After reading Chris’ post on preparing yourself for severe weather, I thought I might go ahead and chime in with some thoughts of my own regarding the tech behind keeping yourself prepared.
- Using a NOAA Weather radio with S.A.M.E. technology. I have to agree with this point, as staying alert is critical. And when you are fast asleep, away from your PC or not in a position where you would hear a mobile alert coming in, this is the best way to be prepared. And considering the ability to keep you aware of other civil defense emergencies, purchasing a unit makes a lot of sense.
Unfortunately, these types of radios are not playing your Top 20 count down, so in all likelihood, you will not be taking this with you when you are on the go. In other cases, perhaps you are in front of your computer, out of earshot of the radio – this means you need to have a means of staying alert that is a bit more adaptive.
- For Windows users, I recommend looking into a relatively new WeatherBug app with an amazingly small system resource footprint. It is known simply as WeatherBug Alert.
- For Mac users, the OS X application behaves in much the same way as WeatherBug alert as it only provides you with the current temp, a means of localized click-thru to the WeatherBug website and also alerts you to impending weather danger with its alert feature.
- And finally, Linux users now have an application as well, that can be found at Linspire’s CNR.
2. Understanding the difference between a warning and a watch. Once again, the chatter that submitted this to Chris Pirillo was spot-on. Things can get sticky really quick when you find yourself in a pinch and some scary weather terms are being tossed around. Thankfully for me, I was alerted with my WeatherBug Tempest application when a tornado came down a little too close for comfort. And because the application I was using clearly stated that it was a warning, not a watch, I was able to check to see if my immediate location was in any danger. I was also in a strong position to take any action as needed, as described in the post from Chris’ blog.
3. Your weather safety supplies. As the Red Cross has always said, have a safety kit and a safety plan to go with it. Chris’ post covers the basics, but I would add that having access to either a weather radio (see above) or even an Internet ready mobile phone can be really helpful. This way you can point your web browser to this mobile ready website and/or be in a position to receive to receive mobile weather alerts should the bad weather become worse and another alert is issued.
How do these weather alert technologies work, anyway?
As a the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a weather watch or a warning, this information is then broadcasted throughout the WeatherBug user network to WeatherBug software users and subscribers. This means users of WeatherBug widgets, gadgets, mobile alerts, the various desktop applications, mobile weather apps and even specialized pro-level options like WeatherBug Protect are immediately alerted to any incoming weather disturbances requiring immediate attention.
Weather alert technology working with GPS positioning.
Perhaps the next frontier for weather alerts is being able to alert users as they travel, using GPS based technology. As other companies are just beginning to explore this concept, WeatherBug already has a partnership in place with Magellan. The Magellan Maestro(TM) Elite 5340+GPRS unit provides users with live weather data and alerts, as they travel. Adjusting with the changing coordinates, this WeatherBug enabled GPS unit provides the most timely, accurate weather data available while the driver is on the move.