Weather reports and alerts are a mainstay of most live radio broadcasts, especially during drivetime, and there are plenty of apps that will deliver forecasts to your smartphone. However, updated local weather is more difficult to obtain on streaming services if you’re not just listening to a local station’s stream. Today Slacker Radio releases a new Weather Channel station that provides four daily local audio forecasts.
Each forecast will have current conditions, short and long range forecasts, along with severe weather information. Your default forecast is based on your zip code, but you can choose to receive weather from any market.
Streaming weather updates are available on a couple of other services, although not as widely as one might guess. The Weather Channel is also available on TuneIn for 22 markets, although only updated three times a day. Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio offers dedicated traffic, weather and news streaming stations for 20 major markets. Listening to the Chicago station, it sounds like the weather gets a daily update, at least in this market.
Noticeably absent is the National Weather Service, which operates a wide network of broadcast weather stations that can be tuned in using a weather band radio. But while many smartphones have FM radios, I don’t know of any that receive the weather band. The NWS does not stream any of these stations, however there are independent streams for many of them, although there’s no simple way to stream them, especially when in the car.
It would be useful to have the option to have severe weather alerts interrupt your Slacker program stream. This happens for broadcast, whether a live DJ does the read or the automated emergency alert system takes over and broadcasts the message. All the same, I look forward to checking the forecast for sun (and margaritas) in between Steely Dan and Ambrosia songs on the Yacht Rock station.