Severe Weather Handbook Topic 1: Have Multiple Ways To Get Warnings

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – As part of our ongoing Severe Weather Handbook series, in conjunction with Severe Weather Awareness week in West Virginia, we start with the most basic building block to having a full severe weather plan for you and your family.

The first topic is making sure you have multiple ways to get critical weather warnings.

You should always have multiple ways to get a warning in severe weather.  Sirens are not established in every area and sirens also only work to alert those within the area that the siren can physically be heard. 

Weather warning outdoor siren – NWS

We suggest getting the StormTracker 13 App which has as a part of it, a specialized and enhanced warning and alert system that geo-targets specific warnings to your device.  You must enable location services and enable alerts within the system.  You can get the app at and it is free.

The StormTracker 13 Weather App alerts you to all hazards – enable location services and alerts

Another great way to get warnings is through the Government’s own Wireless Emergency Alerts known as WEA.  Wireless Emergency Alerts are emergency messages sent by local authorized government authorities through wireless carriers’ networks. The alerts include a unique sound and vibration, are no more than 90 characters, and instruct specific actions individuals should take. Learn more at

Example of WEA system on mobile phone – FEMA image

One problem with those alerts was recently demonstrated in the Nashville night time tornadoes when many people said they had their phones in “do not disturb” mode.  During severe weather season, and enhanced periods of active weather, it is suggested the “do not disturb” feature be turned off. There is another way people can get alerted immediately and sharply and that’s through NOAA Weather Radio. 

Example of NOAA Weather Radio – NOAA/NWS image

These radios pick up signals for your area and sit silent until an alert is triggered.  Only then will you receive a clear, audible signal alerting you to the danger. You can program your radio for a specific region or county so it only goes off to alert you when the warning is for you.  You can find more information on NOAA Weather Radio at

Of course when tornado warnings are issued it is the policy of WOWK TV that we will interrupt TV programming to alert residents in the interest of passing on life saving information. This policy applies to any and all immediate risks to the public in terms of helping them avoid harm. At other times we may use our web streams and social media platforms to keep people apprised of any situations.

You can find specific county-by-county alerts when weather becomes an issue at

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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