May 15, 2012
Extreme Weather Warnings To Text Begin This Month
RedOrbit Meteorologist Joshua Kelly
Weather warnings via phone are not a new idea as many private weather companies already offer this service. However, now the National Weather Service is going to offer this service for the first time.The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) service begins this month and will be provided to all wireless phone users for free — no need to even apply or sign up for this service. Major wireless carriers like T-Mobile, [email protected] and Sprint are among the providers that are going to start issuing these text-based messages to their clients.
The great news about this service is that it will be based on your location. This means that if you are traveling to another state and there is a warning issued for that state you will receive the text message notifying you of the warning.
Susan Buchanan from the National Weather Service tells Doyle Rice of USA TODAY: “These texts alerts will be very brief under 90 characters and are intended to prompt people to immediately seek additional information through the wide range of weather alert communications available to them, such as the Internet, television, radio or NOAA Weather Radio.”
This could be one of the best moves by that Federal Government to reach more people in a shorter amount of time. Also this will let people know that they need to tune in to a local television or radio station for more information in regards to the specific warnings being issued.
Along with issuing alerts for severe weather and earthquakes, there will also be alerts sent out via text for any AMBER alert in regards to missing children in that area. The warning system will also be used for National Disasters that the President issues.
The biggest thing to remember is that in a time of emergency people should also remember that NOAA has weather radios which are just as effective in warning people about the impending storms that are approaching. The weather radio works in the same way as the new WEA in that it focuses on the geographical region and provides coverage from the weather service that is responsible for the region that you are in, meaning that if you travel with the NOAA weather radio it will also change to find the closest station.
The Wireless Emergency Alerts are made possible through the wireless communication companies, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. So remember later this month this service will begin so when you see a text message arrive make sure to check it out as it may just be a weather warning to save your life.
This is just another great example of the National Weather Service working towards helping the public prepare for disasters.