Tech Talk: Tracking hurricanes? There’s an app for that!

August is the time of year when those of us who live on the east coast start paying closer attention to updates from the Canadian Hurricane Centre. Admittedly, we’re weather geeks, but we’ve also experienced the devastation that hurricanes and tropical storms can cause in coastal communities. Think Hurricane Juan in Halifax and Hurricane Igor in Newfoundland.

Hurricane Igor’s projected path in 2010

It’s been a quiet hurricane season so far, but that isn’t necessarily a predictor of hurricane activity later this summer and fall.  

Unlike many other types of disasters, hurricanes don’t just happen without any warning. Experts use technology and science to determine when hurricanes form, their possible trajectory and their intensity. The American Red Cross has taken it one step further with their newly released hurricane app for smartphones. The app lets users create personalized alerts, identifies Red Cross shelter locations, includes tips on how to prepare for hurricanes and more.

This app isn’t the only way to stay connected and informed during hurricane season. In Canada, you can sign up for email bulletins from the Canadian Hurricane Centre on tropical storms and hurricanes affecting our region. The Weather Network also offers a weather app that sends severe weather alerts to users based on their GPS location.   

We think the new American Red Cross hurricane app is pretty cool and while we don’t currently offer a similar app in Canada, we want to know what you think. Would you turn to your smartphone for help and information during a disaster?

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