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Best apps for tracking Hurricane Irene

If you're in the path of Hurricane Irene and you haven't gone through the App Store already looking for the best sources of info on the storm, there are others who have done it for you. Information Week, Appolicious, and MSNBC's Technolog have all made lists of apps for various flavors of smartphones.

Virtually all the lists of apps include the free Weather Channel App for iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, and Blackberry*. The application description doesn't clearly state if the free app (there's a paid version) has push notification for weather alerts, but the $3.99 Weather Channel Max app does include them.

Aside from TWC's contributions, there's also the paid Hurricane for iPhone or Hurricane HD for iPad which shows up in multiple lists of suggested apps. You may want to try searching for an app for a TV station in your area; a lot of them have notifications for breaking news or weather alerts which you can set up.

CNN has a few apps listed alongside Twitter feeds to watch and things like a multipurpose radio which includes weather band information, a flashlight, a USB port for charging, and a hand crank to make the whole thing go.

Google has set up a crisis response map with a wide variety of layers including power outages, shelters, forecasts and loads more.

Here are some basic tips for maximizing battery life on your smartphone/tablet/laptop/e-reader in case of power outages: Turn the screen brightness down as low as you can, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and if you can run multiple apps at once, quit anything extraneous. That way you'll get the most out of your battery before you have to hook it to that Axis radio and work the hand crank till your arm gives out.

If you do need this list of apps because you're in Irene's path, all of us at TUAW (who aren't battening down our own hatches) are thinking of you and wishing you well.

*Irene doesn't care what smartphone you use.

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