Technology can help us in many ways, and extreme weather is no exception. Indeed, technology cannot completely protect you from the effects of bad weather—a tornado, for instance, will find you wherever your phone service doesn’t reach you. But it can certainly make coping with them more accessible.
Here are four ways to use technology to better prepare for and manage the outcomes of extreme weather events.
Get Real-Time Updates on Conditions
In the past, people relied on news reports to determine what was happening with the weather. This meant that you only got information after the event had already happened, which wasn’t very helpful if you were trying to prepare for it.
Nowadays, there are several ways to get real-time updates on conditions. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are often used to share information about weather events as they’re happening.
There are also apps like Weather Underground and AccuWeather that provide hour-by-hour forecasts for your specific location. Having this information at your fingertips can help you decide how to best prepare for extreme weather conditions.
Moreover, predictive technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are being used to improve the accuracy of severe weather forecasting increasingly. For example, IBM’s Deep Thunder project uses AI to provide more specific and accurate local forecasts than traditional methods.
Create an Emergency Plan
With real-time updates on the weather, you can start to create an emergency plan long before an extreme weather event happens. If you know that a hurricane is headed your way, you can begin making preparations like stocking up on supplies and ensuring your insurance is up to date.
Similarly, you can also ensure having an electricity backup in place. For instance, you can get a battery power station so that if there’s an outage, you can still do your essential tasks.
Having a plan in place before an emergency happens can help you stay calm and make better decisions when the weather event occurs. It can also help you be better prepared to deal with the event’s aftermath.
Stay Connected With Loved Ones
Extreme weather can often lead to power outages, making staying connected with loved ones challenging. But there are several ways to use technology to keep in touch, even when the power is out.
If you know that a storm is coming, charge up your phone or laptop in advance to be able to use it for a more extended period. You can also invest in a portable charger, which can be a lifesaver if your phone battery starts to run low.
These chargers can help you stay connected with loved ones via text, social media, or video chat. And if you lose power, you can always go to a coffee shop or library with Wi-Fi to stay connected.
In addition, many two-way radios don’t require power to work. These can be a helpful way to stay in touch with family or friends who live nearby. And if you have access to a landline, you can use a service like Skype to make calls.
Track the Progress of Cleanup and Restoration
After an extreme weather event has passed, the focus often turns to cleanup and restoration. This can be a long and challenging process, but technology can help you track the progress made.
One of the challenges of tracking cleanup and restoration after an extreme weather event is that the process can take a long time. It can often be challenging to get an accurate picture of what’s happening on the ground.
Another challenge is that the situation can vary significantly from one location to another. What might be happening in one city may not be happening in another.
However, there are many ways to use technology to understand the cleanup and restoration process better. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook can be used to track updates from officials and others on the ground.
Some websites and apps are specifically designed to track cleanup and restoration efforts after an extreme weather event. These can be a helpful way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening and how the process is progressing.
For instance, apps and websites like SeeClickFix and MyCityWay allow you to report damage and track the status of repairs. This information can help understand how long it will take for power to be restored or for roads to be cleared.
And if you’re struggling to find resources like food or water, there are also apps like Disaster Relief that can help you locate nearby resources.
Technology can’t completely protect us from extreme weather, but it can certainly make coping with it more accessible. By getting real-time updates on conditions, creating an emergency plan, staying connected with loved ones and tracking the progress of cleanup and restoration, we can use technology to better prepare for and manage the outcomes of these events.