By Carlos Wilson on Tue, 06/04/2013
The tornadoes sweeping across the Texas plains and hitting Oklahoma mid-May reminded us that when a natural disaster rips through a community, the situation can turn deadly. But if you have an inkling of where and when severe weather is going to hit, you have a chance to take safety measures to protect yourself and your loved ones.
The App Store is flooded with all kinds of weather apps, but ones that only tell you the temperature are of no use in an emergency. To stay safe, you need apps that can give you early warnings about extreme conditions in your specific location. We have rounded up five of the best apps, which taken together can help smartphone users get a head start in case of severe weather.
1. Tornado (Free) by American Red Cross
During the last decade, several devastating tornadoes have lashed the shores and plains of America. If you live in a location affected by storms, Tornado by American Red Cross is a good free app to download. The best part of this app is that is does more than just send alerts about the weather conditions – it has quizzes that help you know more about how you can deal with tornadoes. It helps you find shelters after the storm, lets you make emergency plans in case you are hit by a storm, and has loads of information you can access offline.
The only hitch is it doesn't issue an audible warning if your iPhone is on silent or vibration mode. All the same, this app is worth the little space it takes in your iPhone.
3. AccuWeather - Weather for Life (Free)
1. Automatically checks your location and updates weather conditions every 5 minutes (without being too intrusive);
2. Can be customized to focus on specific weather conditions;
3. Automatically and emphatically pushes serve weather notices without delay.
This means you will always be aware of any weather problems in your area. Other features like social sharing and contact location sharing allow you to track and share the weather condition in the location of your friends and relatives also. The free version will have some ads, but not too many. If you don't like them, you can get the paid version for $2.99.
If you are not in U.S., then this app is not of much help, but if you are in America, this is one extremely helpful app. Severe weather conditions are not the only disasters that hit communities. Nixle allows you to choose any of 4600 government agencies in US – through the app you can receive alerts and warnings from any of them. Not only can you subscribe to local agencies, but you can subscribe to agencies around the country. Having this app in your iPhone and subscribing to the right agencies ensures that you receive any warning fast.