Blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe weather: How your phone can help

by Jeremy

Hurricane Season is still a few months off, but tornadoes and flash flooding can strike during any season. While we don’t yet have the technology to stop powerful storms from wreaking havoc, we have the technology to help prepare us for them. Your Android phone is a tool that allows you through the most significant events in your life, and severe weather is no exception, so long as you properly prep your phone and have a plan to follow it. We are here to help you, so let’s batten down the hatches and get the barn doors shut.

Weather Essentials

Regardless of the weather you’ll face when you step outside your door, there are some weather essentials everyone should have on their phones, and that starts with a reliable weather app. Whether you check your forecast once a day, once a week, or once an hour, a good weather app will keep you from getting caught in the rain — or the flash flooding they can bring with them.

There are dozens of weather apps on the Play Store, and while they have various layouts and features, the most critical aspect of a weather app can’t be reviewed for everyone: how accurate it is for you. Weather apps pull their data from various weather services; some are better in some regions than others. It’s essential to find a weather app that looks good and is accurate for your area so that you get the best forecasts and can be better prepared.

Going local: Find a meteorologist you trust

Many local TV stations have weather apps that offer up forecasting directly from their team of meteorologists. They may not be the newest or shiniest apps, but they may very well be the most accurate forecasting you can get, and they almost always offer live streaming during severe weather events. If they’re not streaming through their apps, rest assured they’ll be streaming on social media or the station’s website.

Make sure that you have a way to listen to what your local meteorologist is saying during a severe weather event. They will give you the most up-to-date information and warn anyone in the storm’s path more efficiently than a simple NWS alert from a national or international weather app.

Beyond having a weather app and a meteorologist you trust, there are a few other things that are useful to have on your phone at all times:

  • Get the number for your local Office of Emergency Management. The OEM runs the show and coordinates the response whenn severe weather or other disasters occur in your account. Find their number and put it in your Contacts.
  • While you’re at it, add in the numbers for all of your insurance companies — medical, auto, homeowners/renters, et cetera — because you might not have internet for a while after a big storm.
  • Keep a current photo of yourself, your loved ones (including pets), and your vehicles backed up to the cloud via Google Photos and stored locally in case the internet is down. It would help if you took this opportunity to take good, clear photos/scans of your insurance policies in case they get blown away or waterlogged.

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