A technical checklist for the dark side of summer weather

Summer is in full swing now, but along with vacation trips, campsites, and lazy days, severe weather has arrived in many parts of the country. If you live in an area prone to such conditions, it pays to be prepared. Here are some tips to help you use your technology during the big meteorological moments—sometimes, even when power and cellular service are shaky.

Getting accurate local weather information helps you stay ahead of nearby threats like hurricanes, flash floods, hurricanes, or wildfires. Setting alerts on Apple’s default weather app, Google app, or a dedicated weather app notifies you. Bookmark government webpages in your browser – such as those for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationthe National Hurricane Center or the US air quality index – Useful for manual checks of current conditions.

Your phone can also receive Wireless emergency alerts from federal, state, local, tribal and territorial empowered authorities. Check your notification settings to make sure they are enabled.

The American Red Cross also has it for free emergency The app, which allows you to track 40 types of hazards, including earthquakes, hurricanes, extreme heat, hurricanes, and wildfires — with alerts in English and Spanish. The emergency service, which collects information from old Red Cross apps, offers checklists, first aid advice, information about nearby shelters and downloadable guides that work offline.

If the power goes out, you’ll need alternative ways to charge your phone — like solar panels, a power cable to your car’s 12-volt dashboard outlet, or a manual charger. Wirecutter, a product review site owned by The New York Times, has guides to replacement chargers, emergency radios, and other gear to help you weather hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes.

Losing your physical wallet in a disaster can be very devastating, but if you have credit or debit cards saved in a digital wallet app on your phone, you have a backup for companies that have contactless payment terminals. Digital versions of your Medicare and driver’s license cards may also be options. (Four states now offer official digital driver’s licenses or state ID cards for apple And Google wallet apps, but more to come, including New York; Some states also have their own digital ID applications.)

Almost every major insurance company has their own mobile app that you can use to file a claim, get roadside assistance, and check policy documents. If you haven’t installed your service provider’s app and set up your account on your phone, do so before you need to use it.

And if you’re overwhelmed with air travel disruptions, your airline’s app helps you rebook the flight.

Sealed plastic boxes and fireproof boxes can help protect vital documents and photos from the elements. However, digitizing the material—and storing it in the cloud on a secure server—gives you a virtual backup out of nature’s reach. Many MFPs include a scanner, but you can also reasonably scan files using a smartphone app.

Large storms often disrupt the delivery of gasoline and other elements of the supply chain. with l Price charts And Power outage tracking Features GasBuddy website And applications It can help you find working gas stations.

apples iPhoneGoogle pixels Samsung phones galaxy Other devices and phones have shortcuts for calling emergency services and determining your location. Apple iPhone 14 models also include Satellite SOS feature When you’re out of cellular range, and Google has an extension Personal safety application for Android devices. Make sure you know how everything works on your model so you can get help quickly if needed.

If you’re stranded with a fast-draining phone battery and no power, consider this common trick if you still have cellular service: Change the voicemail greeting to specify your location and position. Even if your phone battery dies, loved ones trying to reach you will get the information.

Of course, there may be very extreme situations like your phone lost or damaged. Turning on Find My Phone in your device’s settings before bad weather hits provides electronic hope for finding it later.

To recover faster from a wrecked phone, back it up online so its contents are safe and ready for download to a replacement device. Your phone manufacturer will be happy to sell you extra online storage for a few bucks a month if you need it, but just make sure you have time for a full cloud backup before that storm. hit the clouds.