Volcano eruptions, earthquakes, floods – it seems like mother nature is striking back. Yet natural disasters are exactly that – natural – and they have been happening for millions of years. In fact, we owe our existence to a series of the same. Humans have become largely detached from nature and disasters are a reminder of how dependent on mother nature we remain to this day.
This article features three Android apps that provide alerts for storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. These apps cannot replace professional alert networks, but they do offer an overview of what is going on in the world and a way to easily follow the development of a disaster.
If you are interested in natural disasters, but don’t want to use your Android device to follow them, check out this article - 4 Web Services To Keep Track Of Earthquakes & Storms Around Us.
Disaster Alert is an app from the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC). It displays information on current global disasters, including droughts, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and heavy storms.
An overview of natural disasters is shown on an interactive world map. You can click on the disaster alert symbol to receive a summary of the current event status, when it was first reported, and when it was last updated. For more information, you can visit a page dedicated to the event on the PDC website by clicking the blue arrow symbol.
As the name suggests, this app focuses on earthquakes. Earthquake locations and magnitudes are shown on a world map. A list on the left-hand side, which shows the latest events first, summarizes the location, magnitude, and exact day and time of the incident. Clicking on an item in the list will move the map to the respective spot and open details about the earthquake, including a link to the earthquake’s page on the USGS website.
To get an idea how earthquakes are connected, you can run a ‘playback’ and see in which order they occurred.
In the settings you can control the frequency of automatic updates, select a minimum magnitude for earthquake reports, and choose which notifications you would like to receive. If you choose to enable location based tracking, you can also define the maximum distance of the epicenter that is to be reported by the app.
If you are in the US, you will find a host of applications for storm alerts on the Android Market, most of them released by TV weather stations. It’s up to you to find the one for your area.
This application is also restricted to the US for storms, but includes earthquake reports for locations worldwide. You can click on each mark on the map for a summary of the ‘disaster’, including type, speed, direction, region, date, time, magnitude, etc. For hurricanes the app displays the track of the storm from where it started to its predicted path, including expected time points in the next hours or days.
We have previously featured 3 Great Radar Storm Trackers For The Android Phone.
Being alerted is one thing, but being prepared is a completely different story! If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, you might be interested in FEMA, the app from the (US) Federal Emergency Management Agency. It contains information on how to prepare for different types of natural disasters, including checklists, planning and recovery tips.
How do you prepare for natural disasters and do you think alert apps are helpful?
Image credits: Sergej Khakimullin
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