Digital life reporter Katie Humphrey covers all things Internet and culture, from apps and social media to goofy memes and studies proclaiming tech will doom/save us all. Chat with her on Twitter: @HumphreyKatie.

Weather the storms with smartphone apps

Posted by: Katie Humphrey Updated: May 9, 2014 - 11:40 AM

The snow is gone, but now Minnesotans are on alert for other kinds of nasty weather.

In the last day or two, it's been everything from torrential rain and hail to high winds and reports of tornadoes. Ah, springtime.

While an umbrella might be the most useful accessory, a smartphone is also helpful to keep up on whatever Mother Nature decides to throw our way.

The tech-review site The Wirecutter has detailed rundowns of the best weather apps for Apple and Android devices. Yahoo Weather tops both lists, earning praise because it's straightforward and attractive. Also, it's free.

In the emergency information category, the American Red Cross this spring launched a Flood App for Android and iOS. It has one-touch "I'm safe" messaging to alert family and friends and information about what to do before, during and after a flood.

The Flood App joins an already robust stable of emergency preparedness apps that provide helpful information for those coping with all kinds of natural disasters: tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires and more. The Red Cross says its apps have been downloaded on nearly 4 million mobile devices.

For those who want to help boost the accuracy of forecasts, the National Weather Service offers the mPING app for crowdsourcing weather conditions on the ground. Star Tribune reporter Bill McAuliffe wrote a story about it, explaining how the app helps meteorologists see below the radar.

Even if you're not an obsessive weather app checker, your smartphone may sound the alarm when severe weather nears. The Wireless Emergency Alert system broadcasts text message alerts to compatible mobile phones.

Finally, there's always Weather Puppy. A dreary forecast is easier to take with a dose of cuteness.

(Photo by David Joles)

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