TULSA, Okla. — Many of us receive alerts on our mobile phone when severe weather moves in. The National Weather Service is about to introduce a new alert they can push when dangerous thunderstorms approach.
Scheduled to begin on Monday, August 2, the National Weather Service will send out emergency alerts through your phone’s operating system regarding destructive severe thunderstorms.
Ed Calianese, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tulsa, says this new way of alerting the public across the country will be a game changer in mobile phone weather alerts.
“I think it’s going to help out a lot of people and save lives,” Calianese said.
It’s the goal of the National Weather Service to better convey the severity and potential impacts from thunderstorm winds and hail by adding a damage threat tag to severe thunderstorm warnings.
“When we include that destructive tag, the higher end severe thunderstorm warnings are now going to be pushed through people’s phones,” Calianese said.
Warnings with this tag will automatically activate a Wireless Emergency Alert or WEA on smartphones within the warned area based off the phone’s GPS.
“That’s going to be when we believe baseball size hail and/or 80 mph winds are possible,” Calianese explained.
The new destructive thunderstorm category conveys to the public urgent action is needed because a life-threatening event is occurring and may cause substantial damage to property.
“We’re going from no severe thunderstorm warnings being pushed through this to only the higher end ones. That’s an important improvement to this process I believe,” Calianese said.
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