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Local Youths Develop Storm Shelter App

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- A group of boys, 10 to 13 years-old, has developed an app that could help you during severe weather. It is called "Weather Wise," and it helps you locate the nearest tornado shelter.

The nine members of T.E.A.M. Robotics from both Huntsville Middle School and Jones Valley Elementary School started this journey last year as part of a robotics program challenge called FIRST LEGO League.

The challenge was called Nature's Fury and the team had to create a solution to a problem caused by a natural disaster.

After meeting with the local National Weather Service and the Emergency Management Association, the boys decided that there was no easy way to find nearby tornado shelters.

"It would be helpful if the tornado sirens went off and you were in Guntersville playing a baseball game, you could just pull up the app and find the nearest shelter to you," said team member Daniel Ceci.

"We're just kind of like in the heart of all the storms you know, they said we're in the new tornado alley," said team member Caleb Carden.

The app also has other features including what to pack for an emergency preparedness kit.

It also has links to the NWS and Red Cross websites and you can use it to report storm damage.

The app initially focused on North Alabama, but the boys want to take it statewide, so they presented it to Governor Robert Bentley.

He told them that it is an app that will save lives and he plans to help them improve it so they can benefit all of Alabama.

"I feel like we're helping a lot of people," said Ceci.

"It can help them because all the apps on the app store, none of them are like this," said team member Harrison Dunn. "They're mostly alerts and you know, not as good as this."

"Weather Wise" isn't available for download just yet, but if you would like to preview it, click here.

T.E.A.M. Robotics will present its app, along with a robot the members designed and built, at the FIRST LEGO League International Open in Toronto from June 4-7, 2014.

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