TOP 10 Free Apps to Help You Survive the Next Chicago Snowstorm

Are you ready for this next snowstorm to hit Chicago? Make sure you’re ready with our list of the TOP 10 handy, and most importantly, free apps to get you through the blizzards.  Also make sure to check out the Chicago Temperature All Time Records HERE.


Know what is going on


1.  Chicago Weather Center — iOS  |  Android

<> on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.When in doubt, Chicago turns to WGN-TV chief meteorologist Tom Skilling and his team to understand the weather. With the Chicago Weather Center app, you will have the latest forecasts and reports on current conditions from Chicago’s superman of meteorology with you wherever you go.


• Highly responsive interactive map optimized for 3G and WiFi performance
• Vertical and horizontal map display with looping
• NOWrad, the gold standard for radar in the weather industry
• Highest resolution satellite cloud imagery available
• Exclusive patent pending Road Weather Index
• Color coded weather alerts arranged by severity
• Fully integrated GPS for current location awareness
• Integrated compass overlay
• Most accurate 10 day forecasts with both daily and hourly detail
• Ability to easily save your favorite locations
• Full featured and user tested
• Weather Widget for unlock page


Don’t get stranded

2.  Winter Survival Kit – iOS | Android

If the snowstorm happens to strand you this weekend, the Winter Survival Kit app can help you get assistance. You can call 911, find your current location and store important insurance policy numbers and phone numbers in the app. The app also allows you to designate emergency contacts to alert in case you are stranded. While you take shelter in the warmth of your car, the app can also alert you every 30 minutes to turn off your engine and check your exhaust pipe for snow buildup to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, along with a calculator to estimate how long you can run your engine based on the gas left in your tank.  Should you find yourself stuck between a rock and a cold place, this app can help keep you safe.



Plow your driveway without getting off the couch

3. Plowz & Mowz – iOS |Android

Need your driveway plowed and don’t want to leave the comfort of your warm home? PLOWZ & MOWZ can bring the plow to you. It’s as simple as entering your address and the time you want your driveway cleared. A local plow provider will come by and plow your driveway, leaving you a photo of their work and billing you through the app so there’s no need to even get off the couch. You can keep the app on your phone through the spring too if you’re looking for someone to mow your lawn after the snow melts.



Have food and booze delivered right to your doorstep

4.  Grubhub – iOS | Android

5.  Eat24 Food Delivery & Takeout – iOS | Android

6.  Drizly – iOS | Android

You don’t want to cook and you don’t want to go outside – not in that weather. Never fear, delivery is here! If you can eat or drink it, you can get it delivered to your doorstep. Grubhub and EAT24 (powered by restaurant reviewer app Yelp) both have a great selection of food via pickup or delivery available to order at your fingertips. You can save your favorite eats and your credit card or Paypal info so you can order your go-to dinner right away, or you can explore what’s around you. Or maybe you’re up for something a bit stronger – and Drizly has you covered, with beer, wine and liquor delivery. As with any liquor purchase, you must be 21 to use Drizly. All three apps also feature tracking so you always know where your order is.  As with any inclement weather conditions, expect some delays and remember to tip your delivery driver with extra appreciation during the snowstorm!    In the city of Chicago, there are several apps that will deliver alcohol to your home and office. Why? Because innovation.

We found tests of four of the most popular services – Drizly, Foxtrot, Postmates, and Chicago-based Drinkfly– by ordering drinks from each at the exact same time. The goal was to determine the best product for our thirsty readers.    The clear winner. Yes, they were the fastest (at 21 minutes), but they also have the best and biggest selection. They’re also one of the two services, along with Drink Fly, that allows you to search by beer style, which is great for browsing and discovery.  The app features solid, simple UX and super easy user on-boarding. I loved being able to just hover my camera over my credit card to fill out the payment page. You can track your order, a feature shared by Postmates. They are also the only company that scanned my ID via an app and they delivered the beer in a branded bag. (Details, details, details).  SUMMARY: Drizly isn’t trying to be everything to everyone and oversaturate their category selection. They’re a booze delivery service and the product has obviously been refined around that one objective. They do beer delivery the best. FOXTROT:   Foxtrot’s a sexy app. Like Drizly, it’s got a super sleek UX and sign-up was done in a couple seconds. I was probably in and out of this app the fastest. Foxtrot’s also the only app that sent me a promo code for signing up. ($10 off).  On Foxtrot, you can also order food, ice cream, and lifestyle products, including grooming accessories, lipstick, and candles. These categories aren’t as complete as their beer and liquor offerings, but they’re obviously trying to diversify its product portfolio.  They’re also the only app to curate its selection. This is a bonus. I liked checking out their ‘Foxtrot Favorites’ and ‘Summer Sips’ sections. Content goes a long way.Foxtrot came in second at 35 minutes, but they didn’t offer driver tracking. If you desperately need to know how close you are to tasting the nectar of the Gods, go with Drizly or Postmates.   SUMMARY: This is a solid, easy-to-use app. A few features here-and-there and they’ll be neck-and-neck with Drizly.   POSTMATES:   Whereas the other three apps in the Challenge are focused primarily on alcohol delivery, beer is just one of many categories for Postmates. They’ll deliver everything. (Seriously). You type what you want into the app and a Postmates biker or driver will get it for you. (Craving a late night Big Mac? A Postmate will get it. Need stamps? They’re on it).   The disadvantage is that you have to go digging a bit for beer. On Postmates, you search for the seller/distributer first and then you can pick the product.   The advantage is that, unlike the other three apps, there’s no minimum. (For the others, it was $20). So if you just want one 24 ounce Tall Boy – cause America – Postmates is the app for you. Also, if you select Binny’s or Whole Foods, you can create a custom shopping list and you’re not restricted to what’s populated on the app. So if you’re aware of a brand new seasonal that’s hit the shelves, you can type it in.   SUMMARY: Postmates is unfairly penalized in this ranking because they’re not solely a beer delivery service; they need to develop its product around a wider industry rather than a niche sector. (They also had the highest delivery fee at $5.25, which was 25 cents more than the others). But we ended up spending less on Postmates because there was no minimum. So, if you just want a six pack or a big Lime-a-Rita, use this app. For bigger orders, use the top two.   DRINK FLY: Drink Fly has a ways to go. Unlike the other apps, Drink Fly doesn’t use its own drivers and simply connects you with sellers that do deliver, facilitating the transaction. (They’re like Amazon, but for booze). Perhaps we selected the wrong store, but our beer came an hour and half after the order. And it was the only beer that wasn’t cold.   The app was also the trickiest to use. You have to enter your address and information every time you sign in and I had to complete the order via desktop because the app kept freezing. Right now, it’s a little difficult to navigate through the steps.   But we’re rooting for Drink Fly. They’re Chicago-based and have some great ideas. I love the ‘Another Round’ feature which allows you to easily duplicate a past order.  SUMMARY: The clear #4, but we’re excited to see these guys grow and we’ll be covering their progress in the space.




Play some games to pass the time

Don’t let hay fever take over while you’re trapped inside by the snowstorm. If you’d like to pit your wits against your friends, try to keep dumb cartoon characters from dying, build a clan to wage war against millions of other players online, or simply get a chicken across the road, here are four games that can keep you occupied.

7.  Trivia Crack – iOS | Android

8.  Dumb Ways to Die 2 – iOS | Android

9.  Clash of Clans – iOS | Android

10.  Crossy Road – iOS | Android



BONUS   Catch up on your favorite shows

Make the most of your time at home by watching the latest season of that show you’ve always wanted to watch. Feel free to lay around with your tablet or phone in bed and indulge in a marathon of your favorites. Netflix and Hulu Plus are just two of many TV streaming apps out there. Check with your cable subscription provider to see if they have an app to watch shows you have on DVR, or check out the myriad of apps out on the Play Store or iOS App Store that can help you get your entertainment fix.

11.  Netflix – iOS | Android

12.  Hulu – iOS | Android

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