Prepare 2024: New Ways to Get Warnings

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By Scott Roberts

When the sky darkens and the winds pick up, knowing what’s coming can make all the difference. In the heart of severe weather season, having access to timely and accurate weather alerts isn’t just convenient—it’s essential for safety. Modern technology offers a range of notification systems and methods that go beyond the traditional sirens and broadcasts, directly bringing critical information to individuals, making them feel prepared and safe.

This week’s topics:
A Look Back | New Ways to Get Warnings | About the Fur Kids…
A Busy or Blah 2024? | The Top Weather Killer You Wouldn’t Expect

The Weather Calls You

In the past few years, most Kansas counties have implemented resident notification systems. The most widespread of these is Everbridge, which is in use in Reno county and a consotrium of surrounding counties.

 

The Everbridge platform can call you with alerts for a wide range of public safety incidents, whether natural or man-made. For example, you could receive a notification for severe weather, a wildfire, or flooding. You also can choose to receive updates from participating municipalities for non-emergent issues, such as road closures or utility maintenance in your city.

Reno County and Hutchinson use Everbridge Resident Alerts to communicate with citizens during emergencies and other critical events. This system replaces the CivicReady system which was previously used. To receive these notifications, you must opt-in by entering your contact information and subscribe to notifications.


This system is funded jointly by these counties: Barber, Barton, Comanche, Edwards, Harvey, Pawnee, Rice, Stafford, and Sumner. This system will provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. It is keyed to the location you setup when you sign up.


The benefits of subscribing to such a system are manifold. Firstly, it offers peace of mind. Knowing that you’ll be informed of potential dangers in real-time allows you to prepare or evacuate as needed. Secondly, it’s about convenience. With alerts tailored to your preferred communication methods, you won’t miss critical updates. Lastly, it fosters a sense of community safety. When everyone is well-informed, the entire community can respond more effectively to emergencies.

Commercial Services

While each of these have a cost, they can form another layer in your warning system. We are not affiliated with any of these, and do not endorse one over any other.

When a severe weather warning includes your location, you will receive a phone call from WeatherCall®. It doesn’t matter what time of day, or if it is a weekend, you will receive a call. You can also receive the warning by email with a detailed map of the threat or by text message. (Information from the WeatherCall® website.)

Find out more by tapping the logo image above.

Aware by weatherUSA® is a real-time weather alert service that sends out weather warnings, watches, tropical alerts, and other advisories as soon as they are issued by federal agencies including the National Weather Service. Alerts are sent to subscribers in the warned areas to a mobile device via text messages (SMS) or by e-mail. Premium users can also receive alerts via voice (phone) call.

You can select warnings to receive based on county or state for local weather warnings; national advisories such as tropical storm and hurricane advisories are also available. For text messaging, you can even select a “quiet time” when you do not want to receive notifications. At the moment, our service provides alerts for any location in the United States. (Information from the WeatherUSA website.)

Find out more by tapping the alert sample image above.

Does this Mean Older Methods are Obsolete?

Absolutely not. The difference is that older methods are more broad in their coverage than the newer ones.

For example: “weather radios” — or their correct name, NOAA All-Hazard Radios.

You absolutely still need one of these. Purchase it where they’ll program it for you. The closet they can be dialed down is by county, so you will have false alarms. I would suggest not having it programmed for severe thunderstorm warnings. The important ones are tornado, flash flood, blizzard and ice storm warnings.

Broadcast Radio/TV

(Yes, I’m only logoing the ones I work with!) Broadcast media is still critical in the warning process. Social scientists have shown conclusively that it takes three exposures to the same warning information before most people will take action. So once you’re awakened by the initial alert, hearing or seeing the warning information on broadcast media is crucial to keeping yourself up to date and ready to act.

Apps and Online

An app, such as one of the TV station weather apps or those from AccuWeather or the Weather Channel, is a good way to keep in the know when you’re on the go. Warnings for your current location as well as radar and other weather information and your current forecast are all at your fingertips.

The Interwebs and especially Social Media can be good sources, but there are a lot of poor-quality sites too. I’ll I can say is to find sites you determine over the course of time to be reliable, and ignore the hype and self-promotion focused sites. Realize that the state of weather science is not such that we can say with any level of certainty what’s going to happen in a particular location more than 8 days out…and really the accuracy drops off after about 5 days. Another time, we’ll explain why that is. BTW: we discuss these things and more in our member-exclusive content when we post our regular briefings and outlooks. Check out more here or click for details below.

Tomorrow: About the Fur Kids … How to Prepare and What to Expect in a Disaster

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