FIRST ALERT WEATHER SPECIAL: Tapping the weather app's powers

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(WBAY) - Whether we're expecting severe storms or accumulating snow, when the weather becomes active the WBAY FIRST ALERT WEATHER app for Apple and Android devices can help keep you and your family informed and safe.

But it won't do you much good if it doesn't know where you are.

When you're on the home screen, to access the location settings, you can touch the left edge of the screen and slowly swipe all the way to the right (you can also tap the menu icon -- three stacked lines in the upper right corner) and select Location.

If your GPS is turned on, you can simply select "Follow Me."

But -- there may be times you want to know the weather somewhere else or you may not keep your phone's GPS on all the time. To add a new location, type the city name in the search tab at the top of the screen.

Once you've selected a new city, it will be added to your location list. Your current location is highlighted in red. When you tap a different location on the list, the app will automatically change to show the forecast and conditions for that city.

To make any changes -- such as delete a location or give it a name -- tape the three dots on that particular location's tab. This is also how you turn alerts on and off for a given city. When alerts are on, you'll receive a notification when watches and warnings are issued there.

The WBAY FIRST ALERT WEATHER app allows you to customize what alerts are pushed to your phone. Changing them is just a matter of a few taps.

To change your alert settings, tap the menu icon in the top right of the screen, then tap Settings.

You can toggle between metric and U.S. units as well as change your alerts.

We recommend leaving WBAY alerts turned on. This way, you can receive custom notifications directly from the meteorologists in the First Alert Weather Center targeted to specific geographical areas.

But there are automated alerts you may want to turn off. Those changes are made by tapping the Weather Notification Types button.

Here again -- I would recommend leaving at least Severe and Winter turned on. If you just want the warnings and not watches, you can expand any category with a carat to select or de-select individual alerts.

Another alert you may want to keep turned on is lightning. This will let you know when lightning is detected within 5 miles of your currently selected location.

The WBAY FIRST ALERT WEATHER app is available on Apple's App Store and Google Play.