Strategy and Planning

Five Apps That Will Help You During Hurricane Season

The Digital Essentials, Part 3
The Digital Essentials, Part 3

Developing a robust digital strategy is both a challenge and an opportunity. Part 3 of the Digital Essentials series explores five of the essential technology-driven experiences customers expect, which you may be missing or not fully utilizing.

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As Hurricane Harvey slammed into the U.S., with Irma, Jose and Katia on his tail, people across the U.S. grabbed their phones to hunt for apps that could help them track the storm, find gas and keep in touch with loved ones.
With family living on the Gulf Coast and my mother “vacationing” at Disney, I was obsessed with tracking the storm so I could have some idea of how they were doing.
If you are living in a hurricane zone, or have family or friends that are, these are five apps that I use and recommend:

  1. NOAA Radar U.S.  – This is the number one paid app for tracking hurricanes (and other severe weather.) If you want to be alerted on the progress of a storm, this $1.99 app should be the first one you get. I used it over the weekend to keep track of Irma and I was always up-to-date on where she was headed.
  2. Hurricane by American Red Cross – CNN rates this as one of the top 6 hurricane tracking apps. Along with tracking the storm, it also helps you find assistance and notify others that you are safe by adding an “I’m Safe” alert to Facebook. It will also direct you to your nearest shelters.
  3. Zello – This walkie talkie app added 6 million users this week…and I was one of them. As long as you have service, you can use your phone as a walkie talkie. It worked great for communicating with my family after the power went out and gave us great comfort.
  4. GasBuddy – You may be familiar with GasBuddy for finding the cheapest gas near your house, but when gas is limited, GasBuddy does more than just track prices, it tracks availability of gas as well as which stations have power. It was downloaded over 350,000 times during Irma.
  5. Waze – With over 5.6 million people being ordered to leave Florida, the roads were parking lots. I had a friend who was live-streaming during his endless road-trip out of Florida and the Waze app was right by his side. You may already use Waze to help you find the best route through a traffic jam, but during a hurricane, it can provide real-time traffic numbers so you can know ahead of time how long that 120 mile trip will ACTUALLY take.

Apps have come a long way over the years and downloading the right ones can significantly impact your experience during a storm. If you have others that you recommend, please add them in the comments for readers who may need them.

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