CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Between March and November, severe weather is at its peak in the Southeast. Tornado outbreaks, hail and thunderstorms and the beginning of hurricane season all define the eight month window. But when the weather gets tough, there are new options to stay alert.
Emergency Management Department Chief of Operation Cathy Haynes says the latest release of the weather radio is her device of choice. But even she agrees, the way people are getting information is changing as fast as the weather.
"There's so many other ways," says Haynes, "simpler and quicker ways for people to get weather information."
For example, the Charleston County government provides an alert system that sends out text messages and phone calls when severe weather is on the way.
Another option is on your smartphone. Live 5 News has developed a weather application, free of charge, that delivers interactive radar, storm tracking, forecasts, weather alerts and more, straight to your phone. The app sends out a sound update on storm warnings and watches in the area.
With these instant ways of receiving information available, even when you're fast asleep an alert may save your life.
But heavy sleepers may need something with a little more volume.
Ron Morales, Warning Coordinator for the Charleston Weather Service, asks the question, "is your cell phone going to be loud enough to wake you?"
Morales says, on the go, the app alerts are a great new option, but at home he thinks a weather radio is a fail safe way to wake you up. He says old versions of the radio may broadcast a larger range of warnings that would annoy users.
But new weather radios allow customers to program in a code for their county for a more personalized alert system that won't sound if a storm isn't in the vicinity.
"Just like you would have a smoke detector for your fire threat," says Morales, "you have a weather radio for a smoke detector for bad weather".
To sign up for Alert Charleston County go to www.live5news.com and enter "alert" in the speed word.
Live 5's weather app is available in Android Market Place and iPhone app store free of charge by searching "Live 5 Weather."