Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

March 26, 2013

Severe weather: Red Cross helps prepare

-- — With this past weekend’s severe weather of high winds, heavy rains, hail, and flooding, South Georgians should take precautions for the possibility of continued extreme weather as we move deeper into spring.

The American Red Cross South Georgia Chapter has recently reminded area folks that it has a tornado app for iPhones, iPads, and Android smart phones.

This app gives smart phone and tablet users “instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a tornado,” according to the Red Cross. “The app includes a high-pitched siren and ‘tornado warning!’ alert that signals people when a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) tornado warning has been issued in their area — even if the app is closed.

An ‘all clear!’ alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been canceled.”

“Tornadoes often happen in the overnight hours when people are sleeping,” said Terri Jenkins, executive director, American Red Cross South Georgia Chapter. “The audible alerts in this app can save lives — even if users can’t monitor the weather because they are away from radio, TV or in places where weather band radios may not work.”

This is the latest in a series of mobile apps designed by the Red Cross and available by visiting These apps have helped save lives during hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires.

“The Red Cross has made great strides in putting vital information in the hands of people who need it during emergencies,” Jenkins said. “In fact, our apps are now on more than two million mobile devices across the country.”

While forecasts and cloudy skies may have prepared many for this past weekend’s heavy rains, these conditions likely did not prepare people for the sudden hail. Such unexpected weather underscores the need to be as prepared as possible. The Red Cross has some of the answers available within as easy reach as your mobile phone.

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