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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To get you more prepared and ready to face the winter months, here some apps you can download for free. These are handy tools you can use on the go to provide you with 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 that you are planning for the day:

  1. Weather Underground – (for iOS and Android). One of the most comprehensive weather apps available, with detailed hourly forecasts and a look at the week ahead. A great feature is its “First light/fast light” which tells you when it will actually get dark. This tool is especially helpful 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 provides you with an accurate forecast of what’s to come. It predicts the path of local storms and provides a detailed view of the weather over the next three hours. If it’s going to rain, the app tells you when and for how long.

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 apps

  1. Winnipeg’s Know your Zone – (for iOS and Android). You can find your City of Winnipeg Snow Zone letter through this app. Be informed when your street needs to be vehicle-free for snow-plowing and where parking bans are in effect. This app was developed by a Winnipegger, his story here: Winnipeg man develops “know your zone” app, CBC News.
  2. 511 Manitoba – (for iOS and Android). This app provides the latest information on road conditions on Manitoba highways.
  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 and you can see other friends driving to your destination.
  4. PaybyPhone – (for iOS, Android and BlackBerry) – Pay for your parking without having to leave your vehicle. By using your phone, you can pay via your credit card. It also sends you a text reminder when your time is almost up.

Health and Food

  1. First Aid app – (for iOS and Android). 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.
  2. Skip the Dishes – (for iOS and Android). A food delivery app that allows you to order for delivery or pick up from more than 300 restaurants all over Winnipeg (and other areas in Canada). Fast and efficient, average delivery time is under 45 minutes. You can even track your order via GPS.

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.

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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