Online Disaster-tracking Tools

Do you want to know if your friends are okay? Were they in the path of dangerous storms? Are firefighters battling a wildfire near them? Did you learn of an earthquake in an area that will change your travel plans? I tracked down some tools that might help you navigate natural disasters. I’ll share a lot of screenshots of the sites.

Online Disaster-tracking Tools

Google Maps

I noticed last year that Google Maps has “natural disaster icons.” I saw a wildfire icon near my brother’s town. I also constantly checked a hurricane’s exact position as it swirled closer to our home.

This past March, I was concerned about a friend caught in a historic snowstorm in the San Bernardino mountains. Here’s my screenshot of the road closures taken during that time:

I wasn’t aware that clicking on “Southern California winter storm” would’ve opened more information in a sidebar.

To write this post this morning, I discovered a tornado warning in Dothan, Alabama. This time, I clicked on the icon. I could see the sidebar and what area was under the tornado warning.

I wondered how I could find out about the recent tornados of the past several weeks. Mississippi. Alabama. California. Iowa. Delaware. I know people in all these states.


One summer, the air quality was very bad in Minnesota and Iowa because of the massive California wildfires. I had to cancel my trip.

Other sites

Many of these maps are global maps.

Contact Your Friends

If your ministry partner is in a disaster area, they may not have power or phone coverage or mail service. They may not have the time to respond on social media or to answer an email or a phone message. Depending on your relationship with them, try these, of course. Determine the best and most meaningful way to contact them. You may want to do more than communicate with them, of course.

If they did suffer damage or loss, don’t forget them. It takes months, and even years, to recover from disasters.

Take some time to reach out to your friends and ministry partners!

Pin me, please

Tornado photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

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