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Seven Free Smartphone Apps to Download Before the Storm

If Hurricane Sandy knocks out power in Wakefield, one of the only connections to updates and information will be cell phones. Here are some good apps to have.

One of the best ways to stay connected if your power goes out during Hurricane Sandy is via your smartphone.

Here's a list of some helpful apps to have on you smartphone as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the Wakefield area.

Ping4Alerts: This is the newly released and heavily promoted app from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Get weather updates and other vital storm-related updates from the agency that is in charge of handling storm response in the Commonwealth. Available for iOS and Android.

American Red Cross: This is the number one spot to find local shelters if you need it with the Shelters app and send out information via social networks to tell your friends and family you are safe with the Huricane App (for iOS and Android). In all, the Red Cross offers a total of five first aid and storm-related apps.

Radar: Both NECN and WHDH have great weather-only apps (NECN for iOS and Android and WHDH for iOS) and most other local news channels have live radar and other local forecast info as part of their news app, including WBZ, WCVB and WFXT. Both WCVB and WFXT also have apps for Blackberry. Track the storm on radar and get updated forecasts on the track and the storm’s impact.

Patch: Your No. 1 spot for all the local info you need. Download the Patch app and select Hamilton-Wenham Patch to stay in touch with what is happening with the storm close to home.

FEMA: The Federal Emergency Management Authority app (for iOS and Android) gives you plenty of great advice on how to get ready for the storm and what to do to stay safe as it bears down, plus weather updates.

Flashlight: You’ve been told to have battery-power lights and candles at the ready, but the phone in your pocket is a flashlight too. Download this app (for iOSAndroid and Blackberry) to turn the flash on your Smartphone camera into a flashlight. There are a variety of other free apps that do this.

TuneIn Radio: This app is great to listen to the “radio” near and far (for iOSAndroid and Blackberry). Get local news and information from radio stations close to home, but if you are interested in how other areas are faring you can check out stations from the South Coast, Connecticut and New York City too. Just watch your data use if you have plan limits and you are streaming on the cell network.

Have you used any of these apps? How do they work? What do you have on your phone to get you through the storm? Let other Patch users know in the comments.

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