Tornado Preparedness Week 2013
Friday - November 1, 2013 - Ways to Receive Warnings & Alerts

This is the final day of Tornado Preparedness Week in Mississippi. Throughout this week we have provided educational information that should help everyone to better understand the tornado risk our region is in. We hope everyone took the opportunity to exercise their preparedness plans with the tornado drill on Wednesday. Now we will cover some of the primary ways to receive severe weather information and also provide content so everyone knows what to do when severe weather occurs. It can save your life.

In today's society, technology is at the forefront of our lives. This means that there are many ways to receive weather information and, more importantly, weather warnings. One such way to gather weather information is through NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards. The National Weather Service utilizes weather radio to broadcast continuous weather information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. While routine programming consists of forecast information, climate reports, hazardous weather outlooks and current weather conditions, programming will be interrupted when severe weather is impacting the listening area. When properly programmed, NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards will alert you of a warning for your area by providing an audible tone and visual alert. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards can be programmed for one county or multiple counties to receive weather warnings and can run on battery backup if power is out. NOAA weather radios can be purchased at many electronics stores for a small price.

A new way to receive weather warnings is from the wireless emergency alerts WEA feature for cell phones. This is a new avenue that government agencies use to send urgent messages directly to cell phones in an impacted area. Apps or additional software are not needed and messages will look very similar to text messages when received. Given this is a new service, please contact your service provider for more information.

Television, commercial radio, the internet, and other text messaging services are other ways to receive weather information and warnings. The key to staying informed is to have multiple ways of receiving weather alerts as technology failures, delays or other unforeseen circumstances may occur. Redundancy is key to preparedness.

Social media is a fast growing sector of technology and most warnings along with other weather information are relayed through Facebook or Twitter.

Sirens are another means of receiving tornado warnings. This system is mostly focused in cities and towns and is primarily made to alert people who are outdoors and removed from various forms of media.

We urge everyone to plan ahead. Conduct drills at home, at your place of business, and at your school. Do not wait until a tornado is at your doorstep before doing something that could save your life. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.