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A screenshot of the app MyRadar. / Aviation Data Systems

As a blizzard gets ready to bear down on the Northeast, many residents from New York to Maine will be paying close attention to weather forecasts.

Even if you're in warmer, calmer climates, it never hurts to keep a weather app handy on your iOS or Android device. Here are three good, free apps for checking those forecasts.

The Weather Channel (Android version). They might not be the best at naming winter storms, but their app is great at tracking them. Users can break down forecasts by the hour, 36 hours or 10 days. Users can plug in their location to track storms moving through their neighborhood, and receive Push alerts for severe weather. There's also a great social element where users can view weather-related Tweets in their region or photos using iWitness.

AccuWeather (Android version). Daily forecasts include "real feel" temperatures so users get a sense of how cold or warm it feels outside. Along with the standard videos and storm maps, it also boasts a Lifestyle section that gauges conditions for outdoor activities. For example, tonight might be a "Fair" night for stargazing, but "Poor" if you want to go jogging. It also assesses health risks for flu, arthritis or other ailments.

MyRadar (Android version). Users seeking live radar will find this option satisfying. Maps update every 10 minutes, so users get a very accurate look at how a storm is marching through. The app lets you layer temperatures over each map as well. The paid version ($1.99) adds a hurricane tracker and National Weather Service alerts for severe weather.

A word of caution on these free apps: they feature a lot of advertising, so tread carefully as you navigate.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Three free apps for tracking the weather

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