From the ABC 7 Weather team

Weather Text Alerts: A New Service

May 14, 2012 - 10:40 PM
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We can use our mobile devices for pretty much everything these days.  You'll now start receiving text alerts when severe weather threatens.

Ring, Ring -- this was the main use of telephones and cell phones in the beginning, but in today's day in age it's all about mobile apps, GPS, gaming, email, text messaging, video chats, and much, much more!  To be honest, I can hardly keep up with it. 


Now I will say, I do like to keep up with the latest weather apps, since I always like to know what's going on with the weather.  Obviously I'm bias, but I think the StormWatch 7 app for iPhone and Andorid is a great go-to (sorry, had to plug!).  Whether you download weather apps or not, you'll soon start receiving text alerts when severe weather warnings are issued.  

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier.  WEA is a partnership between FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and wireless carriers, to enhance public safety.

Anytime a life threatening weather warning is issued you'll receive a text message.  The National Weather Service will send out alerts such as, tsunami warnings, tornado and flash flood warnings, hurricane, blizzard and a few warnings.  This alert system will also be utilized to send Presidential alerts and Amber alerts.

Now, don't worry - your phone won't start alerting you when there is a tornado warning in Oklahoma, but it will text you if you are in the geographic area with an active warning.   How does your phone know?  An alert will be sent through the nearest cellular broadcast towers, so it is not utilizing GPS and therefore does not know your exact location.  Any WEA-capable phone in that particular area on a participating network will receive the alert.  The text alerts won't cost you anything either. 

The goals is to have these push text messages sent within the next few months.  Some areas have already undergone test text alerts.  You can find out more information here.  

With such highly sophisticated "smart" phones, I think this is a "smart" and effective way of reaching the public and alerting them to pertinent information.  It could help save your life. 

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