The months of May and June bring welcome relief from the winter chill, but they also bring along an increased risk for severe weather in the Tri-State area, namely tornadoes.

If you've lived in the Evansville area for any length of time, you know our weather can turn on a dime. One day, it's a beautiful 75 degrees and sunny, the next it's a high of 40 with blustery arctic-like winds. As you also know, this clash of warm and cold air makes us susceptible to the occasional strong storm or tornado.

The devastation in Oklahoma on Monday serves as yet another reminder that while we can't prevent a tornado from destroying everything in its path, we should always have a plan in place for anytime the threat is imminent in order to protect ourselves and keep losses to a minimum.

Advancements in weather technology have given meteorologists the tools they need to provide information on possible tornadic activity earlier than ever before, but if you're not around a television or radio when things start to get nasty, the Red Cross has debuted a new app that sends the potentially life saving information you need right to your smartphone or tablet.

The free app, available at both Google Play and the App Store, features simple step-by-step instructions to help you know what-to-do even if the cell towers and TVs are down, and offers prioritized actions for before, during, and after requiring no mobile connectivity, along with an audible siren that automatically goes off even if the app is closed when NOAA issues a tornado warning to help reduce the chance of sleeping through an actual warning.

Other features with the app include:

  • Push notification when a WARNING expires – especially important if power goes out while you or your family are in your safe room.
  • A Red Cross location-based open shelters map.
  • Information on how to assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of power outage or evacuation.
  • Details on how to make and practice an emergency plan.
  • Preloaded content for instant access to all safety information at anytime, even without reception or an internet connection.
  • An "I'm Safe" notification sharable thru social media, text, and email to let family and friends in other areas know you're OK.
  • A built-in toolkit complete with strobe light, flashlight and audible alert functions.

For more information on the app's capabilities, visit the American Red Cross' website.