Nothing ruins a road trip like having to ford flooded rivers and dodge oncoming tornadoes. Thankfully, Google Map's new Public Alerts system should help keep you out of the path of Mother Nature's rage.

The alert system debuted today and pulls disaster warnings from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, and US Geological Survey (USGS). Other US agencies will be able to push their warnings as well, provided they use the Common Alerting Protocol, which most already do. The system is currently only available in the US but will expand as more services sign on. Google also plans to extend the reach of these alerts to be, "visible on other Google products in the future."


To use the service, a user simply searches for the disaster and location—say, "San Francisco Earthquake"—to pull up a map of the area with listings for recent and likely-upcoming events. The user can then pull up other pertinent data, like the disaster's expected severity and probability of occurring, by clicking on the "more info" button. [Electronista via the Verge]