National Weather Service Emergency Alerts Start Today
The National Weather Service today announced that its text-message emergency alert system goes live starting today. The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) service, a joint effort between U.S. wireless network operators and the federal government, will deliver text message warnings to cell phone users based on a number of potential hazards, including tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, dust storms, extreme winds, blizzards, and ice storms. The messages are delivered based on location, so even those who are traveling will receive alerts for where they are, not where they live, if there's danger. Carriers participating in the program include AT&T, Cellcom, Cricket, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. The alerts are not sent via the traditional SMS pipes, and are instead delivered through a system that is not affected by network congestion. The WAE can also deliver both AMBER Alerts and Presidential Alerts. Wireless subscribers can opt out of AMBER and Weather Alerts but not Presidential Alerts.