How Weather Events Impact Daily Technology Use 

Photo by Frederik Lipfert on Unsplash

If you’re stuck inside during a storm, or you don’t want to go outside because of the cold or snow, the last thing you need is your wifi or phone signal to drop. Watching Netflix is a lot harder with an unstable or weak internet connection! 

On a more serious note, you might need to access the internet or make phone calls to check on family and friends, get regular updates on the situation, or plan an alternative route home. But does weather (mild or extreme) have an impact on technology? 

Internet Connectivity

If you’re inside watching Netflix or on a Zoom call, then the weather itself won’t usually affect your wifi router’s signal strength, especially if it’s mild weather such as light rain or fog. 

However, more extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornados, and blizzards can interfere with the communication between the satellite in space and antenna terminals on the ground. These events can damage satellite dishes or move them out of position, which will, in turn, affect the strength of your signal.  

It’s not guaranteed this will happen, and many people don’t experience any disruption when there are storms.

Power outages usually are the main problem when it comes to maintaining internet connectivity during storms. Also, if many people are at home at the same time during a storm, then your internet speed might slow. It’s similar to the issue with wifi speeds during COVID-19 lockdowns when people had to spend more time at home using the internet.

Cell Phone Signal Strength

While your internet shouldn’t be affected by weather changes, it’s a different story when it comes to your cell phone signal. Water in the air blocks the signal between the cell tower and your phone, which is why rain can have a significant impact on signal strength. 

Wind doesn’t usually have an impact, and only heavy snow and hail will cause your cell phone signal to drop. As a lightning bolt can cause electrical interference, it can damage equipment such as antennas and power sources. 

Space Weather

Yes, it’s not just typical weather we have to worry about when it comes to staying connected; space weather can impact technology too. Space weather such as solar wind, solar flares, and geomagnetic storms can disrupt satellites that provide GPS services. 

According to experts, just like with any other weather event, preparation is key to mitigating the effects of space weather. Keeping track of the forecasts and signing up for warnings can help prepare when the next (solar) storm hits.