Severe weather on the way? Monitor multiple sources for information

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With severe weather in the forecast this Saturday, it’s important to review some key severe weather safety tips so that you are prepared well ahead of time:

  • Have multiple sources of weather information including TV, NOAA Weather Radio, and a weather app like Live Alert 19
  • Plan for “failures” and have redundancies: If the power goes out or your cellphone battery dies, you will have back up sources of information.

If you’re not as familiar with your surroundings, Live Alert 19 is a good tool to keep you updated with what’s going on. It uses your GPS location to alert you if something important is headed your way.

While Live Alert 19 is a powerful tool, you shouldn’t rely solely on it for severe weather information. It’s important to have multiple ways to get warnings. TV,, Live Alert 19, and NOAA Weather Radio are all good tools to have.

This way, if one source of information fails, you still have several ways to receive important weather information.

Locate Your County and City on a Map

The National Weather Service in Birmingham tweeted out an interesting statistic in early April 2019: Less than half the students at a local high school could locate their home county on a map of Alabama.


Knowing exactly where you live on a map can be crucial information when storms are moving through. Simply knowing what county you live in, and what counties border yours will help keep you aware of when storms are moving in.

It is imperative you learn not only where your county is located, but where your town is within your county. This is because we’ll use county names to identify where severe weather watches and warnings are in effect. We’ll also use city and town names when tracking storms as they move through the Tennessee Valley. By knowing you’re location you can follow our coverage, and prepare for storms more easily. It’s also recommended that you study nearby counties and towns, so that you’ll know if storms are nearby.

To help, we’ve attached two maps of Tennessee and two maps of Alabama. For each state you’ll find a blank map and a map with the county names. You can study the map with the county names on it and then test yourself by trying to identify your county and surrounding counties on the blank map.



Stay weather aware!

“Familiarize yourself with some of the bigger areas, county names as well. It only takes about a minute to kind of grasp where you are,” said Todd Barron, NWS Huntsville Warning Coordination Meteorologist. “We speak the language of geography. Every time we send out some sort of impact message, it’s going to reference a city or place of interest.”

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