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The last time South Florida was walloped by a hurricane, apps were not even invented yet. Here is a sampling of apps you may want to download as Hurricane Irma targets South Florida. Have a favorite hurricane app you’d like to share? Add it to the comments.
Hurricane App by the Red Cross: Still the standard, the free app for iPhone and Android helps you stay up to date with NOAA alerts, along with providing a way to connect with friends and family and let them know you are OK. It also has a flashlight, strobe and alarm. There is a second free app with first-aid advice for situations ranging from anaphylactic shock to heart attacks. To download both apps, visit: redcross.org/mobile-apps/hurricane-app.
NOAA Radar US: Everything you need in an app for viewing animated weather radar images and hyper-local storm patterns. $1.99 for iPhone and iPad and still the No. 1 paid app for hurricane tracking.
Weather Underground: This is your everything weather app for hyper-local forecasts and current conditions, powered by Weather Underground’s network of more than 200,000 personal weather stations. A companion app is WU Storm.
Waze: Whether you are loading up the car now to escape upstate or want to know if your city roads are passable post-Irma, Waze could make road travel a little easier. Users of Waze, a social network for drivers, share real-time traffic and road condition information.
Tracker.gasbuddy.com: Long lines and “no gas” signs are already the norm as Irma gets closer. While in normal times GasBuddy is the go-to source for the cheapest gas in your area, it now is also a go-to source for finding available gas. Just type in a ZIP Code or city at tracker.gasbuddy.com and it returns a list of stations with gas and without.
Zello: To use the free walkie-talkie app, users must be connected to a cellular or wireless network. The Android and iPhone app, used during Hurricane Harvey and other crises to connect people and rally support, lets users join channels and immediately send voice messages. Its group messaging capabilities can be superior to simple text messaging.
Snap Map: Snapchat’s Snap Map lets users share their location publicly or with friends on an interactive map. Many users were documenting the impact and rescue stories around Hurricane Harvey on their Snapchat Stories, which can be accessed on Snap Maps. The Our Story stream for Harvey, a curated collection of photos and videos, received 250,000 to 300,000 submissions in 86 hours, according to The Washington Post.
Nextdoor: Hurricane prep and recovery is all about neighbors helping neighbors, and although Nextdoor sometimes gets a bad rap for bringing out the neighborhood complainers, chances are this social network for your ’hood can also bring out the best in people.
WhatsApp: For many in South Florida, family and friend networks span the entire hemisphere. WhatsApp offers fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free around the world, which may become really handy for staying in touch with loved ones in Irma’s wake.
Headspace: There’s no avoiding it — anxiety levels will be off the charts. Your favorite yoga studio may be closed but Headspace for meditation and mindfulness may help you get into your zone.