Wireless Emergency Alerts: a new way to get weather warnings

Tornadoes can happen anytime of year, but there are two tornado seasons in our region. The secondary season occurs in October and November. The primary season is March, April, and May.

The next time a tornado warning is issued for your area, you may get an alert on your cell phone, even if you have never signed up for the service.

The StormTrack 5 Team and offer customized severe weather alerts to your e-mail or cell phone. Click here for more information.

But now the U.S. Government may send an alert to your cell phone during certain types of severe weather. The system is called Wireless Emergency Alerts.

Anthony Cavallucci is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Morristown, Tennessee.

Anthony tells us, "you will only receive a 'WEA' alert if you have that phone and it's a tornado warning, ice storm warning, blizzard warning, or flash flood warning."

Severe thunderstorm warnings are NOT broadcast through the 'WEA' system at this time, but you can sign up for those here at

The Wireless Emergency Alerts are available through most providers, but only on compatible phones. You can see a list of compatible phones and participating carriers here. The 'WEA' alerts are free, and will be short, giving you just enough information telling you to take shelter or watch local media for more information.

Anthony tells us, "it just says a tornado warning for your area until whatever time, and that's when you should turn on your NOAA weather radio, which I highly recommend, or get some other source, tune into the television."

It's important to remember that this new system is not meant to replace other ways of getting severe weather alerts.

Anthony says, "redundancy is always a nice thing, especially when you want to protect your family, yourself, or your friends. If you have multiple ways of receiving information, the text alert is just one more way to receive the info."

The alerts are only sent out to those in the affected county. So if a tornado warning is issued for part of Greene County, all of the cell phone towers in Greene county will transmit the alert. That's a really nice feature for those traveling.

As always, you can stay with the StormTrack 5 Weather Team on-air, online, or on mobile.

Most Popular