Hurricane Florence, a category 2 storm expected to dump a lot of rain, is heading for the East Coast and could cause a great deal of damage and leave thousands without power, food and necessary resources.
Reports are already calling it a "monster" storm, with winds hitting the coasts of North and South Carolina on Thursday morning, hurricane-force winds by Thursday night, and a Friday morning landfall.
You need to get ready to deal with this storm, and any major storm you could encounter. If you live in the hurricane zone, and if you are in thunderstorm or tornado-prone areas, we recommend these free apps for iPhones and Androids.
Dark Sky is a simple and easy-to-use weather app. It's the hyperlocal weather app you can trust for information on the weather. Not only can it tell you when it's going to rain, it can tell you how much rain is coming, so you know whether to bring an umbrella or don your full rain ensemble. It provides minute-by-minute forecasts for the next hour, and then hourly forecasts for the next week.
Most importantly, it does it all with a focus on where you are standing. Rather than giving you data for the entire ZIP code or city, Dark Sky provides information for where you are and where you're going. When it says rain is coming, that means rain is on the way to your specific location, not just for the entire city.
The FEMA app from the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides information including National Weather Center updates, safety information and where to find emergency shelters.
With the FEMA app, you can track up to five locations anywhere in the U.S., get weather alerts and notifications for those locations, as well as get tips and instructions from FEMA on what to do during a storm or other emergency situation.
You can also get your family prepared for the worst by setting up your family's emergency plan, complete with an escape route and a list of items you'll want to have ready to go. For example, you'll want one gallon of water for each person for each day you're anticipating to be without power, usage of roads, or other resources.
The Gas Buddy app lets drivers search for and compare gas prices by city or ZIP code. Users can also search to see if gas stations in their area have fuel and power.
When you see the station you want, you can then get directions to the location.
Gas Buddy is also currently offering updates online on gas outages in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
NOAA Hi-Def Radar
This isn't any regular old weather app, this is the NOAA Hi-Def Radar app, which gives you a clear radar look at the weather anytime, anyplace.
There is no complex setup for you to navigate -- just install and go. This app always gives you the sharpest image possible from NOAA satellites, and even displays lightning strikes on the map.
NOAA Hi-Def Radar also provides a Drought Severity map and key, a wildfire map, and a Hurricane Forecast Map with clear directions on the path of the storm.
On the road? Users can check for accidents and traffic through Waze, a crowd-sourced app.
The app also offers information about gas prices.
Waze pulls data and information from other Waze users to show you where the worst traffic jams, crashes and other obstacles are. If you know where the accidents are, then you can successfully avoid them.
If you've ever been caught in the rain, snow or sun unprepared, then you know how important it is to check the weather. The weather affects nearly everything we do. It determines how we dress, if we go out or if we stay in.
That's the exact reason most people download a weather app on their smartphones. Yes, there is a built-in weather app on all iPhones and most Android devices, but they don't necessarily have all of the features you want or need.
Weather Underground is known as the most accurate weather forecasting app available. Its data comes from more than two hundred and seventy thousand local weather stations.
Ahead of Hurricane Florence, Facebook helps communities with crisis response tool
As Category 4 Hurricane Florence bears down on the southeastern United States, Facebook has found a way to help people in danger. For all the negative press surrounding Facebook lately, this tool might actually help in the event of a crisis. Tap or click here to start using it.