Weather and emergency alerts on cell phones

John Robinson from the National Weather Service sends along this useful bit of information that will be useful to some cell phone users.

Beginning on various dates in May, most cell phone compnies are going to be offering a new service called CMAS (Commercial Mobile Alert Service), also called PLAN (Personal Localized Alert Network) and WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts). AT&T and Verizon are two of the participating companies.
Alerts, including certain types of National Weather Service Warnings, will be sent automatically to cell phones. However, to receive the messages you must have a cell phone that is capable of receiving them.
According to the AT&T Web page, these are the only models that they offer that can currently receive the messages:
  • Samsung Galaxy SII (SGH-i777)
  • Samsung Captivate Glide (SGH-i927)
  • Motorola Atrix 2 (mb865)
According to the Verizon Web page, these are the only models that they offer that can currently receive the messages:
  • Droid 2 Global by Motorola
  • Droid Pro by Motorola
  • Droid X2 by Motorola
  • Motorola Citrus™
  • LG Cosmos™ 2
  • LG Revere™
  • LG Enlighten™
Of course as new models of phones come on the market, many will include the alerting capability. If you are looking for a new phone, if it has the logo (shown at the bottom of this e-mail) on the box the phone comes in, the phone will be able to receive the alerts. (Older models of phones cannot be retrofit to receive the messages.)
NWS Warnings that will be sent include Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings, but not Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. Others NWS warnings that will be sent are: Tsunami, Hurricane/Typhoon, Dust Storm, Extreme Wind, Blizzard, Ice Storm, and maybe Lake Effect Snow. Other types of warnings include Amber Alerts, various types of Civil Emergency Messages, and emergency messages from the President.
This is an opt-out service. In other words, people will automatically get the alerts unless they specifically opt-out, The only thing you cannot opt-out of is emergency messages from the President.
The messages will look like text messages, but are not SMS messages. Phone users will not be charged for these messages. The method that sends the messages is not subject to jam-ups that sometimes occur on cell networks when too many people are calling or texting at the same time. Because messages are sent based on cell phone towers that are within the alert area, the alerts are not tied to the usual location of your cell phone. If you are within an alert area (based on cell towers in that area) anywhere within the country, you should receive the message.
If you are on a phone call or receiving data on your phone at the time a CMAS message is sent, CMAS will not interrupt. It will try to resend the message for awhile, but after this interval expires, you will not receive the message.
Note especially this link: It has links to information from each cell phone provider, so that you can see what your cell phone company is saying.
FOOTNOTE: There is a link provided for Marie’s cell provider, Cricket. Unfortunately, no one is authorized to get the information (if any exists) on that page. No link at all for my service, StraightTalk. Yes, I am a miser.

About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

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