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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When the storm hits and the power is out, radios have been the go-to for communication. But today technology has advanced right in the palm of our hands.

Cell phone apps can tell you when heavy winds and rain have begun, if any tornado watches or warnings have been issued in your area and where to seek shelter if needed.

The Red Cross has made free apps available and so have individual cities and counties. Jacksonville'sJaxReady appallows residents to check for evacuation zones, road closures and more.

"We're able to push out information through social media and it's almost an instant to where we can reach the public," said Alex Pellom, Emergency Preparedness Planner for the City of Jacksonville.

Apps can help you keep your family and friends close by tracking their locations through the GPS system on their cell phones. There are free apps where you can sign up your loved ones and once they download the app, you can knoweach other's locations in case you're separated by a storm.

Portable cell phone chargers have also made it easy to keep your smartphone smart, before, during and after the storm. But as these technologies advance, so have the ones that keep your household running.

"We're getting new lighting systems that are available therefore we get a lot more light a lot longer," said Home Depot employee Dave Raby. "Another thing that's coming a long ways are generators, we are getting more and more power out of smaller and smaller units."

Whether big or small these gadgets are making it easier to get through the storm.

For more information on how to prepare, click on the First Coast News weather section.

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