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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Corliss Technology Review Group, Tech Review: Be winter-ready with these apps

Last week's snow, freezing rain and frigid temperatures were just a warm-up for winter, which doesn't start officially until Saturday. These apps will get you ready for the season by helping you track a dangerous storm or record a delightful day on the slopes.

(iOS, Android, free)

In the frightening scenario where you're stranded in your car because of severe weather or a breakdown, Winter Survival Kit goes into action. It tells you how long you can keep your engine running to stay warm before you run out of gas and sends an intermittent alarm to keep you alert. It stores contact numbers and insurance company policy numbers, making it easier when you call roadside assistance service. Just make sure you input the information during the calm before the storm.

(iOS, Android, $1.99)

This app uses information from the government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to tailor a neighborhood snow forecast by ZIP codes. The app updates NOAA information hourly and displays projected snowfall amounts over the next 48 hours on an animated map. If NOAA issues a winter-weather alert, the app shows it in a warning box.

(iOS, Android, free)

Stuck at home with cabin fever? Become a "citizen scientist." mPing, an abbreviation of the Precipitation Identification near the Ground project by the University of Oklahoma and National Severe Storms Laboratory, wants you to report on the conditions outside your window. Upload the type of precipitation -- snow, ice pellets, freezing rain or other winter weather -- and the data will be compiled by researchers. You can see the results on interactive map.

(iOS, Android; $0.99)

There are two groups of people who love an impending snowstorm: kids and skiers. If you're in the latter category, this app is for you. Ski Tracks won't tell you where to ski, but it will tell you how well you are skiing. Using GPS, it tracks your progress down the slopes and produces graphs and statistics. It doesn't use data or need a phone signal to work. The app makes it easy to share your day of schussing and half-piping with Facebook friends.

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