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National Weather Service Starts Free Weather Warnings Service For Smartphone Users

The National Weather Service has come up with a novel idea, of  sending severe weather warning alert messages to smartphone users as a text message. These messages will not be longer than 90 words and will “cause late-model smartphones in that area to sound a special tone and vibrate” alerting you to the impending danger if you are in the path of tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, flash floods, extreme winds, blizzards and ice and dust storms. The service is currently compatible only with comparatively ‘modern’ phones and the service is not yet available in all areas. The National Weather Service still believes that with the huge number of smartphone users, the service messages will still be received “millions of smartphone users”.

“”These alerts will make sure people are aware of any impending danger and provide them with the information needed so they can be safe until the threat is over,” said Amy Storey, spokeswoman for CTIA-The Wireless Association, an industry trade group that helped set up the system.”

But, in case you feel that the weather warning service message is ‘spam’ and you can do well without the ‘severe weather’ alert, you can decide to opt out of the service. We are pretty sure that most will find this a welcome service. Specially by the residents of Tornado Alley and the hurricane belt. Greg Carbin, from the national Storm Prediction Center, who is thewarning coordination meteorologist there, tell the Associated Press that “even in those areas of the country where there’s a lot of severe weather, the frequency with which you would be alerted is pretty low.”

Apple. Inc is expected to join this service and make software upgrades available so that iPhones can receive these weather warning alerts. It is unclear, however, whether all iPhones models will be able to receive these software upgrades and thus, the weather alerts.