The National Weather Service says that this year, it will begin pushing text notifications to cell phones that alert users to hazardous weather conditions.
The text notifications will be sent to those people within the location of the severe weather. The Weather Emergency Alerts could also be used for local emergencies that require evacuation, AMBER alerts and Presidential alerts “during a national emergency,” the Weather Service said.
“The Wireless Emergency Alerts system will notify people of approaching tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, flash floods, extreme winds, blizzards and ice and dust storms by sending an up-to-90 character message to their smartphone. The system is only compatible with newer devices, and will not be available in all areas, but the NWS says that “millions of smartphone users” will start receiving messages soon. Apple intends to support the service this fall, but it’s not clear whether the support will be limited to new hardware, or if all its devices will receive an update.”
The Weather Service says users can opt out of the service.
The CTIA says that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are all participating in the system. They have more information on whether your phone is supported at their website.