Will the UK August heatwave ever happen? These weather apps will tell you

woman walking through sunny field
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another week, another spell without a heatwave. Despite some scorching temperatures in July for UK residents, it's been an odd mix of rain, thunderstorms and occasional sunny spotlights for the nation ever since.

That is set to change, though earlier predictions of an August heatwave are feeling possibly less likely – or at least not immediate.

In early August, the Met Office forecast a return of the sunny spell we saw in July, though its latest forecast complicates things somewhat. From August 15-24, much of the north and west are set to still be experiencing "showers or longer spells of rain", and while the south is set to experience "drier weather" we can't rule out the odd "heavy showers or thunderstorms" either.

More optimism comes from the IPMA (Portugese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere), which predicts a searing heatwave across much of Europe in mid-August, crossing over to the UK by August 20. So we could yet get the summer heatwave we've been craving.

So if you're attempting to plan around the upcoming heatwave, or just keep track of any disappointing weather patterns until then, you'll likely need some good software to keep track of it on a day to day basis – and that's where we come in.

When there's a heatwave incoming, those of us in the UK – who are general used to grey skies and only mild sun throughout the year – tend to get a bit worried about preparation. Do we have any good summer clothes? Are we making sure we're out in the sun rather than stuck inside in an office all day?

Thankfully, the best weather apps can offer pretty accurate forecasts of the days ahead, and whatever phone, tablet or home computer you're reading this on, there is a host of options for you to consider.

Best weather app: CARROT Weather

Carrot weather app

(Image credit: CARROT)

CARROT Weather is a great weather app that (as of this year) throws in its basic features for free, with a lot of interface customization to help you cater results to your immediate needs. 

The main draw is the slightly snarky nature of the app's, uh, narrator? You'll get a more personal outlook on the wonderful or terrible weather you're experiencing – "Abandon all hope ye who venture out into this weather" – although smart cards also add meteorological information for those wanting a more serious deep dive into the weather conditions around them.

The premium version costs $19.99 / £19.49 annually, though the app is free to download on both iOS and Android for basic usage. 

Best free weather app for iOS: Apple Weather

Three iPhones side by side, showing weather information

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's default weather application is still quite a good option for iOS users. That's especially true since it started bearing the fruit of Apple's acquisition of Dark Sky – a hyperlocal weather app that's gradually being shut down as Apple integrates its best features into its own product. (It's now gone from Android, and will be banished from the Apple App Store at some point in 2022).

As of this year, you'll get a dynamic weather background that displays rain, sunshine, thunderstorms and the like, varying depending on the region you're looking at – along with detailed information on wind direction and strength, barometric pressure, and even a UV index!

You'll also get a "minute‑by‑minute chart that shows the intensity of rain or snow over the coming hour", offering essentially real-time updates on the weather outside.

With iOS 15 announced and available for public testing, the weather app is due to gain even more improvements soon, with more detailed animations for rain and snow, alongside push notifications for upcoming rain alerts.

Best free weather app for Android

You can use some simply weather widgets on any Android phones, to tell you the current temperature at your location, as well as a brief summary of the weather conditions (i.e. 'sunny', or 'partially cloudy'). However, there's a quick way to get a shortcut for the Google Weather app on your homescreen too.

Simply hold down the central home button at the bottom of your screen, and ask the Google Assistant to show you the weather. Tap on the temperature showed onscreen, and then hit the three lines in the top left corner, where you'll find an 'add to home screen' option. You'll get a simple overview of the weather and temperature for every hour of the day, as well as a general likelihood of precipitation.

By heading to the '10 Days' view, you'll also be able to see more information about wind, humidity, UV index and times for sunrise and sunset.

It isn't quite as dynamic as the Apple Weather app – thanks to its Dark Sky acquisition – but for a general and easy-to-use overview it shouldn't let you down. Of course, if you want something a bit more in-depth for Android, we'd recommend the CARROT Weather app listed above.

If you're simply checking the weather in the Google search engine too, there's a built-in widget that gives much of the same information from weather.com.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.