Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Introducing StormWatch+ EnRoute dynamic weather alerts!

StormWatch+ precision severe weather alerting was introduced to the MemphisWeather.net mobile apps nearly two years ago and has been one of the most popular features of the apps according to feedback received from our users.  StormWatch+, in a nutshell, cross-references the location(s) the user sets with multiple types of watches, warnings, and advisories issued by the National Weather Service and alerts the user when they are in a warned area.  The alert is received as a push notification that appears in the notification area at the top of the user's device, as well as an audible sound.

StormWatch+ Precision

The great thing about StormWatch+ is that it doesn't care what county you are in for Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm, or Flash Flood Warnings.  The NWS no longer issues those warnings by county.  It issues polygons that indicate the area that will likely be affected by the storm, irrespective of county lines.  Thus, the alerts you receive from StormWatch+ are PRECISE.  If your latitude/longitude location is inside the polygon, you get a warning.  If not (you're outside the polygon by 2 blocks), you don't!

Prior to 2007, county-based warnings in the example above warned almost 1 million people of 3 separate severe storms. With polygons, 70% less area is warned and 600,000 fewer people would take shelter due to more precise warnings!  This precision allows for very specific warnings to be sent only to those within the alerted areas.

StormWatch+ EnRoute

One of the features that has been high on our "To Do" list since the creation of StormWatch+ is the ability to alert people who are traveling when they approach hazardous weather. A static location registered by the user doesn't help a great deal in this circumstance. Well, we are excited to be able to cross this item off our list with the introduction of StormWatch+ EnRoute dynamic weather alerts! When activated, EnRoute will continuously monitor your location and cross-check it against known severe weather warnings, alerting you as soon as you travel into a warned area - even if you don't have the app running in the foreground.  It's like having a sophisticated Weather Radio in your car - keeping up with warnings and your location and sending you an alert if you are headed towards a severe storm or flooded roadways!

One of the great features of StormWatch+ EnRoute is the ability to select how often the app should check for warnings as you travel.  You can choose between "Better Battery Life" or "More Precise."  With "Better Battery Life," your location will be checked using the Location Services built into your device (not GPS).  This will allow for updates to your location (which triggers a check for warnings) every few minutes, provided your location has changed "significantly" (which varies whether you are in a rural or urban environment, but is no less than every 1-2 miles).  For most people, this is plenty sufficient and still provides a heads-up before encountering  any severe weather.

In "More Precise" mode, GPS is used to update your location every few seconds, which triggers many more calls to the EnRoute server to check for warnings and also causes your device battery to be adversely affected. We only recommend this mode if you are able to keep your device on a charger.  Either way, you get peace of mind by not having to wonder if the dark clouds you are approaching are just another rain storm or a harbinger of high wind, hail, or possible tornadoes.

Where can I get StormWatch+ EnRoute?

As of August 21, 2013, StormWatch+ EnRoute is available in the MemphisWeather.net app (when the StormWatch+ service is purchased separately within the app) for iPhone and iPad users.  We expect to release this upgrade to StormWatch+ for Android users in the coming week or so.  We also will roll this technology into the separate StormWatch+ app for iPhone/iPad users nationwide in the next two weeks. Click one of the links below to download the appropriate app and be sure to upgrade within the app to add the StormWatch+ technology!

MemphisWeather.net with StormWatch+ for iOS
MemphisWeather.net with StormWatch+ for Android
StormWatch+ (nationwide) for iOS

For more information on StormWatch+ EnRoute, including FAQs on what warning types are available and when you will receive alerts, visit our StormWatch+ website.

Questions? Hit us up on Facebook or Twitter (links below), comment on this blog, or e-mail us at support@stormwatchplus.com.

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Visit MemphisWeather.net on the web or m.memphisweather.net on your mobile phone.
Download our iPhone or Android apps, featuring a fresh new interface and StormWatch+ severe weather alerts!

3 comments:

DanTheCigarMan said...

Erik,

I just updated the app and it works great as usual. Thanks for this update to StormWatch+ I am sure it will be a huge help during bad weather!

-Danny

MWN/Erik said...

Thanks Dan! Appreciate your comments!

Cheri said...

This is great!