Johnson County residents will soon be able to receive severe weather warnings on their cell phones.
Johnson County Emergency Management is partnering with FEMA to implement a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system.
The system will allow the National Weather Service to send severe weather warnings in the Kansas City area to cell towers in the affected areas.
“While these warnings may look like text messages, there won’t be any charges on your phone bill,” said Matt May, assistant director of operations for the Johnson County Division of Emergency Management. “This is just one more way to be alert for imminent dangers, whether you’re at home or on the road.”
Ability to receive the messages depend upon cell phone models and service providers.
Emergency messages will be delivered to the cell towers nearest the affected areas and broadcast to all compatible cell phones.
The alerts will have a unique tone, and will not affect phone calls in progress or downloads.
“For example, if we issue a warning for Johnson County, Kan., it will go to all towers that serve that county. If you live in an adjacent area, such as western Jackson or Cass counties, you may get the warning, too,” said Andy Bailey, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill. “Towers in urban areas generally serve a radius of two to five miles, and in rural areas up to 10 miles, so the warning message may reach a little beyond the warning boundaries.”
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Cell phone weather warning system to launch