Most tornado deaths in North Carolina happen during storms that sweep through at night, while people are asleep and unaware. But you can receive alerts on your phone to warn you of impending storms.
Nearly 75 percent of all North Carolina tornado deaths are at night, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh. With dangerous storms expected Wednesday night and Thursday morning, including the possibility of hail, cloud-to-ground lightning and tornadoes, the weather service says it’s important that citizens have a way to get weather alerts.
Most phones have the alerts set up automatically, so users would have had to manually disable them in order to no longer receive them.
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The weather service advises that people use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio, charge cell phones and make sure the audio is turned up, and enable emergency notifications and alerts.
How to get alerts
On an iPhone: Open the settings app, tap on notifications, scroll to the bottom and turn on “emergency alerts.”
On an Android: Open the settings, click on the “more” option under the “wireless & networks” section and scroll down to the “cell broadcasts” settings to turn on the alerts.
You can also dial “##2627##” on your mobile phone to turn them on.
The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Weather Service.
No signup for the alerts is required. They are sent to WEA-capable phones during an emergency unless the alerts have been disabled by the user. There is no charge for the alerts.
The alerts include extreme weather warnings, local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, AMBER Alerts and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.
The National Weather Service sends alerts for tornado and flash flood warnings; hurricane, typhoon, dust storm and extreme wind warnings; and tsunami warnings.
If you’re traveling, the alerts will use your wireless carrier’s location data to determine appropriate alerts to send. WEA uses radio technology to broadcast alerts from cell towers to mobile devices in the area of threat and do not track the locations of individual users.
The alerts have special tones or vibrations to differentiate them from other notifications.
For more information on WEA alerts, go to www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/wea.html. For more information on WEA-capable devices, go to www.ctia.org/consumer-tips/how-wireless-emergency-alerts-help-save-lives or contact your wireless carrier.
Weather apps downloaded to a smartphone also may send other emergency alerts, including the N.C. Emergency Management app, ReadyNC.