Nearly 200 people died last night as tornadoes touched down in five southern states. Here in Atlanta, thankfully, we came away unscathed. But that doesn't mean we weren't prepared for the worst. We were ready with our emergency gear and spent the night tuned in to local tornado alerts on the TV. But we spent the evening wondering: In this digital age, is there a way to get important official local alerts sent to our email or cell phone?
When severe weather hits, like last night's tornadoes, you're going to want to be ready. That's why it's good to have yourself tuned in to emergency alerts from your official local governments, no matter where you are.
Supplement traditional broadcast alerts, like TV and radio warnings, with email and text alerts sent to your phone.
Unofficial Alerts are Too Late
There's plenty of apps out there that will send you regular weather alerts. There's even a few that cater strictly to severe weather alerts. But they all have their faults.
Reviews of many weather notification apps say that they're too slow (Including the one pictured in this post, WeatherAlerts). Some won't give notice of an "impending" storm until well after the weather advisory has officially expired.
Check With Your Local County & State Websites
If you want the best alerts—something that will truly serve as a support to, and sometimes a replacement for, broadcast warnings—you'll want to check in with your local city, county and state websites.
Many municipalities and government authorities are offering their citizens the opportunity to sign up for digital alerts to their email or cell phone. Just check in with the emergency management websites of your local and state governments.
We've tracked down the links to sign up for alerts with the six major Apartment Therapy cities, but you can find your own by typing "city of [name] alerts" or "state of [name] alerts" into Google.
(Images: Weather@US iPhone app)