Mike's NBC-TV stories

This is NOT a Test! Apps for Emergency Weather Alerts

The severe weather the nation has had over the past week or so has resulted in lost lives and massive devastation. Being aware of bad weather is critical and the latest generation of weather warning apps can make sure we know of approaching danger with a level of accuracy never before seen.

First, you may not know it but most phones today automatically receive emergency weather alerts. Check your phone’s settings and notifications and you’ll see where to set them. It gets emergency alerts, but has to be turned on. Check with your carrier for specifics but when activated, you’ll get warnings automatically as they are issued. The system also sends out Amber alerts and, in dire emergencies, presidential warnings

If you want more weather information besides alerts, think about an app. I really like the Tornado Warning App from the American Red Cross. It’s free, works on Apple and Android devices and tracks a tornado as it approaches with step-by-step advice about what to do before the storm hits. A siren warning is built into the app and goes off when officials issue a tornado warning in your area. There’s also a customizable notification system to let friends and family know when the user is safe via social media, text, and email.

One More: My Radar. It’s a free app for all the major mobile platforms. It displays animated weather radar around your current location, allowing you to quickly see what weather is coming your way. For $3.99 you can include weather warnings and alerts, complete with push notifications, to warn you of severe weather in your area.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.