When I rode out Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, I learned life lessons about survival and how to be resourceful in an emergency, how to survive a serious storm and the tools that matter after the flooding.

Here are the best apps to get you better prepared for weather danger.

Turn Your Smartphone into a Walkie-Talkie

Zello, the free push to talk app turns your phone into a walkie-talkie.  The Lousiana Cajun Navy used it to rescue flood victims.  Make a family communications plan for major storms.  Zello works with cellular or wifi connections.  #1 on trending app list when bad weather approaches. (iOS, Android)

Waze Steers You Around Flooded Streets

Waze, crowd-sourced maps are uniquely helpful in identifying flooded streets to guide first responders and residents returning.  Realizing its own effectiveness after a storm, Waze, created  program “Connected Citizens” that helps state and local governments use Waze map data to improve transportation and emergency response. (iOS, Android)

Try Facebook When 911 Fails

Social media apps, Facebook and Twitter, can be more effective at getting out a SOS call than a broken 911 system for flood victims in distress.  Facebook and Instagram are particularly useful with checking in with neighbors to check the status of your evacuated home.

Your Power Company App

Most power companies now offer outage maps and estimate restore times. You can also interact to report your power out and if you see downed power lines. If no app, then logon to power company website on your mobile phone and save the link. When you sign-up for power outage text alerts just watch how fast your neighbors start turning to you as an information source in the storm.

Best Critical Weather Alert App

Weather Radio app sends alert warnings to your phone’s speaker.
Receive audible alerts via voice and push notification for life-threatening weather events. Your phone will “wake up” with alerts and track your location to warn you wherever you go. In addition to the app following your location, you can save other locations such as locations important to family like schools. (iOS, Android)

Best Storm Tracker

Highly detailed design. Open Ventusky site with smartphone, tablet or a computer. Detailed hyperlocal weather including a tool to drag the timeline into the future to see how a storm may be positioned in days and hours ahead. ventusky.com