April showers bring May flowers to Oklahoma–but they also bring the risk of severe weather to our state. When severe storms hit, most people flip on the TV or turn on the radio to check our local forecast. But for those of us kept busy with rehearsals, practices, and classes, it can be difficult to get accurate weather reports. Here are some apps designed to do just that: alert you when severe storm is in the area, and tell you when it’s safe to stay out, and when it’s time to take cover.
1) 4WarnMe (KFOR News Channel 4, Apple and some Android products, Free)
This app allows you to track local weather and Oklahoma weather-at-large on your iPhone or iPad. The app includes live weather streaming, so you can watch the forecast wherever you are. The app also provides users with alert updates from the National Weather Service. One promising feature: users can enter an address and receive a forecast for that exact location.
2) WeatherApp (News9, Apple and Android, Free)
This app is usually $9.99, but has been reduced in price due to the severe storm season. The app offers local forecasts, live Doppler radar, and a sophisticated system of weather alerts. The app will track the weather in up to five locations (so you could check on your home while keeping track of the weather on campus). The app will send alerts during severe weather to warn users of National Weather Service updates. Finally, during life-threatening severe weather the app will send users alerts via voice and push-notification updates, warning them to take shelter immediately. This feature is enabled even if the app is closed on the device.
3) KOCO App (News Channel 5, Apple and Android, Free)
News 5’s weather app is included within the larger app package. The weather app’s radar system has recently been updated, allowing more interactive features on the real-time Doppler radar. The FirstAlert system on the app promises up-to-the-minute updates on weather conditions.
4) Dark Sky (iOS, $3.99)
This app, created by a KickStarter campaign, is dedicated to absolutely precise, moment-by-moment forecasting. This weather app can be programmed to find the weather minute by minute for your exact location, and gives hourly updates about local weather. The radar is easy to read and follow, and the maps allow you to see across a wide area, or pinpoint to your own location.
5) Weather Underground (Apple and Android, Free)
This app relies on over 30,000 amateur and professional members who update the status of weather for their area. These users post in real-time, allowing readers to see exactly what sort of storm is coming at them, including pictures and video footage. Users can verify these posts, affirming the weather in their area. The app is also attached to National Weather Service updates, and will post alerts through notifications in your area. Another useful feature: you can schedule the app to send you hourly forecasts, letting you know what to expect later in your day
6) RadarScope (Apple and Android, $9.99)
If you’re a severe weather junkie, this app is the one for you. A slightly higher price grants you access to incredibly detailed radar maps (the same ones that meteorologists use). This app is a favorite of the weather service and meteorologists, who appreciate it’s accuracy and detailed maps of severe storms. You can play with the settings to see detail of the storms, velocity of winds, and many other features. This app also offers detailed alerts about the exact conditions of severe weather in your area.
If you’re a born-and-raised Oklahoman, or a freshman from out of state, it’s absolutely vital to keep track of the quickly changing weather conditions in Oklahoma. Download one of these apps today, and make sure to check it when severe weather hits. It could save your life.
UPDATE: Kenna Griffin, mass communications professor at OCU and longtime Oklahoma resident, has another app suggestion:
7) ATs Weather to Go (Aaron Tuttle, Apple and Android, Free)
Aaron Tuttle, a respected meteorologist, updates this app, which Griffin notes for being non-alarmist. The app features current weather conditions, forecasts, live severe weather coverage, a user-friendly weather discussion, and a tool that allows you to receive alert push notifications for your area. The app also features the Baron’s tornado index feature, which ranks tornadoes on a scale from 0-10, with zero being unlikely to produce a tornado, to 10, meaning a tornado is very likely. The app also closely monitors your location in relationship to the path of the storm, which can be life-saving information in the case of quick-moving severe weather.