Tornado/Severe Weather Alram

Hello, I'm new to electronics and micro controllers but I'm no stranger to electricity and home wiring though. Any way I need help with an idea I have. Ok, you see the thing is i'm hard of hearing and I'm unfortunately losing it due to reasons unknown. Also I'll be moving out within a year and will be living alone in a tiny house that I'm designing. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of tiny homes here's a good site to give you an idea of what they are: http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com. Ok now you're probably wondering what exactly it is I'd like to do here. What I want to do is make a system that can check the weather warning data from the National Weather Service and set off an alarm when a life threading situation such a a tornado occurs.

Now some of you are probably wondering why don't I just get a weather radio? Well you see the thing is here, when you're deaf conventional audio alert systems are useless. Yes I have looked around but there's nothing truly useful. What I want the system todo is that when the alarm is triggered i'd like it to turn on the lights in the home and set off a strobe light. Correct me if I'm wrong but is is from my understanding that such a system can be made using a combination of a Arduino, Raspberry PI, and a heavy duty triac board such as this one: (reference to company selling counterfeit board removed).

If my idea makes me a complete idiot I assume this would be a good way to make a home automation system? Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I'd start with a weather radio like below ($37) that has a jack to connect external alert devices. They have a plug in strobe light for $20 to plug into the radio.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/58830387/SC-WX67_manual.pdf

The problem with the strobe add on is that there are some reviews that point out some flaws that make me kind of iffy about it. That does give me an idea though, would it be possible to make the arduino accept input from the radio's accessory jack?

I would suspect that there is some type of output on the jack when the radio is in alarm, and devices/systems could be connected.

In the manual you posted the unit diagram has a port that is clearly labeled "External Alert Jack" so I'd assume it is at least possible to do. I was able to find this in the manual for a Midland WR-100:

Connecting the External Alert Output to an External Device
You may need to turn on or turn off another device when an alert is
received. The WR-100 provides a switch closure to signal other
devices at the EXT. ALERT jack when the monitor receives an alert.
The output is compatible with home automation devices from suppliers
like X-10 and others. Connect the positive lead of the interface to the
tip of the 1/8 inch (3.5mm) phone plug and the negative lead to the body
of the plug.
A DC powered device using 12 Volts or less and requiring less than
200mA of current can be switched directly using the EXT. ALERT jack.
Observe the polarity of the jack so that the negative side of the external
power source is connected to the body of the 1/8 inch (3.5mm) phone
plug and the device is connected to the positive source and to the tip of
the phone plug.
The internal switch is closed when an alert is received. Pressing any
button on the front of the monitor will open the switch.

I assume it means this is a simple on/off interface and could be connected to an input directly or would I need some sort of circuit in between the two to protect the Arduino?

I'm all for interfacing something like this to arduino as a fun project. It would be easy to do. But in a situation where your life might depend on it working reliably I'd be inclined to keep it as simple and rugged as possible. For example a small power supply and relay plugged into the receiver with the relay operating your strobe lights or whatever. The fewer things you have the less can go wrong.

I agree on keeping it simple; the less that can go wrong the better. That's why I like the idea of using an actual weather radio with an alert output jack as the trigger instead of my original idea of using a Raspberry PI to check the NWS server. It would be much more simple and reliable and won't rely on an internet connection. If the power's out I could use a UPS as a backup power source. Since the lights won't work if the powers out I could have the strobe run off the UPS or if the power draw is low enough I could just have it run right off the Arduino. Right now I'd like to know how to safely interface the radio with the Arduino's input pins. I'm assuming the uses a simple on/off switch for the signal but I don't know for sure yet.

What I'm trying to say is there is no reason to use an arduino at all. Weather radio jack --> relay & Power Supply --> strobe light.
That's all you need. UPS for all is great.

Well yes, that's the simplest you can go but I was kinda hoping I could have a home automation system running too. I know it complicates it more and makes more that can go wrong but since the weather radio would be hardwired directly to an input, I believe the risk would be minimal with the proper programing. A backup system is always important so things like a UPS are a must have for sure.