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MyWARN: A Breakthrough in Weather Apps

In this day and age of smartphone technology, new weather apps are constantly coming onto the market. The apps are a great way to get information out, but the problem is they continue to be overly complicated and it turns out to be more of a hindrance than a help. Of course, if you are in the weather industry, you want the coolest app with all the latest bells and whistles. For the everyday smartphone user, this is not the case. Simple and easy to use, are the most important components that people are looking for in an app. The proof of this was brought to our attention here at MyWARN. After another busy weekend of severe weather across the Plains and Midwest, Greg Kawell, Assistant Professor of Math and Computer Science at Samford University let us know what he thought. He says, “After watching the news videos of Saturday’s Midwest storms and people saying they had no warning I had to write. The NWS does an amazing job of giving people so much heads up and the media folks work tirelessly.”

There is no doubt about that. For many people it seems that there are either too many or not enough warnings. This again is not the case; the NWS has an outstanding success rate on the warnings it issues. As we have all mentioned, since the April 27 event there seems to be a real disconnect happening between the public and how warnings are perceived.

Here is what Professor Kawell has discovered.

“This spring in my classes, approximately 55 students, I have shown some tornado videos and then lead a discussion on being weather aware. I asked how many students had a smart phone and 34 of the students questioned did. I then asked how many of those had weather apps and almost all of them did. I then asked them what their response was when they received warnings from the app. The results shocked me.”

“Ninety five percent said they either have the alert part of the app turned off or they ignore it. Only five percent said they will at least look at the alert, but even these students said they just assume it is not for them.”

“The other shocking thing was that almost all the students in my classes said that unless they hear the outdoor sirens, they will do nothing. When they do hear the sirens THEN they will take their weather app more serious. I asked them if they had heard the first Wednesday of the month test siren that morning. All admitted they had not.” Once again proving, that it cannot be stressed enough, do not rely on outdoor sirens for your safety.

Not even a year removed from the 4th deadliest tornado outbreak in history. People still are not taking severe weather warnings seriously.

Professor Kawell continued, “Students also mentioned that adjusting their weather app to not warn accept for very dangerous situations is too difficult and that they get sick and tired of being warned for stuff that does not affect them.” This is where MyWARN comes in, it follows you, letting you know at your exact location if you are threatened. That’s the beauty of it. Simple, easy, and exact. Very important and other apps are not doing it, only MyWARN has done it.

Professor Kawell concluded, “I don’t know about you, but these findings shocked me. The MyWARN app appears to be going in the right direction.”

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