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Tracking Hurricane Irma: How to get alerts on your phone

Here's how to stay on top of your weather situation.

weather-app

Weather alerts on your phone can keep you safe.

Alina Bradford/CNET

With Hurricane Irma growing to a category 5 storm -- the strongest seen in the Atlantic for more than a decade -- you need to stay on top of the latest weather alerts if you live in an eastern coastal region. This storm, so far, is stronger than Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in August.

The National Weather Service (NWS) provides automatic weather alerts and warnings over the radio and TV, but it doesn't send email or SMS alerts. This can be a problem if you're hunkered down with nothing but a phone. 

Here are three ways to be sure you have weather alerts as soon as they happen, no matter where you are. (And here's how to stretch your phone's battery life.)

AccuWeather app

This is the app I personally use. When there's an alert or warning, the app will send a notification to your phone. The notification is loud and annoying, so it's sure to wake you up if you happen to fall asleep. I also like all of the goodies the app provides, like real-time maps, pollen counts and news. It's available from the iTunes Store and the Google Play store for free.

Call Loop

You can get weather alerts texted to your phone with Call Loop. Text WEATHER to 38470 and you'll get free texts with the latest information from the National Weather Service. 

Disaster Alert by Pacific Disaster Center

This app will send weather and disaster (natural or man-made) alerts to any device. It also provides maps with with detailed information about the safety of an area. For example, you can see if an area is flooded, has biomedical dangers and more. It's available for iOS or Android.

Update, Sept. 5: This article, originally published on Aug. 25, has been updated.

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