Being weather aware is one of the best precautions you can take to protect you and your family. With the continual growth of technology, there are so many ways to receive information about weather, and not necessarily through radio and television. Free weather forecasts, alerts and updates can be relayed through mobile text alerts, email notifications, pagers and cell phone alerts (calls) but this is dependent on the terms of your subscription with your provider.
There are generally two types of weather alerts: a watch and a warning. A watch is an alert issued in advance of severe weather, when all weather conditions are favorable for the development of a severe weather condition. A warning on the other hand is issued when the severe weather is already occurring, or when it is imminent. It is good to distinguish between the two in order to know the steps that you will consequently take to keep safe.
Severe weather includes any weather condition that could pose a threat to human life, or can be destructive to property. This includes tornadoes, flashfloods, tropical storms, hurricanes, ice storms, blizzards, tsunamis, severe thunderstorms and dust storms. If you receive alerts via your cellphone, it is important to ensure that the phone always has connectivity in order to ensure that the alerts are always automatically updated.
It is important to monitor weather alerts in your location or a different location that you may be planning to visit. Extreme and severe weather can happen anytime, free weather alerts keep you informed so that the weather does not surprise you. These alerts have improved the method by which the government communicates to people, forewarning them of imminent weather related threats that are hazardous. This gives the population adequate time to prepare. This may include finding ways to escape or leave the location if it is a watch, or safeguard themselves say in their homes if it is a warning and there in no time to escape. These alerts also help one avoid locations that have already been affected by the severe weather, until the threat passes.
When subscribing to free weather alerts, it is important to do the following:
- Select a specific method of notification, say a light, a vibrate, an alarm or bell sound. Ensure that the method that you pick will alert you in case of a warning.
- Modify the notifications based on the severity of the weather; say for example a loud alarm for extreme alerts (such as tornado) and a phone vibrate for non-threatening alerts (such as wind warnings). You can also modify the notifications in such a way that you only receive alerts for severe weather.
- Get a contact list to warn family and friends in case of a weather alert that is severe and life threatening; in addition, post the alert on a social network (say Twitter or Facebook) to get the word out and warn other people who may be unaware.
- Put the application widget on your home screen for easy on/off toggling of sound settings, vibrate and lights. This way, you can keep an eye on it and not cause distractions say at a meeting, in church or in a class.
Being forewarned is being forearmed. Free weather alerts have equipped people with all the necessary information about weather forecasting, leading to the overall goal of protecting lives and property from the hazards of severe weather.