8 Reasons Why You Need the FLASH Weather Alerts Smartphone App

We asked our users what they value most in the FLASH Weather Alerts app and this list is the outcome.

1. Friends and Family

Personally, I find this app to be extremely valuable if you have friends and family scattered across the globe. I can set all six locations for my mom in DC, my dad in Florida, friends in Colorado and California as well as my current location. Knowing that I will receive National Weather Service alerts before them, gives me a good reason to call and say “Hey get to a safe place because there is a tornado in your area.” Trust me, they will thank you later.

2.    Improved NOAA Weather Radio technology

The same National Weather Service alerts sent to your traditional NOAA weather radio are the same alerts sent to our app. However, the traditional NOAA radio does not allow you to set up to five different locations, calculate your GPS position, or customize alerts based on your lifestyle.

3.    Much cheaper than a NOAA Weather Radio

Google “NOAA Weather Radio” and you will find the price between $30 and $50.

Google “FLASH Weather Alerts” app and you will find a one-time price of $7.99.

4.    Customizable alerts

Having the option to toggle on/off over 100 different NWS alerts gives you piece of mind without alerting you every time the wind blows. If you love to fish, the “Marine” alerts will be prefect for a day of deep-sea fishing. If you love to golf, the “thunderstorms and tornadoes” alerts might be for you.

5.    Mobility

The traditional NOAA radio is comparable in size to the early 90s boom box. Thankfully, in 2013 we are more mobile than ever with smartphones in every pocket, on every desk and in every purse. Essentially this means miniature NOAA Weather radios will be in everywhere and we will all be informed and alert. What a relief!

6.    Text to speech

Without having to open up the FLASH app, you will receive an alert just like a notification. This notification speaks to you even at night so you do not even have to unlock or open your smartphone. My four-year-old niece screamed “MAGIC!” the first time she heard the phone wake up and speak to her. Sometimes the younger generation knows how to sum things up nicely.

7.    Location precision

The fact that traditional NOAA Weather Radio alerts you for severe weather in multiple counties surrounding you and not your specific location can be irritating. The FLASH Weather Alerts app uses your GPS location and proximity to cell towers to provide extremely location specific National Weather Service alerts.

8.    DIY mitigation projects

Despite being number eight on the list, this is what sets the FLASH Weather Alerts app apart from others. Along with the alert features in the app, there are videos that show you how to strengthen your home in preparation for natural disasters. Much like the DIY TV shows you watch, the videos break down important mitigation strategies and projects you can tackle in one hour, one day and one weekend. These projects add value to your home and ultimately keep you one-step ahead of natural disasters.

Former National Hurricane Center director Bill Read’s testimony of the app:

“I was able to put the FLASH Weather Alert app to the test last night as severe thunderstorms crossed our area. The audio alerts for the severe thunderstorm warning and flood advisory were perfect. A neat feature in the app is the screen capture and share, which I used to post this picture during the storm. 2-4″ diameter hail fell along a swath of the county roughly where the pink color was located.”

Share your app experience on the FLASH Facebook page and be entered to win a $25 Home Depot gift card that can go towards a new bird feeder or better yet, supplies to strengthen your home outlined in the DIY mitigation projects.

Hurricane Preparedness Week: FLASH Weather Alerts App

Awareness of a potential storm is step one on the path to preparedness.  Stay on top of severe weather threats, follow hurricane tracks and watch/warning areas and discover how you can protect your home and prepare your family for hurricanes with FLASH Weather Alerts smartphone app. Today, May 30, 2013, you can get the app for just $4.99.


  • Instead of starting out free with limited functionality, all FLASH Weather Alerts features are included in the one-time download price in the Apple App Store and for Android in the Google Play Store – less than half the cost of the lowest priced NOAA weather radio (approximately $25).
  • Personal notifications with more than 100 options – including hurricane watches and warnings
  • The only precision weather app with English and Spanish home mitigation and family preparedness tips

Hurricane Season Features

  • Embedded hurricane mitigation and preparedness information
  • Hurricane tracks, watch/warning alerts and maps
  • Video link to National Hurricane Center keeps users informed even if the power is out


Disaster Safety Leaders Gather to Boost America’s Disaster Resilience


The Build it Better Leadership Forum held May 15-17 in Charlotte, NC brought together experts to identify and discuss mitigation best practices, public policy efforts, communication success stories and emerging research.

FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson’s panel tackled the important topic – “What Do We Do Now? The Path to Community Resilience.”  Margaret Davidson, Acting Director, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management; David Canaan, Director, Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services and John Plodinec, Ph.D., Associate Director, Resilience Technologies Community and Regional Resilience Institute joined Chapman-Henderson  on the panel.

Additional discussions addressed the unforeseen consequences from Hurricane Sandy with on-the-ground experts addressing the complexity of emergency management and rescue efforts along with the compounding effects of wind and water on community infrastructure.

The event featured a keynote address from Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance and remarks by National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb, PhD.  For a full wrap and additional resources including presentations from speakers, visit mitigationleadership.com

Special thanks to John Plodinec and his take on the upbeat and energetic meeting. See a blurb from his blog below and visit John Plodinec’s blog for the rest of his post.

“Thursday and Friday I had the pleasure to attend the Build It Better Leadership Forum in Charlotte. Renaissance Reinsurance, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), and their partners put on a superlative event bringing together nearly all of the stakeholders in what Leslie Chapman-Henderson has dubbed the Mitigation Movement. Presentations (are now available) on mitigationleadership.com, so I’m just going to hit a few highlights and throw in a few gratuitous comments.”

Hurricane Preparedness Week Kicks Off with Next Generation of Mitigation Tools and Technology

With just days until the start of hurricane season, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® is offering Mitigation 2.0 — an “upgrade” to traditional family preparedness and home mitigation activities.  Mitigation 2.0 combines safety with technology to empower families and streamline activities that strengthen homes and ensure that families are safe.

Simplified, streamlined hurricane preparedness will help ensure that people are ready throughout the season.  For example, FLASH has partnered with the country’s premier weather data provider to offer a powerful, easy-to-use smartphone app that will give families the weather and mitigation information they want when they need it without unnecessary over alerting and confusion.  That’s the essence of Mitigation 2.0.

“No matter what type of threat a storm inflicts – wind or water – mitigation is an essential component of successful preparedness,” said National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb.  “Mitigation 2.0 leverages technology to deliver critical information with speed and ease so more families can prepare.”

Each Mitigation 2.0 resource is aligned with the Hurricane Preparedness Week topic of the day to give families a streamlined path to hurricane readiness.

Monday, May 27:  Storm Surge

Tuesday, May 28:  Wind

Wednesday, May 29:  Inland Flooding

View this animation and learn how to:

  • Dry or wet flood proof your home to either prevent floodwaters from entering or allow them to flow through unused parts of your home with this animation.
  • Elevate appliances like the furnace, HVAC and washer/dryer 12” above the base flood elevation.
  • Why you should purchase flood insurance as typical homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.

Thursday, May 30:  Forecast Process

Download FLASH Weather Alerts for the one day price of $4.99 and:

  • GPS, precision text-to-speech weather hazard warnings.
  • Follow hurricane tracks and watch/warning areas.
  • Discover how you can protect your home and prepare your family for disasters of all kinds.

Friday, May 31:  Get a Plan

View this video and learn how to:

Saturday, June 1:  Take Action

View these videos and get your home hurricane-ready with DIY mitigation activities like:

For the full week of activities, do-it-yourself instructions and videos about hurricanes and other natural disaster preparedness resources, visit www.flash.org.

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® Highlights Tornado Safety and Technology to Help Protect Families in Harm’s Way

As nearly uninterrupted severe weather threats continue following tornado destruction last week through today, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) is highlighting critical actions that will help families and homes survive when tornadoes or severe storms strike.

• The ultimate life safety protection is a tornado safe room. Tested and certified tornado safe rooms protect families from winds and windborne debris up to 250 mph. The rooms can be built or retrofitted into closets or bathrooms inside the home or placed outside in a garage or shed. Additionally, a range of pre-fabricated safe room options can be purchased and installed inside or outside the home. From affordable egg-shaped bunkers to above-ground rooms made from concrete, panelized steel or Kevlar, families now have many ways to survive even the strongest tornadoes.

“Tornado safe rooms save lives, even when EF4 or EF5 tornadoes strike,” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “Some of the families who survived the Texas and Oklahoma tornado outbreaks have proved that yet again, and we want all families in harm’s way to know and understand their life-saving potential.”

A tested and certified safe room can add to a home’s value as well. According to a 2007 study by Professor Kevin Simmons, an economist with Austin College, sales prices increased 3.5 percent on average for homes with a safe room, or approximately $4,200.

Tornado safe room information, including a cost calculator, structural details and resource links are available at www.flash.org.

• For less than half the cost of a traditional NOAA weather radio, new life-saving smartphone apps provide severe weather alerts that are faster, cheaper and more portable. Families need to know right away when they are under a tornado watch or warning, especially at night. The new FLASH Weather Alerts app reliably delivers GPS, precision text-to-speech weather hazard warnings on more than 100 options from tornado to flood to wildfire and more.

“Often, surviving a deadly tornado comes down to a matter of seconds,” said Chapman-Henderson. “We are proud to partner with the country’s premier weather data provider to offer this powerful, easy-to-use app that combines new technology with real-time severe weather information. The audible warning feature gives families the advantage of every available second to take shelter. This is especially urgent at night because nocturnal tornadoes are historically the deadliest.”

During 2013 tornado events, the FLASH Weather Alerts app provided severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service nearly 20 minutes earlier than similar apps. FLASH Weather Alerts is now available from the Apple AppStore and Google Play store for $7.99 — less than the average $25.00 price of a traditional weather radio. Visit www.flashweatheralerts.org for more information.

• Most tornado damage occurs below EF4/EF5 level, so minor investments in enhanced building or rebuilding techniques can make a major improvement in a home’s resistance to tornado forces. The National Climatic Data Center estimates that 77 percent of U.S. tornadoes are in the EF0 to EF1 range and 95 percent have wind speeds less than EF3 intensity. A recent cost study revealed that using an average of $0.50 per square foot or $1,000 in metal connectors installed from a home’s roof to its foundation can upgrade a home’s ability to withstand wind uplift from an EF0 to an EF2 tornado.

Additionally, homes built to more modern, model codes will have the advantage of enhanced connector methods using nailing. For example, the 2009 International Residential Code requires only two toe-nailed connections on the rafter to top plate compared to the 2012 International Residential Code which requires a minimum of a third toe-nailed connection. The cost of using the third nail is less than $100 for an entire roof, but the increased uplift strength grows by 50 percent.

“Many will be surprised to learn that homes can be built to withstand damage from EF0 to EF2 tornadoes which historically cause most of the damage,” said Chapman-Henderson. “A modest investment of a handful of additional nails or metal connectors can strengthen homes and protect families from needless injuries, death and property damage from tornadoes. We believe this makes a clear case for prompt and continuous adoption and enforcement of model building codes.”

“Tornado safe rooms, enhanced weather alerting technology and better building practices mean that we no longer need to be at the mercy of tornadoes,” said Chapman-Henderson. “This is an important message as the nation witnesses the devastation of this past week, the massive tornado now ravaging the Oklahoma City metro area and the expected severe weather ahead.”