EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSWEATHER TEXT ALERTS
from Eyewitness News Online
You Will Soon Receive Weather Alerts In The Palm Of Your Hand
Reported by: Ashley Smith
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Ashley Smith
Reported: May. 16, 2012 5:04 PM EDT
Updated: May. 16, 2012 5:23 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Witnessing a tornado form is one of the scariest experiences a person may ever have. Even scarier would be not knowing the storm was coming.
"We want to get the information out and as quick as possible and this is one way to do that," said Hydrometeorologist John Sikora.
The National Weather Service has teamed up with FEMA, the FCC, wireless companies, and other government agencies to start a brand new service by June for anyone who can get text messages on their phone.
"This is just an added technology based on the last tornado outbreak that we had . just to get the message out a lot quicker. Wherever you're traveling, you'll get the information," said Sikora.
If dangerous weather is headed your way, you'll get a brief (90 characters or less) text message explaining the imminent danger regarding high level alerts. Around here that usually means tornadoes or floods.
The specific alert sent to your cell phone will depend on your current location which is determined through a local cell phone tower.
"Doesn't matter where you're at, as long as there's a cell phone tower, you'll get the message," said Sikora.
This could prove to be very helpful at outdoor events where officials aren't close to a tv or radio.
"Weather is a great factor here," said Laidley Field Stadium Manager Doug Carte.
Doug Carte is preparing for one of the biggest events of the year at Laidley Field.. The State Track Meet. He checks the weather constantly.
"Text message will be terrific for us. Everybody carries a phone now and we can be right here on the field and get the text message and take care of that problem if it happens," said Carte.
This service is free. But what officials are really hoping to save are lives.
You can opt out of the free text messages. However, the presidential alerts are not optional. You can find more information including which wireless carriers are on board with this project at this site: http://www.fema.gov/emergency/ipaws/cmas.shtm#3
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