Issac looks poised to pound the Gulf coast as either a low-grade hurricane or a strong tropical storm. Either way, there’s bound to be a mess, and despite the numerous warnings, a lot of people who needlessly suffer. In Oklahoma, we’re used to some severe weather. So much so that when we have tornado warnings, there’s a number of people clamoring to get some great footage.
One of the tools we’re warned to have is a weather radio, which can provide warnings for severe weather. While not as reliable or maybe even loud as a NOAA weather radio, your Android has some apps, which can help track the storms or provide a safety net.
My favorite weather app comes from The Weather Channel. The free app provides everything you need to know about the weather, including giving you severe weather notifications. The easy-to-use interface gives you the ability to add a number of cities (I have 10) and long for cooler or warmer horizons.
Next is my all-time favorite, go to emergency alerts weather app, OnGuard Weather Alerts ($1.99). When we had a rash of late-night tornados this year, I got tired of waiting up until 2 a.m. to find out whether my home in the Oklahoma City suburbs was going to be wiped from the map. My poor foresight in purchasing a weather radio resulted in me rushing about to find a suitable alternative to use on my phone. Hence, I tested a few apps and discovered OnGuard Weather Alerts.
When issued, the app will send severe weather alerts (audio or vibrate) to your Android device. You can program the app to monitor a single location or follow you via your device’s GPS. This will, depending on your alert and volume, send a pretty solid warning and wake you up. Caution though, although it’s a handy app to have nothing replaces a NOAA-certified, programmable weather radio.
In all honesty, the only app that comes close in my opinion to TWC app is WeatherBug (free and $1.99). This app offers many of the same features as TWC app, without a lot of the same “clout.” My chief complaint with the app was that it wasn’t as clean as TWC’s app, therefore I stuck with TWC. Now, designed changed, but old habits and loves die hard.
Finally, don’t forget to check out your local news station’s app. It’s likely that if you’re in a severe storm and the power is out, you’ll be able see what’s going on through the television station. We’ve watched the news many times from my Android phone after a storm knocked out power or satellite service.
Update: shortly after posting this, I launched Google Reader and there on the front page was this blog post from Android Central about SeaStorm for Android. While I haven’t played around with this app too much, it is pretty cool, especially for those cities situated near tropical storm hotbeds. Obviously by the name, it’s only geared to sea storms in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific.