Updated:ATLANTA — When severe storms hit metro Atlanta, the more weather tools available to keep people safe, the better. And now there's another one. It's the iMap Weather Radio.
The app for iPhones, iPads, and iPods works like a weather radio. It sends you an alert when weather watches and warnings are issued.
"What we did is we took the power of the weather radio and combined it with the precision and portability of a smart phone," said app inventor Mark Taylor.
The iMap Weather Radio uses a phone's GPS to send alerts only to the area where the person is. That means no more fire warnings for South Georgia if someone in metro Atlanta doesn't want them. The app also follows a person anywhere, including the golf course, camping or even when in the car. When you're traveling it can track the weather ahead on your trip to make sure it's safe.
The app also lets people keep an eye on their loved ones.
"We actually engineered up to five additional locations so if you've got elderly parents, children in college or children at camp and you want to keep tabs on them, it will actually alert you if there's something going on in their location," Taylor said.
The iMap Weather Radio allows the user to decide the type of alerts they want to get. If someone only wants tornado warnings, it can be programmed that way.
The tornado warning function already saved lives in Alabama during April's deadly tornadoes when the power and weather radios were out.
"(In) one of the towns that was completely devastated, someone actually reported that they got an alert about 15 minutes ahead of time," said Taylor.
The app also has a television function that can connect to what's being broadcast on WSB-TV. That way if a user is taking cover in an area without a TV, they still can stay informed. Users also can check live radar images and traffic.
Taylor said he's working on making the app available for other phones in the near future.
Starting at midnight May 19, the first 100,000 smart phone users can download iMap Weather Radio for free. After that, it costs a one-time fee of $9.99.