Think back to a time before the majority of people carried a smartphone. How did we stay in touch with our friends and family, how did we find our way around, and how did we look up a piece of information? Obviously, we had other methods for doing these things, but the smartphone brought all of these functions together in one device, which most of us carry with us wherever we go.
In fact, 64% of American adults own a smartphone, and 68% use their phone to keep up with breaking news events. What’s more, up to 15% of smartphone users have limited options for online access beyond their devices, making it incredibly important for these users to receive information in this way.
It’s no secret that smartphones have revolutionized the way we live our lives today, and their place in our busy, on-the-go lifestyles is all but cemented. Since we rely on our phones to provide updated information for a variety of events, it’s not surprising that weather apps are among the most popular downloads in use. With their ability to push alerts to your phone in a timely manner, weather apps often provide important information sooner than you might have received it through more traditional methods such as radio or television.
Severe weather is a fact of life for those of us who live in the Tri-State, and with that in mind, Lieberman Technologies has compiled a list of apps designed to alert you in advance:
Local Weather Apps:
For local radio broadcasts on your smartphone:
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)
In 2015, the nation’s wireless carriers will roll out a text alert service that will push emergency weather alerts to your phone in real time, based on your location. These text alerts will come to your phone automatically, with no need for you to sign up for them or download an app. Alerts will be based on the location of your phone – meaning you will receive alerts for the area in which you are currently located – and broadcast by nearby cell towers. The initial rollout for these texts will cover dangerous weather emergencies such as flash flooding, tornadoes, extreme wind, hurricanes, ice storms, blizzards, tsunamis, and dust storms. Warnings related to severe thunderstorms will not be part of the service until later, although they will still continue to be broadcast traditionally through NOAA Weather radio.
Maximizing Battery Life
Getting the most from your phone during a severe weather event can be tricky if your phone’s battery isn’t fully charged when the weather turns nasty. Power outages can complicate the issue, since the severity and duration of the outage can sometimes be an unknown factor. If you find yourself in a situation with diminished battery capacity and no way to charge your phone, you can save precious juice by taking these steps:
- Access your phone’s settings and reduce screen brightness
- Switch to a ringtone over the vibration function for notifications
- Close apps you’re not using, including ones that use the phone’s location-based GPS (Exception: any weather monitoring apps you’re using to keep track of the weather)
- Disable all notifications except for the most necessary apps
- Switch your phone to “airplane mode” to conserve battery life by eliminating the search for Wi-Fi, 3G, and Bluetooth signals – you can switch back to regular mode to check alerts or make a call
- If you’re without power for an extended period of time, you can charge your phone in your car or with a solar or battery-powered charger
Often in the aftermath of a storm, friends and family will jam phone lines checking on loved ones. It’s always a good idea to check in following a severe weather event, since sometimes it’s chaos afterward. Still, if the power is out or phone lines are down, your options for checking in can be limited. Cell phone service may still be operational even if land lines are down, but that’s not always the case. Heavy call volume can overwhelm a network, making it hard to send or receive calls or voice mails. In a case such as this, you may still be able to reach out to others to let them know you’re okay via text message or social media posts.
Storm Safety for Your Tech Devices
While your phone might be your lifeline in the event of a severe weather emergency, don’t ignore your other tech devices. Laptops, desktops, servers, and other technology can be damaged by power surges, and you’ll want to take precautions to reduce or eliminate damage. After all, once the threat has passed and all is back to normal, you’ll want to be able to pick up right where you left off.
Have a favorite weather monitoring app? Let us know in the comments!