Text Alerts

weather-channel-logo.jpeg I used to be a weather idiot. When it was going to rain, I usually found out by getting wet or by seeing everyone else holding an umbrella or rain coat on public transportation. I wanted something that informed me when it was going to rain (but not something that I had to look for). I wondered if there was a text message alert system for when it rained. I did some searching and found's text message alerts. I signed up for Rain Alert's and get a text message at 4 pm anytime rain is expected the next day (you can customize the time). It's fantastic. You can have them send a rain alert for "Any Rain (which I use)," "Moderate or Heavy Rain" or "Heavy Rain only." I also get the daily forecast every morning at 6, which gives me enough time to grab a jacket before heading to work if the text says I need one. You can sign up for e-mail or text or both messages, and customize times. They have a bunch of other options as well, like pollen alerts, extreme heat or cold alerts, surf conditions. The alerts are free, but you have to pay whatever text message fees your phone company regularly gouges you for. The alerts do seem to get messed up by an hour when the time changes (as do I, I suppose) and I have to go online and change them on my account. I've been using this for two years now and am now better prepared (and happier) when it does rain (plus I get to impress my friends if my pocket buzzes at 4 by announcing it's going to rain tomorrow). I don't know if another service like this exists, but I couldn't find another one when I looked before. -- Matt Salazar Text Alerts Free Be sure to check out comments from other weatherbugs at Cool Tools. Or, submit a tool!


  1. Nice…

    I only use the AccuWeather add-on for Firefox, which is very accurate indeed (I’m in Santiago de Chile). However, I don’t really give a shit about using umbrellas or anything, I like getting soaked if it’s raining and sweat like a horse if it’s 40ºC outside. I just use it to be informed and tell my gf “hey, it’s going to rain… you might want to take an umbrella. I love you.”

    It’s the sweetest thing.

  2. I live near Portland, Oregon. A rain text alert would be a constant nuisance and just drain the battery.

    A sunshine alert might be useful however.

  3. Unless they’ve improved it since I used it, you’re going to get annoyed and disable it pretty soon. I used it a couple years ago but it became very tiresome getting the same weather warnings over and over again – especially when it considered “extreme” weather to cover a far too wide range of conditions.

  4. Accuweather in Wisconsin is anything but accurate – I lost count how many times it told me it was “partly sunny” in the middle of a thunderstorm…

    The alerts are nice for the summaries but if you also sign up for the extreme weather alerts (tornado watch / warning, blizard watch/warning) then it will get annoying fast. It seems like every time something changes about the current alert it gets sent again. Sometimes it makes sense like the time period has changed but other times it is hard: it might be something like changing expected snow fall from 4 inches to 4.5, and then back.

  5. What I really need is an alert when rain is going to hit my specific location within 15 minutes. In the summer, I’m often out working on my farm and would love to know if those clouds I can barely see above the treetops are packing a punch or are just going to pass over. This becomes particularly critical when I’m harvesting something that shouldn’t get wet post harvest (like garlic).

    Though I understand how complex this is, all the data is there (wind, existing precip). To some degree they already do this with storm tracks, but only if it’s a storm of a certain strength. What I need is to be able to feed a GPS coordinate to a weather server and have it yell at me if anything is coming soon.

    1. The technology is available for your idea, but the personnel staffing the weather offices is the issue. For instance, in Canada, only Environment Canada can issue warnings, but they are understaffed and often these alerts come too late (sometimes with dire consequences).

      I have ‘push’ weather on my HTC smartphone which updates as often as I wish, and changes locations when I do because I have the GPS enabled. Very handy. You need a local radar feed that will do the same thing.

      1. I guess part of the problem for me is that I’m too cheap to get a smartphone and a data plan. If I had one, I could just pull up the latest radar images and go with that. Then again, I’d probably spend more time looking at my phone than I should and lose all productivity.

        Something that simply beeps at me and says “rain’s a comin'” would be far more valuable.

        Someday I’ll have my wish.

  6. I use the free service only for severe weather alerts. Awfully handy in the Ozarks, as we can have storms any time of the year. We just had multiple tornado warnings on the 31st and my text messages came in several minutes before the sirens went off (I’ve gotten alerts as much as five minutes before the sirens). Choose a distinct tone for their alerts and you are set…

  7. The first thing I do after waking up is grab my iTouch (which is also my alarm) and click on The Weather Channel app. I get the same info that way, right when I want/need it.

    I figure, if I want to know the weather, I’ll ask for it. Why should I have a piece of machinery beeping at me just because it’s scheduled to?

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