Jan 24, 2012

Tornado Safety Via Your iPhone

I talked with someone today who lives just a few miles from some of the devastation from the EF-3 tornado that struck Jefferson County, Alabama near Birmingham just two days ago. She didn't hear the sirens and I was surprised to find out that, despite the warnings by local meteorologists she didn't have a weather radio.  Another person nearby also didn't have a weather radio. They both, however, had iPhones, which gave them a cheap solution.

I wrote about an app called iMapWeather Radio right after the Super Outbreak of 2011 in my post entitled You Need a Weather Radio: Your iPhone Can Be That. This app will alert you with several beeps and the words "The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning" if there is a tornado warning. It also lets you decide which other watches and warnings you wish to be alerted for.  It also includes a radar map in case you don't have another app for that. (I personally like RadarScope for radar because it makes it possible to see tornados.) The iMapWeather Radio app, at $9.99, sounds expensive next to many of the $0.99 and $1.99 apps out there. But for the potential life-saving value, it's more than worth it...and it's cheaper than a dedicated weather radio.

Tips for Using iMapWeather Radio at Night
  • Keep your iPhone near your bed.
  • Check that the volume is loud enough before going to sleep by playing music or other continuous sounds. If you are not playing sound through the speakers, you may be just adjusting the ringer volume with the volume buttons.
  • Keep your iPhone plugged in, if possible, to keep it charged.
  • If you plug your iPhone into a clock radio or speaker system, make sure that it is set to play your iPhone through the clock radio's speakers. I put a Naturespace track on with a timer to make sure that my iHome clock radio is set to play at any time during the night there is a tornado warning.

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