Tornado warning? Red Cross has an app for that

Severe Weather Preparedness Week has arrived in the Buckeye State, and the American Red Cross is helping Ohioans get a leg up with their new mobile app.

The Red Cross Tornado App is available in English or Spanish and gives Apple and Android smartphone and tablet users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a tornado.

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When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues a tornado warning in the user's area, the app sounds a high-pitched siren and pushes a "tornado warning!" alert to the mobile device. When the warning is over, the app will push an "all clear!" alert.

Other features include location-based severe thunderstorm and flood watch and warning alerts; one-touch "I'm safe" messaging that users can send to their loved ones; preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps; a mobile tool kit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm capabilities; and locations of open Red Cross shelters.

"In Northwest Ohio, I think that, unfortunately, it's very likely that tornadoes happen - and they happen all the time," said Amanda Aldrich at the Northwest Ohio Region American Red Cross. "So it's a good way for people to be prepared in the event that it does happen."