1 minute readDisaster, Health & Safety

HOW TO: Set An Alert for Tornado Warnings On Your Phone

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.

1. Open the Red Cross Tornado app on your phone.

You will see the screen on the right.

Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot home screen Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot app home screen

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.

Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot locations home Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot map

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.

Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot name of location Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot radius set

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.”

Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot 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.

Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot location check Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot map of area

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.

Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot all is well Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot alerts help Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot alerts help details

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.

Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot weather map Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot tornado prepare Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot quizzes Red Cross tornado app phone alert screenshot shelter locations

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!

join the conversation.

We encourage you to comment on this blog. All viewpoints are welcome, but please be constructive. We reserve the right to make editorial decisions regarding submitted comments, including but not limited to removal of comments. The comments are moderated, so you may have to be a tiny bit patient in waiting to see them. We will review and post them as promptly as possible during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 – 5:00). Please read our full comment policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. App did not work in Tampa for me on iPad Sunday. All settings were as above suggested.

  2. Window phone users can’t get diaster apps from Red Cross. Nokia, contact the American Red Cross to get them off their penguin keisters about disaster apps! Their apps are no good for windows! They dont care but do runaround! We’re out in the cold!

  3. What if you have the iPhone set for “Do Not Disturb” at certain hours? Does the app override the settings that silence calls and alerts?

  4. There is a tornado watch issued right now for my location and this app didn’t send me an alert. Disappointed! Guess I will have to use other notification methods!

  5. We just got our first alert and it didn’t pop up on our device until almost 20 min after the fact…

  6. We are setting off on a trip to Alaska and want to be aware of any tornadoes brewing as we pass thru the Midwest. This app will make us feel more secure about what is happening with the weather. Thanks.

  7. My samsung stratosphere doesnt have the tornado icons at the bottom. Instead I have the words at the top so I had to click on the word tornadoes. Then set up from there is the same.

  8. Question is how do I delete a locations monitor from my IPhone on the tornado app?

    Thank you,

    Gina

  9. @Gina – On the Manage Alerts screen, press Edit in the top right corner and you’ll see these red buttons appear next to each location with a dash sign in them. Press one next to the location you want to delete and then confirm by pressing the “Delete” button that pops up. Thanks!

  10. @Kelly – You have other options for phone alerts too – SMS alerts are available in many areas (read more about that here: http://www.weather.gov/subscribe). There are many, many services out there that provide alerts at the moment; the key is finding what works with the technology you have available. I would also highly recommend also getting a weather radio as a backup plan. Thanks for your comment!

  11. @Mike – Not at the moment; Windows phones present a different set of challenges to develop for. However, I highly recommend checking out other options for alerts for your phone – see my comment to Kelly. This is a good site to check out: http://www.weather.gov/subscribe

    Thanks for commenting!

  12. What a great use of technology. I hope to see more and more “public safety” apps in the future. Phones and tablets have become the perfect medium for such uses since so many people have them and they can convey such rich information.

  13. The Red Cross app is really cool. The interactive maps are awesome because you can see exactly where the weather is heading in relation to your house. The only thing I wish it had was a few more features like the AlertID app does. http://www.alertbroadcast.com/what-is-alertid. Aside from that, it’s invaluable if you live in a tornado prone area.

  14. tornado overhead – no warning at all ” Sorry the application Tornado(process com.cube.arc.tfa) has stopped unexpectedly please try again”

  15. I got text alerts but no audio alerts on my IPhone. I slept right through a tornado warning. I have checked all my settings and they match the screens.

  16. How do you DELETE a location ? Added two by mistake and can NOT delete them. Removing and reinstalling this app doesn’t fix the problem. Thanks.

  17. Hi there! Open the app, head to the tornadoes tab, and click Locations Monitored. When you see the list of locations, press and hold on the location you want to remove. An box should pop up with options to view or delete the location. Select Delete location.

    Let us know if you have any more issues!

  18. Will this set off an alarm with a tornado watch as well as a warning? I live in Dallas and there is a tornado watch through much of spring! 🙂 I just want to sleep unless I need to get in my closet. 🙂 Thanks!

  19. @Joy – It looks like alerts from the Tornado app include Tornado Warning, Tornado Watch, Severe thunderstorm warning and severe thunderstorm watch. The app notes WARNINGS will be accompanied by the siren alert.

    If you select Tornadoes in the top navigation and click Alert Help, then “What alerts will I get?”, you can read more.

    Also — we just release our new Emergency app, check it out in your app store! It’s all-inclusive, combining more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts from natural to man-made disasters.

    ^Sarah

  20. My comment sent sept. 13, 2014 still says “is waiting moderation”? All I asked is how to delete old alerts? I still need this question answered? Thank you.

  21. @Sherri — Thanks for your question! Open the app, head to the tornadoes tab, and click Locations Monitored. When you see the list of locations, press and hold on the location you want to remove. An box should pop up with options to view or delete the location. Select Delete location.

    We also have a new Emergency app, check it out in your app store! It’s all-inclusive, combining more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts from natural to man-made disasters.

    ^Sarah

  22. How can I delete old alerts? Frustrated! The list keeps growing longer and longer.

    IPhone 6+ iOS 8.3 and latest Tornado App.

  23. @Hollis Hi there! Alerts should be removed when they expire. Our app team is going to follow up with the developers about your concern.

  24. OMG! The list of expired alerts is massive. Any progress on the removal of these?

  25. I.like to get the red cross weather app the red cross help use out a lot when the tornado came through are town in 08

  26. @Michael Hi there! Someone from our app team should be reaching out to you directly to help address the alerts issue. Thanks for letting us know! -Sarah

  27. I’m using this app on a google nexus, and most of the screens are blank. I’m not sure if this would work or not.

  28. Hi Katie! A member of our app team will reach out to you directly to help address your question about the app on your Google Nexus. You should also know we have a new Emergency App that covers all sorts of disasters and emergency first aid information, just search American Red Cross in your app store. Thanks! ^Sarah.

  29. Yes I want to know more about the tornado sirens and want to have it on my phone let me into the bathroom and water comes up on my cell phone that’s what I want and I want her to have it on my cell phone

  30. @Ferdjones Hi Fred! We’re happy to hear about your interest in getting disaster alerts on your phone. Hopefully this blog answers any questions you have about setting up alerts, but let us know if you have specific questions. Thanks!

  31. Hi Mike, Alerts should be removed when they expire. I’ll pass along your concern to our app team.

    In the meantime, consider downloading our Emergency App, which covers tornadoes in addition to many other emergency situations. Search for it in your app store. Thanks!

  32. It won’t let me check the box to monitor current location. I have locations turned on and gps too. I would like to have this capability for when I travel. Is this the correct way to be monitored while traveling? It keeps saying can’t fetch current location.

  33. Hi Brooke! If you’re traveling, may I suggest downloading our Emergency App that lets you monitor 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts: http://3cu.be/shareeme. Let us know if you have any additional questions, and thanks for staying safe!

  34. Is there an updated version of your Red Cross Tornado Alert App? Your current 1 is for older android versions. It will not work on my new phone (Samsung Galaxy). Can I get an updated version that will work on a new phone? The current 1 tells me it can’t update alerts, that I need Internet connection. I have connection. I have locations but there are no alerts. Has no option to set siren alerts.

  35. Hi Lisa, Our the mobile team will be sending you an e-mail from mobile[at]redcross[dot]org to further troubleshoot. Thanks for reaching out!