May 19, 2011

You Need a Weather Radio: Your iPhone Can Be That

The tornado Super Outbreak of 2011 was a reminder of the importance of having a weather radio for waking you up during severe weather. The morning of April 27, it was our weather radio that had us down in the basement as an EF-2 tornado passed just four miles north of us.

If you don't have a weather radio, or need one while traveling, your iPhone (or even your iPad) can be that for you, thanks to a couple of apps:
  1. iMapWeather Radio - This weather radio app sounds an alarm and then speaks the type of weather alert out loud (e.g., "The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning."), according to the apps web site. It allows you to turn on and off specific alerts so that you are not awakened by alerts you don't care about. This is the app is recommended by Birmingham, Alabama's, metereologist James Spann. In many markets, you can watch streaming video of local severe weather coverage. I haven't had it alert me yet because I only bought it today (May 19, 2011).  I waited until today because it was put on sale for free to the first 100,000 users.  It is normally $9.99 and may possibly never go on sale again.
  2. Weather Alert USA - A friend of mine has this and says it will wake you up. It only plays a series of tones so you have to look at it to find out what the alert is for.  It does have a lot of weather information (current conditions, 7-day forecast, radar, etc.).  It is also cheaper than iMapWeather Radio at $3.99 (as of this writing).
Whether you choose one of these apps or buy a dedicated weather radio, if you don't currently have something that will alert you (and even wake you up) during dangerous weather conditions, please take care of this as soon as you can.  These apps are an inexpensive alternative to a dedicated weather radio.

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