Apps That Can Help During a Storm
Being aware of how a storm is progressing is an important part of being prepared and safe. Although having a battery operated or hand-crank weather radio during a storm is essential, there are several smart phone apps and tools that can help you before and after a severe weather event. All of these apps are available for download in your preferred app store.
HURRICANE BY THE AMERICAN RED CROSS (Free)
“Be ready for severe weather with Hurricane by American Red Cross. Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe – a must have for anyone who lives in an area where a hurricane may strike or has loved ones who do.”
HURRICANE TRACKER ($2.99)
“Hurricane Tracker is the most used and most comprehensive tracking app available on any platform. Daily audio tropical updates. Exclusive Long Range Threat Graphic with percentages. Exclusive “Model Watch” product - check often to see what might develop next. Stay ahead of the storm. Real time National Hurricane Center Updates (All NHC advisories and maps) Share information with friends/family via email, SMS, Facebook and Twitter. NOAA Weather Radio.”
THE WEATHER CHANNEL (Free)
“Accurate forecasts and timely local weather alerts. Detailed Current Conditions: Get “feels like” temperature, heat index, humidity, wind speed, and more. Weather Maps: Fast-loading radar maps show past and future doppler radar. Severe Weather Alerts: Stay safe with real-time National Weather Service notifications of severe weather including severe weather warnings about lightning, hail, flooding and severe storms.“
“The FEMA app is your one-stop-shop with tools and tips to keep you safe before, during, and after disasters. Stay updated with weather-related alerts from the U.S. National Weather Service. Upload and share your disaster photos to help out emergency managers. Save a custom list of the items in your family’s emergency kit, as well as the places you will meet in case of an emergency. Get tips on what to do before, during, and after over 20 types of disasters. And locate open shelters and where to talk to FEMA in person at Disaster Recovery Centers.”
“ReUnite® is a post-disaster family reunification tool. It is primarily intended for use by the general public to report missing and/or found people to the site. However, we encourage its use by emergency managers, disaster camp coordinators, disaster relief organizations, and medical aid and relief workers who are assisting in family reunification efforts after a disaster. The app includes on-device encryption of missing/found person records stored on the device.”
ADDITIONAL APPS THAT ARE HELPFUL
This app can be helpful if you need to evacuate and are looking for information on traffic or alternate, safe routes.
“Just by driving with Waze open, you're already contributing tons of real-time traffic information to your local community. You can also actively report accidents, police traps and other hazards you see on the road. Get road alerts along your route and find the cheapest gas prices around you shared by the community. Plus, you can add friends, send locations or keep others posted on your arrival time.”
You can scan (or take photos) of all your important documents and store them in Dropbox, which can also be accessed from any computer. Additionally, you can take pictures of all your belongings and the condition of your home before and after a storm and store them in this app.
“Dropbox is the place for your photos, docs, videos, and other files. Files you keep in Dropbox are safely backed up and you can get to them from all your devices. It’s easy to send large files to anyone, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account.”
ADDITIONAL SMART PHONE FEATURES
Many devices are equipped with flashlight capabilities that can be helpful in a pinch.
Check to see if your device has an application where you can store medical records, medication lists, and other information that might be vital to emergency personnel if you need to be treated during or after a storm.
Being able to alert friends and family that you are safe after a storm has become a valuable tool after severe weather.
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Before a storm hits it is a good idea to take video or photos of your belongings and the condition of your property to aid in processing insurance claims after damage has occurred. Most devices give a time or date stamp to these photos or recordings.
Your smart phone or other device can be a valuable asset in a severe weather emergency. Always have a back-up (battery powered radio) and keep your device protected in a plastic bag. Google how to increase the battery life of your particular device by doing things like disconnecting Wi-Fi (if not available), closing apps, and turning off other apps that may use more battery life. Additionally, investing in a power booster for your device can be a way to keep you plugged into these resources for a longer period of time.