If you’re a ridiculous geek (like me) the first thing you do when you hear about something bad happening is to check it online. Sure, the power might go out – but that’s what 4G LTE is for, right? Now checking for official emergency alerts is easier than ever before. Google is combining data from the US National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration and the National Weather Service with Maps to provide location-based emergency information through Google Maps.
Alerts will appear when users search for specific locations and emergencies. For example, typing “Portland Flood” will bring up any flood related alerts for residents of the Portland area. This only seems to be working through the Maps page, for now – typing the same into Google Search doesn’t provide the same result.
You can view all public alert data by going to the new Public Alerts page. Areas under a warning that is considered particularly severe (such as a high wind or tornado warning) are colored in dark orange, while other alert areas are colored light orange. Clicking on an alert area provides you with a link to the official alert statement.
Since Google can’t resist the opportunity to catalog and rank data, each alert is also rated for how likely it is to impact you, how soon it will impact you, and how severely you will impact you. How Google rates each alert isn’t clear.
Weather alerts are only provided for the United States, but international earthquake data is available.
Source: The Official Google.Org Blog