From mapping app Waze to walkie-talkie app Zello to messaging app FireChat, which works offline, there are a slew of apps which could prove crucial to weathering out the storm.

For example, Waze is a community-based GPS mapping app that lets you share real-time information about traffic jams, down trees, flooded roads and more.

WRAL’s own weather app provides continuous information 24/7.

Trending top of the list this week is the smartphone app Zello, a free push-to-talk app that works like a two-way radio. Create new channels by getting family and friends to sign up into a private group where you can share storm updates, call for help, or just chat. You can also join existing channels – there are several already up and running for Hurricane Florence. But remember: Zello still requires an internet connection or weak cell phone signal.

Other walkie-talkie apps for Android and iOS include:

Meanwhile, FireChat is a free peer-to-peer messaging app that works with or without internet access or cellular data to send text and images.

FireChat issues

Unfortunately, FireChat is having technical issues according to an advisory sent to users:

“Hello, thanks for reaching out and for your interest in FireChat! I’m sorry to hear that you have been having difficulty with our app. Our engineers are aware of the issue that you are encountering and are actively working to resolve it. Unfortunately, due to our limited resources as a startup, this is taking quite a bit of time. However, an update will be released for the app with the resolution as soon as it is available so please stay tuned!

“Based on the feedback we have been receiving, this error seems to only be occurring on iPhones so if you are using an iOS device it may be helpful for you to try on an Android device instead.”

Other apps

Glympse is another app that can supplement both Zello and Firechat. It allows you to share your real-time location with rescue groups or estimated arrival time, using GPS tracking.

Other good resources are apps like ReadyNC and WRAL News where you can get real-time updates on storm movements, evacuations, power outages and flooding.

The American Red Cross also has a number of free apps that offer everything from first aid relief to humans and pets, to hurricane updates and information on open shelters.

AAA offers a free information app for members.

Other healthcare apps that offer virtual care and real-time access to doctors include Doctors on Demand (enter code FLORENCE2018 for a free consultation) and UNC Urgent Care 24/7.

UNC notes: “To register and create a UNC Urgent Care 24/7 account, visit or visit the Apple App and Google Play stores to download the app to a smartphone or tablet.  Patients should use the offer codeUNCFLORENCE2018 from the website or app.”

Running out of gas? GasBuddy offers live updates on fuel availability and gas station outages in states affected by Hurricane Florence.

Suggestions for additional useful apps? Send them to: