This free Windows application offers up information on earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes, wildfires, and more. Earth Alerts delivers plenty of information in a format that's (mostly) easy to read, but Earth Alerts is definitely an application for folks who are looking for critical information - you'll find little in the way of fun and games here.

When you first run Earth Alerts, you're prompted to select locations at which you'd like to monitor weather and other activity. Doing so is easy - you can enter a zip code or a city name and the application finds the location for you - and optional. If you don't enter a location, you can still use Earth Alerts to get an overview of global activity.

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Earth Alerts features a neatly organized interface, with the locations listed in a panel on the left side of the screen, and more detailed information listed in a larger window on the right side. The left panel alerts you to the number of severe weather events, while the left side lets you learn more about those events in detail. If there are volcano warnings in the United States, the main panel will, for example, let you see the names of the volcanoes, their current status level, and more.

You get an incredible amount of detail - similar to what I recall the professional meteorologists looking at during my brief stint working in a TV news station. It may overwhelm folks who are looking for a casual source of weather information, but will please anyone who delights in details.

The reason for the professional quality of the information is the sources that Earth Alerts calls upon. It gets its information from the National Weather Service, US Geological Survey, and the Smithsonian Institution, among others. The information is primarily displayed in a text-heavy format, but you can see some maps, radars, and satellite imagery.

Still, Earth Alerts is not a replacement for your favorite weather forecast - whether you get that online, on TV, or through another app. This software is designed to track and monitor severe weather events, not to keep you up to date on your local forecast. For that, you're better off using a site like Accuweather.com, which provides plenty of detail, but also has the video content that many consumers are used to when it comes to weather forecasting. Or, if you're looking for something a little more fun, consider YoWindow, an application and screensaver that show you a visual representation of the outdoor weather right on your PC.

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Earth Alerts: Specs

  • Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Pentium III or higher, 1024x768 screen resolution or higher, 5MB hard disk space, broadband Internet connection, Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Pentium III or higher, 1024x768 screen resolution or higher, 5MB hard disk space, broadband Internet connection, Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

OUR VERDICT

Chances are, you don't need to check Earth Alerts for a daily forecast. But if you're wondering about the status of any seismic activity or want to keep tabs on a hurricane that's brewing in the Gulf, Earth Alerts is up to those tasks - and more. This program is donationware. It is free to use, but the author accepts and encourages donations towards further development.

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