With a “potentially historic” blizzard on the way, millions of Americans are already in emergency preparedness mode.
But while stocking up on food and other essentials is a given, loading your smartphone with the right apps can also help make the upcoming storm more manageable.
See also: Live cam: Blizzard hits NYC
From emergency alerts to real-time weather updates and first aid tips, these apps should help you prepare for any situation and keep you in the loop with the latest news throughout the storm.
One of the most beautiful weather apps available, Dark Sky is known for its extremely accurate forecasts. The app pinpoints your location and provides up to the minute updates about when rain or snow will hit your neighborhood.
The interactive map view allows you to see global temperature and precipitation info so you can track storms around the world. Opt in to alerts, and the app will also send push notifications right before heavy rain or snow begins so you can take cover.
Whether you’ve had first aid training before or not, it’s a good idea to have the Red Cross’ guide handy should you need it. The app provides comprehensive guides on basic first aid procedures, as well as detailed checklists on how to prepare for extreme weather situations like winter storms.
First Aid also has a series of quizzes to test your knowledge of how to react in emergencies. And, should a medical emergency arise, the app shows you the closest hospitals and has one-touch access to 911.
Image: American Red Cross
NOAA Radar Pro
NOAA Radar Pro provides real-time updates and forecasts based on the latest satellite information from the National Weather Service. It allows you to keep tabs on severe weather alerts for specific locations by type of event.
This means you can set winter weather notifications for friends on the east coast, tornado warnings for relatives in the midwest and hurricane and tropical storm alerts for those in the south, for example.
The app also provides forecasts for the coming days and weeks around the U.S., and breaks down other stats such as pressure levels, humidity, and wind speeds. It also comes with a handy iOS 8 widget so you can see the latest updates without launching the app.
($1.99; there’s also a free version
Image: Apalon Apps
Plowz & Mowz
Think of it as an Uber for snow removal. Plowz and Mowz provides on-demand snow plowing (and lawn mowing in the summer) to users in 30 U.S cities, including Boston, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.
Create an account, get a quote and one of the app’s providers will come plow your driveway (unfortunately, the app doesn’t offer shoveling services so you’ll still have to clear walkways and sidewalks yourself). Once finished, they send you a photo of your cleared driveway so you can check their work even if you’re not home and the app charges your credit card for the work.
Image: Caribou Apps
iOS has a flashlight app baked into its operating system, but Android and Windows Phone users still need to download a separate app to take advantage of their camera’s flash. While there are hundreds of flashlight apps in the Play and Windows Phone Store, we like Privacy Flashlight because of its clean ad-free interface and small app size.
The main app includes a built-in timer so the app will automatically disable after a set period of time, and also comes with a widget for your home screen for easy one-touch access.
Image: SnoopWall Tools
Storm Shield relies on the latest info from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for real time alerts about storms in your area. It also has an in-app weather radio from the National Weather service and gives updates on school closures in some areas.
The app also allows you to share alerts with friends and family and keep tabs on different areas of the country.