For those living in areas affected by hurricanes, namely along the Gulf Coast of the United States, storm tracking, especially during hurricane season, is more than a hobby or pastime. For these people, knowing everything possible about a big storm coming in their direction can sometimes mean the difference between life and death or still having a house with usable possessions, or not.
Following the path of large storms used to require gathering around the radio listening to the weather updates. With the advent of television, one was able to watch a graphical representation of the projected and actual paths of a storm. Now, with the advent of smartphone technology, one can stay on top of all of the worst storms, and usually get the information much quicker than said information can be passed on by television and radio news outlets.
Text Message Storm Warnings
The National Weather Service is beginning to roll out a system that will send SMS/text messages to all cellphone owners in the path of storms that are the most damaging and dangerous to life and property. This is an automated service with no setup or fee for owners of most smartphones, although owners of older phones may have to update their phones’ operating systems with the newest software. Nothing needs to be done for owners of cellphones to receive these alerts, and users can opt out of these services if they don’t want to receive them.
This system is officially called, “Wireless Emergency Alerts,” and was developed by the wireless industry in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
WeatherBug: Desktop Weather Applet Goes Mobile
The WeatherBug desktop applet has been a very popular piece of software since its inception a number of years ago. Realizing the need for weather information on-the-go, the company (Earth Networks) has developed WeatherBug Mobile for iPhone users.
This is a fully customizable weather-reporting app for the iPhone that combines reports from the National Weather Service (NWS), as well as neighborhood level WeatherBug reporting stations so that users can always be ready when extreme weather, such as hurricanes, are in the forecast. The program features written reports as well as live HD camera feeds and pin-point locations for extreme weather.
The Weather Channel iPhone App
The Weather Channel iPhone App gives users the same information that can be found on the network’s website. As far as the Apple Appstore is concerned, this is by far their number one weather-related download. Users get a Google Maps image of a storm’s activity, along with live updates of radar, cloud cover, temperature, and wind speeds. The main downside of this is the advertising banners which pay for the program.
Go Weather: Track Violent Weather on Android in 3D
GO Weather is an excellent Android app for tracking weather of all kinds. The app server delivers timely and accurate storm information. The 3D interface makes it not only easy to read and visualize all of the information given, it makes it more enjoyable. And, even better, there are no banner ads to annoy users as they track weather.
IMAP Weather is another Android app for the weather buff or for those wanting to track heavy weather. This app is especially great for those that travel frequently and thus rely on their smartphone or tablet to get their information about inclement weather. One of the most informative aspects about IMAP Weather is that along with graphical and written weather information, upon demand, it can display real-time and recorded radar loops, tailored to the location of the device. No need to constantly configure where in the country the device is located, the app configures itself.
Some of these apps make use of the Internet, while others work off the SMS system. Check with your carrier to see what costs you may incur with phone SIM card plans. Keep your T-Mobile smartphone active with your life style!
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