One Year Later – What You Need to Know

This Friday marks the anniversary of the devastating tornadoes that left their mark in Alabama. As tornado season comes rolling in this year, many people are taking severe weather more seriously. After many more tornado outbreaks have occurred all over the South and Midwest, scientists and meteorologists have developed technology that can save lives in the case of severe weather.

A few items stand out as necessities for the threat of severe weather. From apps and radios to new radar systems being used by meteorologists, here are a few technologies to familiarize yourself with as tornado season quickly approaches.


This simple, but powerful app tracks the user’s location to monitor any threats wherever the user is. The app is easy to use and only gives a warning for the user’s location. It gives hours of advance notice when there is severe weather, complete with maps and links to local TV partners for live coverage. The app can run in the background of the phone to monitor the weather and will only alert once it receives a notification. MyWARN was created in the wake of the April 27th tornadoes here in Alabama and is designed to prevent that from happening again. You can purchase this potentially life-saving tool on the iTunes store for $9.99. Click here for more information.


This system is not an app, but a personalized weather siren that uses text messages, email or phone calls to warn you when you could be affected by severe weather. This program is designed specifically for Alabama residents, and there is not subscription cost, although data and text messaging rates apply. Click here for more information and to sign up.

iMAP Weather Radio

This app offers location-specific alerts, for yourself as well as for your friends and family. You can set five fixed locations to alert you to dangerous weather in those areas. You receive alerts via push and voice notifications and you can view video streaming coverage of sever weather. The updated version conserves battery life to make sure you can receive alerts for as long as you need to.  This app is available on the iTunes store for $9.99. Click here for more information.

NOAA Weatheradio

This radio broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches and forecasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the nearest National Weather Service office. These radios can be purchased at any retail electronics store. For more information about a weather radio, click here.

This February, the Dual-Pol radar was installed. It is expected to provide a much more accurate reading of storm structures, particularly close to the ground. This new radar will be really helpful in predicting all sorts of weather: storms, tornadoes, rainfall and temperatures.

Thanks to digital and social media, new technologies spread like wildfire and make a bigger impact. People can share information, pictures and videos to hundreds of people in seconds. Taking advantage of social media in severe weather can literally save lives.

For more information about how this radar works, click here.

Click here to read “21st Century Storm Watch” from the Birmingham News.

Click here to read more about weatherman James Spann’s take on what we’ve learned from last year.