Wireless Emergency Alerts: What They Are and Why You Should Have Them

Weathering The Storm

Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEA, are cell-phone enabled alerts based on your location that can share life-saving information with you immediately when action is required to protect life and property.

WEA is enabled on many smart-phone devices without downloading an app, so these alerts are more likely to get to you when needed. In addition, these alerts are able to surpass ringtone volume settings, meaning they can help make sure you wake up if severe weather comes in the dead of the night. WEA can be one of your at least two ways to get life-saving reliable severe weather alerts.

Learn more about WEA from the National Weather Service.

WEA are used for several types of alerts, including Weather Alerts. Here are some of the WEAs you can get notified for. You’ll always be notified for Tornado Warnings. You also will be notified for Flash Flood Emergencies, the most extreme type of Flash Flood Warnings. In addition, some winter alerts can be sent via WEA.

New this Summer, WEA will be sent for Severe Thunderstorm Warnings that match a certain criterion. These categories come in three levels; Base, Considerable and Destructive.

You’ll only get WEA for the “Destructive Tag Severe Thunderstorm Warnings”, as these are the most severe and capable of widespread wind damage and hail damage. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are common in Central Illinois, but destructive storms are more rare. While a severe thunderstorm warning with 60 mph winds and quarter size hail can still be dangerous, the larger hail and stronger winds have been documented to cause more widespread damage, hence the use of WEA.

You can count on us at WCIA 3 News to be streaming on our digital platforms regardless of what type of thunderstorm warning or tornado warning is in place. Download the WCIA 3 Weather App to get alerts and notifications sent to you when you need them.

How to Make Sure Your Phone
has WEAs Turned On:

Android:

  1. Open your settings app on your Android Device.
  2. Tap “More” to see more settings.
  3. Look for “Cell Broadcasts” or “Emergency Alerts.”
    – If you can’t find those, try searching within settings for “emergency” or “broadcast”
  4. Once you’ve found it, make sure your switches are all toggled on. We highly recommend you keep all wireless emergency alerts on, especially weather alerts.

Apple:

  1. Open your settings app on your Apple Device.
  2. Select “Notifications” from the menu.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen. Ensure all Government Alerts are on. We highly recommend you keep all wireless emergency alerts on.

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