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Wireless Emergency Alerts are Now Available in Abilene for Smart Phones

Cell phones receives a text
Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Whether it’s a tornado warning or an Amber alert, your cell phone will also become your personal emergency alert device with the new wireless emergency alert system. So how will this work for you?

Say you’re visiting family in Kansas, and there’s a tornado nearby. Even though you’re from Abilene Texas, your cell-phone will text you, to alert you of the tornado near you wherever you are. Simply put, your phone knows where you are and will warn you of any alerts issued near you.

CTIA-The Wireless Association, the cell phone industry, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have worked together in an effort to roll out the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. The system should be fully functional for most cell phone companies by mid June.

WEA system will be available to most major cell phone companies, including: AT&T, Cellcom, Cricket, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. Sprint Nextel has already begun notifying their customers of service availability. iPhone users will get the WEA system service on the next iPhone update regardless of the carrier.

This new Wireless Emergency Alerts system for your mobile devices will alert only to the following:

  • Presidential Alerts – Alerts issued by the President or a designee
  • Imminent Threat Alerts – Alerts that include severe man-made or natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., where an imminent threat to life or property exists
  • AMBER Alerts – Alerts that meet the U.S. Department of Justice’s criteria to help law enforcement search for and locate an abducted child

Hector Guerrero of the National Weather Service in San Angelo said “the system for us here at the weather service, should be functional by the end of June”. Here’s what else Mr. Guerrero said about the new W.E.A.

Here’s Hector talking about W.E.A.

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Do you already have a system to alert you of bad weather in Abilene? Do you think this new system will help or scare people? What is the worst kind of weather?

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