Mobile apps and radio alerts can warn you of approaching tornado
Tornadoes are some of our most destructive weather-related events, and Minnesota averages 19 tornadoes each year. Here are some ways you can ensure you receive weather and emergency warnings.
Free tornado app
To help you react quickly, the American Red Cross has a free tornado app for smart phones and mobile tablets that will give you expert advice, answers and vital information in the event of a possible tornado. Download the app to your smart phone, or visit the iTunes or Google Play app stores and search for Red Cross and look for the official American Red Cross Tornado App.
Cell phone alerts
Wireless Emergency Alerts are broadcast on all newer model cell phones during an actual tornado warning. These short messages are broadcast to all phones within range of designated cell towers. The alerts will warn you about the affected area and the duration. You will not be charged for Wireless Emergency Alert messages.
Emergency responders recommend purchasing an NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio receiver so you can receive National Weather Service alerts, including tornado watches and warnings. Receivers cost between $20 and $200 and can be purchased from stores that carry electronics, sporting goods or boat accessories. Many of these radios can be programmed so you receive warnings only for your county.
Outdoor warning sirens
Remember that outdoor warning sirens are meant to be heard outside. The system is not designed to provide notification inside your home or business. When sirens sound, seek shelter and tune to local weather information on radio, television or NOAA Weather Radio for more information.
Prepare yourself and your family for weather-related emergencies by visiting the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s website.
Everyone is encouraged to make a plan, build an emergency kit and practice their emergency plans so when the sirens sound, you know what to do to keep you and your family safe.
Published Apr. 11, 2013