Winter Storm Warnings
Updated: Mar 1
Take storm warnings seriously. Winter weather can quickly become very dangerous. Storms often bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. When there’s risk of danger or destruction, you will want information quickly so you can seek safety and prepare your home and family. Luckily, there are highly developed public safety systems in place that can help you navigate the winter season.
Local Emergency Notification Systems
IPAWS is the nation’s system for alerts and warnings. The public is alerted of emergencies using the EAS, WEA, NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, and other public alerts in one single entity. Notifications are sent for three categories- Presidential, AMBER, and Imminent Threat.
Local systems are used to alert local authorities who then send out detailed warnings to broadcast, cable, satellite, and wireline communication pathways.
Many local jurisdictions will offer opt-in public alert and warning systems. You will have to sign up to receive the alert. Once signed up you will receive texts or emails for local emergencies. Find which alerts are available in your area by searching the word ‘alerts’ online with your town or city’s name, or by visiting your local emergency management office or public safety office.
Enhanced Telephone Notification Systems (ETN) works like a reverse 911 system. It typically includes only landlines, but there may be mobile opt-in services available. Local emergency management will have more information on this process and the features available.
Outdoor sirens and voice alert systems are used for alerts when there are immediate dangers and people are outside. These alerts are not designed to alert those indoors. Check with your local emergency management for information about what services are operable and available in your area.
Check your local workplace, school, and community faith-based organizations for possible opt-in lists for warnings and notifications. This may include a call or email system like those used by local authorities.
Weather alert and hazard apps are available to offer further alerts, information, and instruction during disasters. FEMA, The American Red Cross, and The Weather Channel are just a few of the organizations that offer helpful apps.
NOAA Radio Systems
Requires a special weather radio receiver to receive NWR broadcasts. These can be purchased at almost any home improvement retailer or electronic store. Look for the Public Alert or NWR logo to ensure specific requirements are met. More information can be found at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.
Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)
WEA is a free emergency text message alert sent by local authorities. It will broadcast to all equipped mobile devices in an affected area.
You do not have to sign up to receive WEA alerts. You can visit www.ctia.org/WEA for more information or contact your mobile device provider.
When winter weather rolls in, preparation is everything. Storm warning systems are in place to give information, but it’s up to the public to heed warnings and make preparations in order to avoid danger and possible destruction.
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