Investigators have found that the use of media can save lives during bad storms. But which media should you follow? Don’t depend on just one source of info, such as a weather app. Have multiple ways of receiving weather information, especially when weather turns potentially dangerous. Own a NOAA Weather Radio. Own a few weather apps that notify you when a warning has been issued. Be aware of great weather websites and individuals to follow via social media. Tuning into your local television station for live weather updates is critical. They understand the area, the roads, the places, and the terrain. Follow the links below to learn more about great sources you can use when weather turns dangerous:
If you don’t own a NOAA Weather Radio, get one. There seems to be a generational gap between the ages of 20-40 and 50+. Younger people depend on their smart phones or weather apps for weather information. Older people still rely on television and NOAA Weather Radios. I know from experience that very few people in my age group (20-30) own a weather radio. But they should own them. A NOAA Weather Radio can be programmed for your area, and it will notify you through a loud alarm if a warning has been issued. Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. It broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can purchase weather radios at many retail outlets, including electronics, department, sporting goods, and boat and marine accessory stores.
For more information regarding programming, purchasing, and learning more about a NOAA Weather Radio, please visit the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards page.
Our friends in Canada can also purchase a weather radio as signals are sent through most of the country. For more information on Weatheradio Canada, please visit this link.
Another great compliment to the NOAA Weather Radio is the iMap Weather Radio Application that you can purchase on an iPhone or any Apple product. This application should be available for Android products in the near future. This application uses GPS technology and can alarm you when warnings are issued in your area by the National Weather Service. You can purchase this application, which is available through the iTunes store.
Radar apps: PYKL3 Radar, RadarScope
Other apps for warning notifications and so on: iMap Weather Radio, Simple Weather, and MyWarn
Follow these sources on Twitter for critical weather information. When it comes to posting real-time information of any kind, Twitter (and Google+) are much better sources than Facebook. If you use a TweetDeck or similar tool, you can create a “list” of some or all of the sources below; in other words, you can bring them all into a single feed that will be easy for you to follow.
The National Weather Service is a critical source for severe weather information. This organization actually issues the warnings in your neck of the woods. On Twitter, there are various National Weather Service feeds for different parts of the country. If you are looking for a great go-to resource, look no further than the National Weather Service: the actual people issuing the warnings.
Don’t see your city on the list? Search “NWS[city name]” and see if it comes up.
Finally, here is my recommended list of active meteorologists/groups in the field. These people do a great job updating their social media feeds with vital weather information. I know I won’t remember to include everyone on this list. If you know of a source of a great weather information on Twitter, be sure to mention it in the comments below.
@simpsonwhnt (Huntsville, Alabama area)
@wxbrad (Charlotte, NC)
@BradNitzWSB (Atlanta, GA)
@reedtimmerTVN (storm chasing information)
Finally, feel free to follow me for national/global news at: @mattdanielwx. Or, specifically for North Georgia weather information: @athensgaweather
Bottom line: Always have several sources for weather information. This post talks about what NOAA Weather Radios can do for you, and explains how to get one. It also suggests sources to follow on Twitter. Another vital source during dangerous weather situations is your local television station, which understands your area, the roads, the places, and the terrain. Use several forms of media to get the information you and your family need, and stay safe!
Matt Daniel is Meteorologist for WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama. A self-described "big weather and music geek," Matt has a passion for helping to keep people safe when severe weather strikes and says if you don't have a NOAA Weather Radio ... you should get one.