Best free winter apps for people on the go

Three smart phones with useful apps - weather, traffic and first aid.

Images from multiple sources on Pixabay  CC0

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Here some apps you can download for free to get ready to face the winter months. These are handy tools you can use to get the latest data on the weather, road conditions, parking bans and other important information to keep you safe and ready for any emergency.

Weather apps

Stay updated with the latest weather news. These apps have been tested and have been found useful for any type of winter activity you may be planning for the day:

  1. Weather Underground – (for iOS and Android). This is one of the most comprehensive weather apps available. It has detailed hourly forecasts and a look at the week ahead. It also has the “First light/fast light” feature which tells you when it will start to get dark. A helpful tool when you’re out on the road.
  2. RainAware Weather Timer – (for iOS and Android). Whether you’re planning a trip, an outdoor event, or would just like to know if you need to bring an umbrella today, this app can tell you what to expect. If it’s going to rain, the app tells you when and for how long. It can also predict the path of local storms and provide a detailed view of the weather over the next three hours.

Dark Sky – (for iOS and Android. US$3.99). This app is not free, but it makes it to the list for being one of the most accurate sources of hyperlocal weather information. Dark Sky can predict snowfall in specific regions, when it will start, finish, and how heavy it’s going to be.

Traffic and safety apps

  1. 511 Manitoba – (for iOS and Android). This app provides the latest information on road conditions on Manitoba highways.
  2. Winnipeg’s Know your Zone – (for iOS and Android). You can find your City of Winnipeg Snow Zone letter through this app. Know when your street needs to be vehicle-free for snow-plowing and where parking bans are in effect through the app.
  3. Waze – (for iOS and Android). This is the largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Get information about traffic accidents, lane closures, traffic congestion, and other hazards in real-time. Connect to Facebook to see other friends driving to your destination.
  4. PaybyPhone – (for iOS, Android and BlackBerry). The app enables you to pay for parking without having to leave your vehicle. It also sends you a text reminder when your parking time is almost up.
  5. First Aid app – (for iOS and Android). Get lifesaving advice on-the-go. Get access to videos and step-by-step advice for emergency situations, from severe winter weather to tornadoes. Developed by the Canadian Red Cross, it is also fully integrated with 911 so you can call EMS from the app.

CAA app – If you’re a member of the Canadian Automobile Association (so technically, this app is not free), this app could save your life. It can deliver roadside assistance if you’re stranded with a dead battery or get stuck in a ditch.

Health and Entertainment

  1. Manitoba Live – (For iPhone and iPad. Requires iOS 6 or later). This app features the most up-to-date listings of venues and clubs in Manitoba by the Manitoba Music team. It is powered by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.
  2. WPL to go – (for iOS, Android, and Blackberry). Check your Winnipeg Public Library account and new books available without having to travel. You can also enjoy one-click access to downloadable audio and e-books.

Article updated October 26, 2022
Sources: The four best weather apps (plus a bonus for storm geeks), Graham Averill, Outside Online; The 7 best apps for winter, Sam Geapin, innovation enterprise; City of Winnipeg Mobile Apps. Updated February 12, 2019.

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