Surviving the ride downtown New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina got me focused on finding the best apps that make a difference when natural disasters strike.

Here are the leading emergency apps that I keep on the ready.

First of all, it’s not an app, but the top source for official hurricane info starts at the National Hurricane Center. If you or your loved ones live anywhere near the path of potential tropical weather activity, bookmark the mobile site of the NHC. Tap this address and then save it. NHC Mobile


Siren GPS app

On day 4 after being stuck in post-hurricane flooded waters from a levy break, data on phones went slower than you can imagine. Siren GPS app helps you share your GPS location with rescuers. Ask anyone who has been through a major disaster or storm, and you will learn that survivors end up in strange places. Common streets become unrecognizable especially when signs and landmarks are destroyed or under water. SirenGPS lets you give 911 dispatchers your GPS coordinates to give you a better chance of rescuers finding you. (iOS, android)


Disaster Alert App

Free mobile app provides individuals, families and loved ones with the info they need to stay safe anywhere in the world.  Disaster Alert is powered by DisasterAWARE platform with updates to 18 different types of active hazards including flooding.
You can customize alerts and track hazards near people you love even if they live far away.


Waze App

Remember when streets are flooded and exit routes are hampered by unusual weather conditions, Waze navigation app can help steer you around dangerous areas and to safety. That’s because similar folks who’ve been down the troubled road report routes that are closed and the ones that can help get you on your way.


Zello Walkie Talkie App

Turns your phone into a walkie talkie. Download free app now and add all family members.
So long as there is cell service or wifi, you will be able to communicate on Zello quickly as a group. Each family member should keep their phone with them at all times along with their charger including a car 12v plug.


Gas Buddy App

When gas prices surge during and after a major storm, this will help show you not only who has gas for sale, but if there are long wait times and fair prices.


First Aid: American Red Cross Emergency App

Helps you deal with the unexpected wrath of a natural disaster with life-saving information. Tap the Emergency symbol at bottom of screen to get going.  This First Aid app gives anyone basic life-saving instructions when help from paramedics is far away. It now powers Alexa with Hurricane Alerts. Enable on the Alexa app then say  “Alexa open Hurricane Alerts”


Pet First App

Download and be able to handle many animal emergencies during a storm for dogs and cats. Locate the nearest emergency VET hospital.  Cat & Dog First Aid app is free.
(iOS, Android)



MyRadar app

App that allows you to layer various types of weather information such as wind and precipitation to a very local live look with radar in high resolution. Set alerts to know when heavy rains or dangerous conditions are approaching your location.


DarkSky app

One of the best simple ways to see the weather up close in your immediate local area. DarkSky has alert settings to let you know how much rainfall and when it is forecast to hit you in up to minute. EX: “Heavy rain starting in 20 minutes and will last for 7 hours.”