Technology Keeps You Safe in Severe Weather

All it takes is a trip to the Weather.com homepage and you’re quickly bombarded with imagery of severe weather, including tornadoes, dramatic lightning, damaging winds, and large hail.  Don’t believe me, have a look here: https://weather.com/storms/severe/  This time of the year, severe weather is a common occurrence across the country.  Heck, just today, there were severe thunderstorm warnings back in my hometown just outside of Pittsburgh.

It’s important to be prepared for severe weather and one way to do that is with technology.  There’s a multitude of different apps and gadgets that can get you through when severe weather is imminent.

The Pixel has emergency settings that allow you to control the volume and whether you get alerts at all. I recommend keeping them turned on and up!
The Pixel has emergency settings that allow you to control the volume and whether you get alerts at all. I recommend keeping them turned on and up!

First off, just having a newfangled phone is probably enough to keep you aware of any severe weather in your area.  Most phones these days go crazy when there’s a tornado warning in your area.  These alerts are typically on by default, but if you want to see the options, they’re likely under the sound category in settings.  Check them out there.  My phone, the Google Pixel, let me simply search for ’emergency’ in the settings section and up it popped.  I’d recommend keeping these on.  They’re often louder than you think you want, but also loud enough to wake you up from a deep sleep or power nap.

Weather Underground is a great resource and I love their graphs. They tell the story very well.
Weather Underground is a great resource and I love their graphs. They tell the story very well.

Secondly, having a weather app on your phone will help you keep track of the weather before it gets to you.  The Weather Channel and Weather Underground are both really good apps for casual weather watchers.  They’ll keep you up to speed on weather.  Make it part of your routine to open one of these first thing when you wake up.  If you like a more in-depth look at radar, RadarScope is a widely-used app for weather geeks enthusiasts.  You can find all of these on your app store.  RadarScope is not free, but The Weather Channel and Weather Underground are.  I really like the graphs on the Weather Channel app, personally.

The Mophie portable charger works really well and can recharge your phone back to 100%.
The Mophie portable charger works really well and can recharge your phone back to 100%.

If you don’t have a portable charger, go pick one up.  These are relatively inexpensive and will power your phone and other devices with portable juice.  They vary in size, but most of them seem to have enough power to get your phone back up to 100% charge and then some.  Verizon has a bunch of the Mophie chargers.  I had the opportunity to try one on loan last year and really liked it.  The one linked above even had charging tips for both standard micro-USB and Apple’s lightning connector.  Whether you have a portable charger or not, it’s pretty important to keep your phone charged leading up to severe weather.

In addition to these quick and easy tips, let’s run down a few others to prepare you for severe weather.  You never know when you’ll need them:

  • Your smartphone has a flashlight.  Make sure you can quickly turn it on.
  • Download a weather radio app for your phone… or better yet… get a weather radio.
  • Check out the power outage checklist from the Red Cross.
  • Keep in contact with loved ones, letting them know that you’re safe.
  • Don’t venture out into the storm.  I know that it’s amazing out there, but heading out into the storm or watching it outside can be dangerous.

Overall, there’s a lot of common sense involved when it comes to storms.  Local TV stations will keep you up-to-date on the breaking details of the storm and they’ll also share valuable insight, including where to go when storms strike.

With these tips and constant attention to the weather, you’re sure to be safe when weather strikes.

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