This post has been updated for accuracy and editorial style.
Severe thunderstorms can be stressful, and even more so when the phrases “Tornado Watch” and “Tornado Warning” are being thrown around. One of the most common worries that I see from people in areas with tornado threats is whether you can safely go to sleep when severe weather surrounds your home.
Luckily, the Tornado app has a helpful tool that lets you monitor any number of locations for warnings and alerts. It can cause your phone to emit an alarm sound when you are in an area with a tornado warning (remember, WARNING means that a tornado may be imminent and you must seek shelter immediately).
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to setting your phone up to alert you. Download the app (for iPhone or Android) by clicking here. (We also have an Emergency App that covers tornadoes and tons of other disasters and emergency situations)
1. Open the Red Cross Tornado app on your phone.
You will see the screen on the right.
2. Select the Places button on the top right navigation menu.
This will bring you to a screen where you can add locations. To do so, select the plus button (upper right corner for iOS users and lower right for Android users) and type in the zip code, city, or state that you want to add.
3. To adjust your settings, tap the monitored location(s) in which you are looking to update.
If you’re looking to increase the radius around the location you’re monitoring, tap “Alert Radius” then use the slider to select your preferred radius.
4. To adjust your notification settings, tap “Notification Settings” then select the alerts you wish to adjust.
To monitor your Current location, tap “Places” and toggle on “Monitor Current Location.”
5. Clicking on one of your locations, you can add the people living there to monitor their safety.
Additionally, you can view a map of the area by clicking “Map” in the top right corner.
6. Find more alert information
Go back to the main Alerts screen and hit “Alert Help” and then “What alerts will I get” or “I’m not receiving alerts” for more information.
7. Discover other useful features
You can also check out cool features in the bottom menu like the Weather Map to see the latest radar map and closest shelters, preparedness information, and quizzes.
That’s it! Tornado warning alarms will sound on your phone even if the app is closed.
Get your rest while the storms are passing through, but go to bed with your phone nearby and with a pair of sturdy shoes and a flashlight by your bed!