By THOMAS COOK
The lack of outdoor warning sirens during the March 29 storm in Lewisville has left some residents concerned about receiving storm warnings. While the systems in place typically work effectively, some storms, like the one last week, are more difficult to predict.
Neighborhood services director Josh Roberts stressed the need for residents to have multiple ways of receiving emergency warnings.
The Outdoor Warning Siren System is designed to warn people outside of dangerous weather and to get to shelter. It is not designed to be heard indoors.
The Wireless Emergency Alert system, which will send out texts, with an audible alert, about severe weather in the area is a good starting-off point. The system will only provide alerts for the area where the cell phone is used. The system is automatically added to most phones, so downloading or signing up is not necessary.
Lewisville Citizens Alert Emergency Notification System provides emergency warnings via email, text messages and phone calls to Lewisville residents. All three methods of delivering warnings can be turned on and off, whatever fits the user’s needs the best. Sign up is easy and fast.
Many popular weather-related mobile apps can provide push notification for severe weather. This feature helps in severe weather situations where it is desirable to wake someone to provide a warning. Some of the apps have additional features like real time radar or forecasts. Apps from The Weather Channel, WeatherBug and Weather Underground are popular nationwide. Local residents also like apps from local broadcasters Fox 4 KDFW (WAPP), CBS DFW weather and WFAA North Texas. The Weather Channel is the best app nationally. The app’s ability to allow editing what weather events receive notifications is a big plus, a feature not included in the other national apps. At the local level it’s a toss up between the WAPP app and CBS DFW Weather. WAPP provides more information about the weather on the homepage, but CBS allows more customization of the push notifications.
These apps are all free and highly reviewed. There are other apps for sale, but the free ones will provide the same service. The drawback from using these apps for severe weather detection is that not everyone has a smartphone so the apps aren’t available to everyone. Also the push notification can be easily ignored or slept through.
Weather Alert Radios are some the best tools for early detection. These radios can remain silent until The National Weather Service issues an alert. If the NWS issues an alert, the radio turns on, and gives an audible message about the hazard. Many of these radios include specific area message encoding technology that helps localize the stations more than standard radios, so listeners wouldn’t receive as much information outside of our area. Weather Alert Radios can be found online or at sporting good and outdoors stores. Theses radios should cost around $35. Look for radios that can operate with battery backup in case of power outages.
There are different options to receive severe weather alerts, some are cheap and some are expensive, but all aim to do the same thing. The Lewisville Texan Journal urges readers to do their own research and figure out what notification method works best for them.
For more information, visit the city’s emergency warnings page.