If there is anything as diverse as the customs and communities in this country, it’s the weather. Large hailstones, heavy snowfall, pounding rainstorms, severe wind – seems like no matter where you live, extreme weather can be an issue. Some thrill-seekers chase storms, but for the average person, driving into damaging winds or torrential rains is cause to panic.Wouldn’t it be great to get warnings about threatening weather before you unwittingly encounter a major storm? Well, as long as you use a cell phone that is WEA-capable, you now can get free wireless alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service. These emergency alerts for the most dangerous types of weather are picked up by your phone when they are broadcast by nearby cell towers. That means, regardless of where you are, this service sends alerts appropriate to your real-time geographic location.
How It Works…This nationwide text emergency alert system, called Wireless Emergency Alerts, transmits warnings for weather emergencies that are most dangerous to life and property, such as tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, extreme wind, blizzards, ice storms, tsunamis, and dust storms. The service sends 90-character messages that automatically pop up on cell phone screens using a unique ring tone and vibration. If your phone is on silent or vibrate only, you will receive the alert, but will not get the WEA sound. The messages will not disrupt text, calls, or data sessions that are in progress and will include:
- Who is sending the alert
- What is happening
- Who is affected
- What action to take.
Signing UpTo find out if your phone is WEA-capable and when the alert system will be available in your area, you can contact your wireless carrier or visit CTIA, the Wireless Association. Major participating carriers include:
- AT&T — Wireless Emergency Alerts Information
- Bluegrass Cellular — Wireless Emergency Alerts Information
- Cellcom — WEA Page
- Cricket — >Wireless Emergency Alerts Information
- Sprint — Wireless Emergency Alerts Information
- T-Mobile USA — Wireless Emergency Alerts Information
- U.S. Cellular — Wireless Emergency Alerts
- Verizon Wireless — Wireless Emergency Alerts Information