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Rain in Exactly 12 Minutes — Medium

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Soon I, too, succumbed to the four-dollar temptation, adding Dark Sky to my weather folder along with Solar, Yahoo, NOAA, and (embarrassingly) Weather Puppy — all of which keep me connected to what’s happening with winds and tides in a way I’ve found myself needing since that night alone with my radio during Sandy. It’s not just me: the American Psychological Association recently released a report on the psychological effects of climate change. Spoiler alert: We’re all screwed. PTSD, depression, anxiety, and aggression are just a few of the delightful moods we can look forward to as the weather grows more variable and intense.

I suspect our extreme emotions are largely due to our inability to escape. While the U.S. reported a record 14 billion-dollar disasters in 2011, and 11 disasters in 2012 that totaled an even greater sum, 2013 set a global record: 41 billion-dollar disasters, including droughts in Brazil, flooding in Central Europe and Northern India, and Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillippines — the last of which may be the strongest hurricane ever observed. Statisticians haven’t yet swung in to measure 2014’s damage, but according to Oxfam, each year since 2009 has been among the top 10 most expensive on record in terms of weather damage.

In such a world, nowcasting — a strategy other apps are also adopting — offers the user an illusion of power that seems to get at the heart of why we like weather apps so much: Weather forecasts fulfill our inborn desire to know what’s going to happen, thus giving us a semblance of control; weather apps put that power in your pocket.

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