MyWARN is a simple, but very powerful smartphone application designed to deliver critical life saving severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service to its users within seconds of them being issued. MyWARN follows the user with location based services to constantly monitor the specific threats for any location that they might travel to in the U.S. It only notifies the user if severe weather is forecast for their location, if they are in a severe weather watch or if they are inside one of the very precise and targeted storm based warning areas issued by the NWS.
Here are some of the features and benefits of this GPS Based Severe Weather Warning App for Smartphones:
• Location Based: Uses GPS to monitor user’s location for severe weather alerts.
• Early Heads Up: Hours of advance notification when severe weather is forecast
• Mobile: Notifies user when they drive into or out of alert areas.
• Specific: Only notifies user if they are inside a NWS polygon alert.
• Customizable: User specifies the phenomena and alerts they receive.
• Simple: One screen interface gives user overview of all threats.
• Visual: Map shows user’s precise location on map of the alert.
• Real Time: Alerts arrive within seconds of their issuance by NWS.
• All Clear: User is notified when alerts are canceled for their current location.
• Always On: App remains in background monitoring 24×7 until it receives a notification.
• Contextual Safety Information: Concise actions to take based on the situation.
• Easy to Use: Only three simple settings.
• Confirming Information: Links to local television partners for live coverage.
• Affordable: One time $12.99 charge. Discounts for partners’ users.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. MyWARN works on what smartphone platforms? MyWARN currently operates on any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and any Android Device.
2. We hear the sirens all the time when the storms are not near us. Why is that? For years and years, the National Weather Service issued warnings for entire counties. A few years ago, the National Weather Service started issuing tornado, severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings for very narrow and targeted areas. These “storm based warnings” limit the area and number of people that have to take action. But unfortunately, outdoor sirens are still county based. It takes new technologies like MyWARN to deliver the warnings to just the people that are affected by them.
3. The Weatheradio went off so many times for warnings that I don’t care about for other counties. Will MyWARN do the same thing? No. MyWARN uses the location-based services in your smartphone to pinpoint your location and then monitors for watches and warnings that are for that place. Plus, you will be able to easily customize which alert you want to trigger the alarm.
4. Is MyWARN as hard to program as my Weatheradio? No, MyWARN works wherever you are as long as you have 3G or Wifi signal. There is no chance of tuning to the wrong transmitter or programming your unit for the wrong county, which are the most common problems with Weatheradio.
5. I don’t care about receiving flash flood information. In fact, I only want tornado warnings. How do I do this in MyWARN? You can customize your MyWARN to filter out notifications for any alerts that you don’t want to receive. Just click on the “Settings” icon in the bottom task bar on the app and click on “Push Notifications”. All seven types of alerts are visible there. Turn the ones you don’t want to receive “OFF”. You can change these settings anytime. Remember, your device will still be receiving the alerts and displaying them on your dashboard.
6. I removed the MyWARN app from memory, but I am still receiving notifications. Why? MyWARN protects you by remembering your last reported location and sending you notification for alerts that affect that location. You can turn this feature off by going to Settings and turning “Notifications” to “OFF”.
7. Can I change the sounds? You cannot modify the sounds used for the three levels of alert (risk, watch, warning). You can turn the sound notifications off if need be, but remember, alerts can come when you least expect them and turning the sound off can prevent you from receiving a life saving message. Even when the MyWARN notifications are silenced, the dashboard feature is still working, receiving and storing notifications and is available for you to instantly view your situation.
8. Will I still receive notifications when I have my phone silenced? Yes and No, MyWARN will still send an alert to your phone, but if the phone’s volume is not on or is on silent, MyWARN will not make a sound, but the notification will still show up on your screen.
9. How does MyWARN know where I am? MyWARN uses the location-based services in your smartphone (GPS and wifi) to pinpoint your location very precisely.
10. How do I know where I am in relation to the threat? When you open an alert buy clicking on the colored button on the dashboard, it opens a map that displays the area affected by the specific alert and pinpoints your location using the familiar blue dot.
11. What does MyWARN do with my location information? MyWARN uses your current position information to determine if there are any pending threats. Your previous locations are not stored.
12. I am reluctant to let apps use my location because of privacy concerns. How do I know what MyWARN does with my location information? MyWARN only uses your location information to alert you if a risk, watch or warning is issued for your location, or if you move into or out of one. Your information is not stored or used for any other purpose.
13. Will MyWARN run down my battery? MyWARN is specially designed to use no battery when the weather is good at your location. When severe weather is forecast, the location services will become a little more sensitive. Then, when the severe weather risk is upgraded to moderate or high or a watch is issued, the location services will be turned to a high precision level. When you are stationary, like at home or work, it won’t use very much battery still. When you are driving, it will check your location about every 5 seconds, to let you know ASAP if you move into an alert. This does use more battery as it keeps you safe, but it would be a good idea to have the phone plugged into the cigarette lighter while mobile.
14. What is the difference between a watch and a warning? If you don’t know the difference in the two, you are in good company. Nearly 50% of Americans are not sure. But it is important to know the difference. A watch is issued when conditions are right for the particular weather phenomenon to develop (tornado, severe thunderstorm or flash flood). A warning is issued when National Weather Service forecasters receive a report that the phenomenon is occurring or have good reason to believe it might based on what their radar and other sensors is telling them.
15. Do I need to take the same actions for a severe thunderstorm that I would for a tornado? It depends on your situation. If you were in a frame house with a tornado approaching, you would want to be in a reinforced storm shelter. If that weren’t available, you would want to be under something sturdy in the basement. If there was no basement, a small room (like a closet) in the center of the lowest floor would be your best bet. In a severe thunderstorm, you might be fine just riding the storm out in a central hallway, just being away from windows or in an area where a tree couldn’t fall through and hurt you. But severe thunderstorm winds can overturn and destroy mobile homes, so you would take the same precautions you would for a tornado. MyWARN provides context based action steps for you for each type of alert and situation.
16. Where do the alerts come from? The alerts delivered by MyWARN are the official risks, watches and warnings issued by the 3,500 professional men and women of the National Weather Service, the greatest weather service in the world. They are vigilantly watching the weather of every inch of all 50 states and protectorates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When a meteorologist decides to issue a risk, watch or warning and hits enter on their terminal, within seconds, that alert is received by the MyWARN computers, which compare it against all of the users’ smartphone locations and notifies the ones that are in the alert immediately.
17. Sometimes it takes a few seconds for a screen to refresh. Why is this? MyWARN transfers a tremendous number of data points from its servers to the devices when alerts are issued. The device will let you know when you see the Network Activity “swirly” spinning in the status bar at the top of the iPhone screen. Wifi or 4G, of course, gives the fastest data transfer. 3G is slightly slower and may take a couple of seconds to download the points of a weather watch. When you don’t have 3G, it will take a while for the device to download information, but be patient. Remember, cell service is not always 100% reliable, so make sure that you have a redundant source for severe weather information always.
18. What if I lose my cell connection? Your iPhone uses cellular and WiFi networks to stay connected. As you roam between networks or places, you may have been dropped and lose connectivity, even if you still see connectivity bars on your phone. As soon as that connectivity returns, you will receive an up to the second update of all the alerts affecting you at your location.
19. How do I use the safety advices? It is important to have a plan for receiving warnings and taking immediate action when warnings are issued. MyWARN is a very specific warning service, but it goes a step further. MyWARN gives you instant access to context-based actions to take for each specific type of alert. When you are on the map screen for a specific alert, you will see a button in the lower left corner of the screen called “Actions to Take”. Generally, there is one short box of information. When you are in a tornado warning, MyWARN lets you choose your current situation (“Home with Basement”, “Home without Basement”, “Mobile Home”.) Clicking on your current situation gives you very specific advice so that you can take action immediately.
20. I don’t have a severe weather safety plan. What can I do? It is critical that you have a plan for the places you commonly are. What would you do if a severe thunderstorm warning were issued? Where would you go if a tornado warning were issued? Review our severe weather safety rules and customize them for your home and business. Make sure you know the safety plan for your church and your children’s school. On severe weather days, make sure you find out what the severe weather safety plan is for building, retail stores or large venues that you might be visiting. Remember that large retail stores generally are not good places to be if a tornado strikes. Don’t let yourself get caught in these locations when warnings are issued. That is why MyWARN alerts you early with the risk notification and severe weather watches, so that you don’t find yourself in a risky location (mobile home, on the road, in a big box retail store).
21. Other apps showed warnings in our area , but MyWARN didn’t alert me. Why? The point of MyWARN is that it ONLY alerts you when there is a tornado, severe thunderstorm or flash flood watch or warning for your location. It also will notify you about risks from the Storm Prediction Center. General warning apps are not this specific, nor do they travel with you. The alert areas are the exact storm based polygons issued by the National Weather Service. If it isn’t going off you aren’t in a watch or warning. So, please remember that MyWARN only alerts you when you are INSIDE the alert area. You won’t see nearby alerts, only ones that include you. Use the other apps if you want to be inundated with alerts that don’t affect you. Use this one to know you have a real problem.
22. What sounds does MyWARN make to notify me about severe weather? MyWARN makes a short beep when the a risk is issued or updated for your location starting with the 8 a.m. CDT convective outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. The dashboard actually updates at 7 a.m. based on the midnight day one outlook.The watches generate a 3 second beep when issued. Flash flood and severe thunderstorm warnings generate a five second long, loud beep when issued. Tornado warnings generate a ten second long, loud beep when issued. When a watch or warning is continued for your location, MyWARN sounds a double beep. When a watch, warning or risk is canceled for your location, that’s good news and MyWARN generates a more cheerful double chirp. But other risks, watches or warnings may be in effect for you location, so MyWARN takes you back to the dashboard so you can quickly assess your situation.
23. I do not know if MyWARN is working or what an alert my sound like. How do I test MyWARN app to make sure it is working? Go to the settings page on the app, click the icon on right side of the MyWARN menu bar at the top. It has an arrow coming out of a box. If you click that, it will make MyWARN send you a test alert. That way you can know it is working.
24. I will be traveling and would like to turn the service off to maintain battery, where do I do that? Go to settings and turn the precision switch to off.
25. I think MyWARN is using my Location Services all the time, what do I do to prevent this? MyWARN only uses your location services in certain instances. Check out this post on the specifics on Location Services Usage
Get MyWARN now from the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store