based reading of the outside temperature, in the form of a handy graphic. One advantage is that the picture offers both Celsius and Fahrenheit readings simultaneously, without you having to delve into the settings menu.