Wunderground.com (Weather Underground) is an online weather site that offers current weather conditions, forecasts, radar and satellite maps, and air quality forecasts for cities and locations around the world. The site has developed the world’s largest network of personal weather stations, with over 10,000 stations in the US and over 3,000 around the rest of the world. The site offers the most up to date current conditions available on the Internet, with many locations being updated as often as every 5-10 seconds.
The site has a convenient search bar which accepts a city, state, zip code, airport code or country and returns a weather summary for that location, if available. Local conditions and forecasts are available for major locations worldwide, and in many small towns and cities in the US. The local summary includes current weather conditions, a detailed forecast, the current radar map of the area, airport conditions, weather extremes for the date and air quality information.
Wunderground also offers a mobile site and one for the iPhone which is accessed through a downloadable iPhone application. Premium members of the site can receive weather forecasts and alerts via email.
Wunderground started as a telnet service from the University of Michigan in 1991. It was started by Jeff Masters, then a graduate student at the university. The Wunderground.com site was launched in the fall of 1995 by Jeff Masters, Jeff Ferguson, Alan Steremberg and Chris Schwerzler. Alan Steremberg is currently President and Jeff Masters is Director of Meteorology.
The site has undergone continuous growth since launch, and currently has millions of unique monthly visitors.
Competition to Wunderground comes from sites such as Google Weather, Accuweather and Weather.com. Google Weather is free, but does not offer as much information as Wunderground. Accuweather and Weather.com both have free and premium memberships, and both offer email forecasts and alerts. Wunderground requires a paid membership to receive email forecasts and alerts, but has more up to date weather information, thanks to it’s network of personal weather stations.
The Wunderground site is cluttered, given the amount of graphical information displayed and the advertising, which is somewhat obtrusive. The site is responsive, however, and page loads happen fairly quickly. Animated maps take only a few seconds to load.
There is a slight learning curve involved in navigating the site, as there are a large number of links shown on the various pages. There is a top menu bar shown on most pages of the site which contains links to the most used features of the site.
Registration at Wunderground is free, and is required to use all of the free features of the site. The registration process asks for email address, password, and screen name. Validation of the email address is required.
Registration is free but a premium membership is available, which is required in order to receive email forecasts and alerts. The premium membership costs $10.00 per year. The site accepts PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express as payment for premium membership.
The Wunderground site could be useful for users who desire up to the minute weather conditions and forecasts for most locations in the US and major locations throughout the world. It is also recommended to weather enthusiasts who wish to view more detailed weather information from the thousands of personal weather stations which report data to the site.
Users desiring forecasts and alerts via email can get them for free at Accuweather or Weather.com, but they are available from Wunderground with a paid membership.