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How to Be Ready for Severe Weather on iOS



At the time of this posting, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has issued a “HIGH RISK” severe weather threat for several large population areas in the United States. With recent storms hitting the Oklahoma City area, people are understandably on edge about this potential threat and are looking for ways to stay informed about it. Being weather aware on an iOS device is a very simple task, and the user does not have to be a weather “geek” to understand it and stay informed.

NOTE: Both of these systems are available on Android as well, and the instructions are only slightly different.

Built-In Alerts

With the newest version of iOS (as well as Android, Windows Phone, and many other devices), there is a built-in mechanism for receiving alerts based on the users location. Most people probably have experienced an AMBER Alert on their phone. The phone buzzes and beeps to let the user know of the alert. This alert information is geographically based. This alert system can also provide government supplied emergency alerts. These alerts do include tornado warnings. Here is an example of one that was received last winter during a blizzard warning.

iOS Weather Alert


By default, the user should be set to receive the alerts. To verify, open the Notifications section of the Settings app and scroll to the bottom of the page.

iOS Weather Alert


Make sure the Emergency Alerts is toggled to the ON position. Remember, this information is delivered to all devices in the alert area. If the user is traveling through an area that receives that alert, that phone will buzz even if the user does not normally live there.

Storm Shield Weather Radio

Storm Shield Weather Radio

Storm Shield Weather Radio is a fantastic app that provides a great deal of information. When first installed, if the user says “Yes” to enabling push notifications (and we believe you should for this app), whenever a weather alert is issued for the location the phone is in, it will notify the user by beeping and audibly saying the weather alert. Much like how a weather radio can programmed to notify the user when there’s an alert, this does the same. In the middle of the night it is great to get the beep from the push notification, but then also hear (without touching the phone) what the alert is for.

Weather Radio Alert

If the user selects the Play button next to the alert, it will play the details of the alert. All of this information is provided directly from the nearest National Weather Service location to the user. This app goes beyond the standard emergency alerts, because it can be customized to alert the user of more than just the most severe of weather.

Weather Notifications

Storm Shield Weather Radio is $4.99 in the iOS App Store (and is also available on Android) and provides a great level of features for someone who wants to be more weather aware.

It is important when severe weather is imminent to be aware of what is going on to stay safe. Being educated may make the difference in a dangerous situation.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ryan Reynolds

    06/13/2013 at 2:25 am

    The AMBER/government/emergency alerts aren’t built-in or available on AT&T iPhones. They are not featured in the “Settings” function like Verizon or Sprint.

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