Apps To Download for Hurricane Florence, Like Zello Walkie-Talkie, Red Cross for Evacuation, Sheltering in Place

Ahead of the approach of Hurricane Florence, people across the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and even some inland states are evacuating and heading to shelters. But some are staying behind, heeding warnings to prepare for possible record-breaking rainfall and flooding.

Flooding is expected to be one of the most severe threats from Florence, and forecasters are warning it could cause deadly conditions for those who choose to stay. 

But whether residents are evacuating or sheltering in place, they need a way to stay in contact with their loved ones and keep up with the storm so they know the latest threats. There are several apps for both iPhone and Android devices designed with exactly that in mind.

Zello

The Zello app was popular during previous storms like Irma and Maria. It’s a smartphone app that runs off of Wi-Fi or cellular data and allows users to use their device as a walkie-talkie or two-way radio. The app can also be used on a computer when the users have internet access.

Users can contact one another using the app, as well as contact people on open channels. Sometimes during flooding or hurricanes, if users have an internet or data connection they can use the open channels to ask for help. If others in the area are listening, they could then come to their rescue.

GasBuddy

This app helps those evacuating find a gas station where there is still gas available and electricity to keep the pumps running. It uses crowdsourced information to help inform users whether a station along their route has gas left, what the prices are and whether a station has power. The company added timestamps and sharing options to the app to better help those using it while evacuating.

Hurricane: American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has its own app designed for use during a hurricane emergency situation. The app provides information about the hurricane conditions in the area and the track of the storm, and it has a feature that allows users to tell others that they’re safe. The organization also has other apps, like an “Emergency” app that helps users monitor severe weather and emergency situations all in one place. The apps are available for both iPhone and Android devices.

FEMA

This app from the Federal Emergency Management Agency has alerts from the National Weather Service, tips for preparing for a storm, disaster resources, ways for people to help and more. The app also helps users find a shelter near them and monitor where the severe weather is.

florence fluff Hurricane Florence churns through the Atlantic toward the East Coast on September 12. Several apps can be helpful to those in the hurricane's path. ESA/NASA via Getty Images

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