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Prepare for Spring Storms: Get Weather Alerts Sent to Your Phone

A person holds an umbrella in a storm.
Niyom Napalai/Shutterstock.com

Spring is here, and for many across the country, that also means an uptick in the number of severe thunderstorms and the potential for tornados. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could be alerted about impending bad weather even if you’re not watching or listening to a local station?

Thankfully, you can get severe weather alerts sent straight to your phone. In fact, this feature is already built-in on both Android models and iPhones.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) notify people of severe weather threats from events like tornados and flash flood warnings. The messages are sent by authorized government agencies, like FEMA and the National Weather Service.

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The alerts look like text messages and are often accompanied by a loud alert sound. They show the type of weather emergency, time of alert, any action you should take, and the agency sending the alert.

For those who experience frequent thunderstorms and tornado warnings in the spring, the alerts are particularly important. For example, if a storm hits at night, your WEA could notify you allowing you to get to safety.

So how do you get them? You don’t even need to download an app. Everything is built into your phone (if you have a model created after 2012).

iPhone

To set up weather alerts on your iPhone, just follow these steps:

  1. Tap “Settings.”
  2. Tap “Notifications.”
  3. Scroll to “Government Alerts” at the bottom.
  4. Toggle-On “Emergency Alerts” and “Public Safety Alerts.”

Android

For Android phones, the instructions will vary slightly by model. However, generally, just follow these steps:

  1. Tap “Settings.”
  2. Tap “Notifications.”
  3. Tap “Advanced Settings.”
  4. Tap “Wireless Emergency Alerts.”
  5. Tap “Allow Alerts.”
  6. Here, you can toggle-On “Extreme Threats,” “Severe Threats,” and “Public Safety Messages.”

Because spring is prime severe weather time, enabling WEAs on your phone will ensure you’re always informed about any impending threatening weather. This will allow you to prepare or get to a safe location.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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