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Scripps' new customizable weather app targets mobile consumers

The E.W. Scripps Company has introduced the Storm Shield app, a comprehensive and customizable weather application made specifically for mobile media consumers.

Storm Shield delivers customizable weather alerts in up to five locations, as well as a “follow-me” option. Once users choose their preferred locations and the types of weather events of most concern to them, the app pushes a text alert along with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration audible message right to their phone in time to take action.

The app is being marketed by Scripps media on a national level, with a particular push in the 26 American markets where the company operates television stations, newspapers and digital news organizations.

If the user lives in a Scripps local media market, the app will be customized (beyond the basic functions) with additional news, alerts and local information to keep the subscriber ahead of the storm. A partner code provided with the software or the user searches for a local city or zip code to activate enhanced local weather information in the Scripps’ markets.

For users outside a Scripps market, the app will still deliver National Weather Service watches and warnings, but no additional local content.

Storm Shield is available now for the iPhone and next month for Android phones. The app—priced at $4.00 from the Apple app store—replaces the traditional weather radio found in millions of homes.

“Most smartphone users keep their devices nearby all the time, including while sleeping, so there is no better platform to take over for this kind of alerting and information,” said Adam Symson, chief digital officer of The E.W. Scripps Company. “Storm Shield will wake you if a tornado is bearing down on your neighborhood in the middle of the night, or warn you of flash flooding when your power is out.”

The app was developed in conjunction with Norman, Okla.-based Weather Decision Technologies. Because the reliability of this service is so crucial, the Storm Shield alerting infrastructure is being hosted is a secure center designed to withstand the winds of the most severe (EF-5) tornadoes.

Scripps has 19 television stations in major U.S. markets and at newspapers in 13 markets. Weather Decision Technologies provides life-safety applications and weather decision support services WDT’s iMap services provide dynamic, web-based and mobile interactive mapping solutions for local media companies.