Severe weather alerts via text

By:  Cole Miller
cmiller@klkntv.com

A new weather alert system is on the way to keep you in the loop.

The alerts will be sent through all major cell phone carriers through a text message.  That way, if you're on the road or away from your tv, you'll know when severe weather is on the way.

Nebraska is home to weather of all kinds snow and cold in the winter. Doug Ahlberg, the Director of Lincoln–Lancaster County Emergency Management, says it has immediate advantages.

“The other applications that you have on your smartphones or your iPods, whatever, are something that you have to look for. This will automatically give you the information as it affects where you're living right now.”

It's provided through the national weather service, and they'll be automatically sent to cell phones from most major providers.

Here's how the alert system works. If you're in an area where there may be threatening weather, you'll receive a short text message, no longer than 90 characters in length.  The information will be basic and encourage you to find out more about what's going on. 

“I think it sounds great because we don't have cable television, it's hard for us to know what's going on with weather unless we listen to the radio. So, to get it on our phone would be really helpful otherwise we usually end up surprised about what's going on,” said one Lincoln resident.

While the alerts will go out to most phones via text you will not be charged for them. And you can opt out if you want.  But Ahlberg says with how fast the weather can change, it never hurts to be on board.

“Things change. It's implemented, it's going to be functional and I think your viewers are really going to appreciate a heads–up when it comes to severe weather issues.”

The alerts won't just be limited to weather.  You may also get notices for amber alerts and messages concerning national emergencies.

For more information about the alert system log onto:   www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/wea.html or
www.ctia.org/consumer_info/safety/index.cfm/AID/12082