National Weather Service to send alerts to your phone.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: July 1st, 2012
Whenever a severe weather event is predicted for your area, you will receive a text-like message on your phone.
ery soon, your smartphone will do more than just alert you when your friends check in at the local laundromat or post their new favorite cat video to Facebook. As part of a new plan from the National Weather Service (NWS), your phone will now tell you whenever severe weather is headed your way.
Whenever a tornado, hurricane, blizzard, or other potentially life-threatening weather event is predicted for your general area, you will receive a text-like message on your phone and, depending on which phone you have, your phone will ring or vibrate.There’s no special app needed, you just have to have a modern smartphone and be subscribed to one of the four carriers—AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile—to which 97% of Americans subscribe.
This sounds harmless enough, but we can’t help but remember the various alerts of times past, which were nothing if not extremely annoying.
Back when people used to watch television (it was what old people watched before YouTube), they would occasionally have to endure a government-mandated “test of the Emergency Broadcast System.” This commercial-length video that the FCC directed all TV and radio stations to broadcast at random times, was part of a system to alert people in times of national emergency. It managed the difficult feat of being at once extremely unsettling and horribly mundane. For those born too late, it looked like this:
Then, when everyone watched cable TV (it was what Comcast sold before the internet), the National Weather Service would hijack every non-premium channel and broadcast an even more alarming alert, usually to warn of a thunderstorm or snowstorm happening many miles away. That looked and sounded like this:
Now they’re coming for us on our phones. Hopefully the new NWS alerts will be a tad subtler. We do know one thing that guarantees that these alerts don’t become as annoying as the TV and radio alerts of yore: If you don’t want to receive the NWS alerts, you can opt out.