A week ago Monday, at about 10:30 a.m., the cellphones of thousands of southeastern Wisconsin residents blared anunusual tone and vibration, notifying them that the National Weather Service (NWS) had just issued a tornado warning.
News quickly followed that the warning was just a test, even though the alerts hadn't said anything about it being a test. The alert was inadvertently issued as an actual warning instead of a test due to human error; basically, someone at the NWS pushed the wrong button.
Not everyone got the alert, which was issued as part of a new Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system introduced in 2012 that automatically sends Presidential, AMBER and Imminent Threat alerts to cellphones. If you didn't get the alert, it's probably because you have an older cellphone that isn't WEA-capable. FEMA anticipates that most cellphones will be WEA-capable by 2014.
To find out if your phone is WEA-capable, visit the website of your cellphone carrier. If you have a smartphone that isn't WEA-capable, it may be wise to download a weather alert app, which can be programmed to sound an alert and send a text message in the event of threatening weather.
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