Earlier this year, my hometown of Henryville, Indiana was hit by an EF4 tornado. If someone hadn't told me earlier in the day about the massive storms headed our way, my family would not have been prepared. The tornado leveled everything in its path, but thanks to warnings and weather-tracking gadgets, nearly everyone was prepared and many lives were saved that day. The storm made me realize that my family needed a better way to track approaching storms. With that in mind, I've researched weather- tracking devices on the market and selected five that I would trust based on ease of use, uniqueness, price and user reviews.
The Midland WR-300 (*Est. $65) tops the list when it comes to weather radios. It contains every feature that the NOAA recommends in a weather radio, including public alert certification and the ability to run on electricity or batteries. User reviews are positive for this radio, but some of the cons include that it does not have automatic shut-off after an alert and the AM/FM reception is not flawless. Overall, it offers the most features for the money and is easy to program.
Princess International offers the Weather Station Keychain (*Est. $29.95), which allows you to predict the weather anywhere in the world you want to go. The readout will offer the current temperature and the humidity, which can help you predict potential storms while camping or spending time in the great outdoors. The reviews on this gadget are a bit mixed: users either loved it and gave it five stars on sites like Amazon.com and Magellans, or they hated it and felt it wasn’t worth the money. The most common cited reason for disliking the keychain was that it was made from plastic and not as high of quality as they expected.
If you’re an outdoorsman, AcuRite’s Hunting and Fishing Activity Meter and Weather Forecaster (*Est. $59.99) will be your new favorite toy since understanding current and upcoming weather is vital to a successful day of hunting or fishing. This gadget offers weather forecasts for 12 to 24 hours away. Hunters will also appreciate information on moon phases, past barometric pressure readings and the built in clock and calendar which adjust automatically to Daylight Saving Time. The forecaster is weather resistant, so you’ll never have to worry about using it outdoors. User reviews of this and similar products by this company indicate that the product performs as promised.
The AccuWeather App is available at no charge and can be downloaded for Apple, Blackberry and Android mobile devices. You can also set AccuWeather to send you e-mail and text notifications of severe weather alerts, or download a toolbar for your computer that will alert you to approaching severe weather. One of the drawbacks to the AccuWeather app is that it focuses on the weather for major cities. If you live in a very small town, the app may not be as accurate or useful.
The American Red Cross Weather Radio Combo (*Est. $40.00) offers several features in one compact and inexpensive package. This bright red weather device is easy to spot when you need it. It features a NOAA compatible weather radio and is chargeable by either solar or hand crank options. It also provides the option to charge a cell phone, but you’ll need to provide your own cable to use this feature. If you need a flashlight, the radio also offers a built-in LED flashlight. The majority of reviewers found this weather gadget useful, but some expressed concerns with the ability to pick up AM radio stations.