Over the last few years, government organizations, both in Maine and around the nation, have started using the cellphone network to send out critical information. The system is called Wireless Emergency Alerts. Basically, they are like the 21st century version of the Emergency Broadcast System (now known as the Emergency Alert System) that radio and TV stations use. So far, in Maine at least, it has mostly been used for Amber Alerts. Occasionally, it has been used to alert people about severe winter weather or tornadoes (a rare occurrence here in Maine).
According to WGME, starting this summer, the National Weather Service will begin using the system to warn Mainers, and those who are visiting our state, about impending severe thunderstorms
They will only send out alerts for storms that could cause harm to people caught in the open. And, as the system can target certain areas, only those who are in affected areas will get the text messages. That way, those not in the affected areas, will not get bombarded with useless messages.
What are Wireless Emergency Alerts?
They are messages sent out by the National Weather Service, law enforcement agencies, and the federal government. You’ll know you have received one when your phone makes a abnormal sound (sometimes it sounds like the old EBS attention tone) and it vibrates.
According to Weather.gov:
The WEA message will typically show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the…