Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Des Moines, IA

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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA
654 AM CDT TUE MAR 24 2015

...THIS IS SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN IOWA...

GOVERNOR TERRY BRANSTAD...THE IOWA HOMELAND SECURITY AND
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION...AND THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE...HAVE DESIGNATED THE WEEK OF MARCH 23 TO MARCH 27 AS
SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN IOWA. EACH DAY THIS WEEK...THE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES WILL BE FOCUSING ON A
DIFFERENT ITEM. TOPICS THIS YEAR INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING...

     MONDAY...FLASH FLOODING
     TUESDAY...WARNING RECEPTION
     WEDNESDAY...TORNADOES
     THURSDAY...SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
     FRIDAY...FAMILY PREPAREDNESS

ATTENTION MEDIA...IN ORDER FOR SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK TO
BE EFFECTIVE...MEDIA COVERAGE IS CRITICAL. PLEASE USE THE
INFORMATION IN THE PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTS IN YOUR NEWS
PROGRAMS TO HELP PROMOTE SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY. WE ALSO ENCOURAGE
MEDIA INTERVIEWS. PLEASE CONTACT JEFF ZOGG OR THE SENIOR
METEOROLOGIST IF YOU ARE INTERESTED.

YOU CAN FIND DETAILED SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION ON
OUR PREPAREDNESS PAGE. IT IS ON THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES
MOINES WEBSITE UNDER PREPAREDNESS ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE.

THE TOPIC TODAY IS WARNING RECEPTION...

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PRECAUTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT
YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FROM SEVERE WEATHER IS TO REMAIN WEATHER
AWARE. BEING WEATHER AWARE MEANS YOU ARE INFORMED OF THE WEATHER
FORECAST AND ALERT TO THE POTENTIAL HAZARDS. KNOWING WHAT TO DO
AND WHERE TO GO WHEN WATCHES AND WARNINGS ARE ISSUED IS KEY TO
YOUR SAFETY...BUT A WATCH OR WARNING IS ONLY HELPFUL IF YOU ARE
AWARE OF THEM. WITH THE TECHNOLOGY THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS
TO RECEIVE THIS INFORMATION...INCLUDING THE INTERNET...COMMERCIAL
TV AND RADIO...AND NOAA WEATHER RADIO. HOWEVER...ALL THESE
TECHNOLOGIES HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON. IT IS UP TO YOU TO REMAIN
WEATHER AWARE AND ACTIVELY LISTEN FOR WATCHES AND WARNINGS.

WHAT TO LISTEN FOR...
A WATCH IS ISSUED TO GIVE ADVANCE NOTICE WHEN CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SEVERE WEATHER...WHETHER IT IS
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS...TORNADOES...OR FLASH FLOODING. WHEN A WATCH
IS ISSUED FOR YOUR AREA...IT IS TIME TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS AND MAKE
SURE YOU ARE PREPARED SHOULD BAD WEATHER STRIKE.

WARNINGS ARE ISSUED WHEN SEVERE WEATHER IS OCCURRING OR IMMINENT.
WHEN A WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR AREA...YOU SHOULD TAKE ACTION
IMMEDIATELY TO PROTECT YOUR LIFE AND YOUR PROPERTY.

BROADCAST MEDIA...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH THE
BROADCAST MEDIA. THE NWS RELIES ON THE BROADCAST MEDIA TO HELP
BROADCAST NWS WARNINGS TO THE PUBLIC. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT
RELATIONSHIP SINCE MANY IOWANS GET SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS FROM
COMMERCIAL MEDIA.

TELEVISION METEOROLOGISTS AND BROADCASTERS TRANSMIT NWS WARNINGS
TO THE PUBLIC. IN ADDITION...THEY USUALLY ADD VALUE TO THE
WARNINGS WITH RADAR DISPLAYS AND VISUALLY EXPLAIN WHERE THE THREAT
IS. WARNING INFORMATION IS SUPPLIED THROUGH READING NWS WARNINGS
ON THE AIR...OR BY OCCASIONAL SCROLLS PROVIDING THE INFORMATION.
DURING HIGH-END EVENTS...TELEVISION STATIONS WILL OFTEN GO WALL-
TO-WALL WEATHER COVERAGE...INTERRUPTING NORMAL BROADCASTS.
WARNING RECEPTION FROM TELEVISION STATIONS IS MAXIMIZED DURING
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN METRO AREAS DURING DAYTIME OR EVENING HOURS
AND IT IS MINIMIZED DURING MARGINAL SEVERE EVENTS IN RURAL AREAS
AT NIGHT.

RADIO MEDIA IS ANOTHER IMPORTANT WAY IOWANS GET SEVERE WEATHER
WARNINGS. RADIO MEDIA VARY FROM LARGE AM STATIONS WITH VERY LARGE
COVERAGE AREAS TO SMALLER STATION SCATTERED ACROSS CENTRAL IOWA.
SEVERAL STATIONS WILL PROVIDE CONTINUOUS SEVERE WEATHER COVERAGE
DURING HIGH END EVENTS WITH A FOCUS ON THEIR LOCAL AREA. THE
EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM (EAS) IS USED TO BROADCAST SEVERE WEATHER
WARNINGS. WHEN STATIONS ARE CLOSED...THEY USE THE EAS TO TRANSMIT
SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS DIRECTLY FROM THE NWS TO THE PUBLIC.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO...
KNOWN AS THE "VOICE OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE..." NOAA ALL
HAZARDS WEATHER RADIO (NWR) IS PROVIDED AS A PUBLIC SERVICE BY THE
NATIONAL OCEANIC & ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA)...PART OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE. NWR INCLUDES MORE THAN 900
TRANSMITTERS...COVERING ALL 50 STATES...ADJACENT COASTAL
WATERS...PUERTO RICO...THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS...AND THE U.S.
PACIFIC TERRITORIES. NWR REQUIRES A SPECIAL RADIO RECEIVER OR
SCANNER CAPABLE OF PICKING UP THE SIGNAL. BROADCASTS ARE FOUND IN
THE PUBLIC SERVICE BAND AT THESE SEVEN FREQUENCIES (MHZ)...
162.400...162.425...162.450...162.475...162.500...162.525...
162.550.

MODERN NWR RECEIVERS ARE OFTEN SAME (SPECIFIC AREA MESSAGE
ENCODING) CAPABLE...MEANING THEY CAN BE SETUP TO ONLY ALERT OR
TURN ON FOR SPECIFIC AREAS (USUALLY COUNTIES IN THE MIDWEST) BY
PROGRAMMING THEM VIA A SMALL KEYPAD ON THE RECEIVER. IN THIS
MANNER...YOU WILL NOT BE AWAKENED AT 3 A.M. FOR A WARNING WHICH
IS NOT OF INTEREST TO YOU.

ALL IOWANS SHOULD BENEFIT FROM NWR SINCE A NWR TRANSMITTER IS
LIKELY WITHIN RANGE. IT IS A GREAT WAY TO GET A WARNING IN THE
MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WHEN YOU MAY BE ASLEEP...OR IN REMOTE
LOCATIONS. NOAA WEATHER RADIO IS ONE OF THE BEST INDOOR WARNING
SYSTEMS AVAILABLE.

ALL-HAZARDS MESSAGING...
NWS FORECAST OFFICES HAVE AGREEMENTS WITH EMERGENCY MANAGERS TO
TRANSMIT NON-WEATHER RELATED EMERGENCY MESSAGES. THESE MESSAGES
CAN BE BROADCAST OVER THE NOAA WEATHER RADIO AND MAY INTERRUPT
THE REGULAR BROADCAST USING SPECIAL ALERT TONES AND SAME CODES.
EXAMPLES OF THESE NON-WEATHER EVENTS INCLUDE...TOXIC CHEMICAL
INCIDENTS...NUCLEAR POWER PLANT ACCIDENTS...AND AMBER ALERTS.

OUTDOOR WARNING SYSTEMS...
WHEN IT COMES TO SEVERE WEATHER...OUTDOOR WARNING SYSTEMS (KNOWN
AS SIRENS) HAVE ONE PURPOSE AND ONE PURPOSE ONLY...TO ALERT
PEOPLE WHO ARE OUTDOORS THAT SOMETHING DANGEROUS IS HAPPENING AND
THEY SHOULD GO INSIDE. DEPENDING ON LOCAL POLICY...SIRENS MAY BE
SOUNDED FOR A VARIETY OF LIFE-THREATENING HAZARDS...BUT ALWAYS
WITH THE INTENT THAT PEOPLE OUTDOORS SHOULD SEEK SHELTER.
ACROSS IOWA...LOCAL SIREN ACTIVATION POLICIES VARY WIDELY. THE
CITY OR COUNTY GOVERNMENT IS USUALLY IN CHARGE OF SIREN ACTIVATION
POLICY. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY
TO ACTIVATE SIREN SYSTEMS...BUT THE NWS WORKS CLOSELY WITH
COMMUNITIES WITH THE SEVERE WEATHER WARNING SYSTEMS INCLUDING
STORM SIRENS.

FOR SEVERE WEATHER...MOST COMMUNITIES SOUND SIRENS ANYTIME A
TORNADO WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THEIR AREA. OTHER COMMUNITIES
HAVE STRICTER POLICIES AND ONLY ACTIVATE THE OUTDOOR WARNING
SYSTEM FOR ACTUAL TORNADO SIGHTINGS...WHILE A FEW ACTIVATE SIRENS
FOR BOTH SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AND TORNADO WARNINGS. THE NWS
ENCOURAGES COMMUNITIES TO ACTIVATE OUTDOOR WARNING SIRENS FOR
HIGH-END SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS (WIND SPEEDS ABOVE 70 MPH AND/OR
HAIL OF TWO INCHES OR GREATER). TO FIND OUT YOUR COMMUNITY/S SIREN
POLICY... CHECK WITH THE LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY.

THE INTERNET...
MANY PEOPLE RECEIVE SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS OVER THE
INTERNET....WHICH IS WIDELY ACCESSIBLE THROUGH PERSONAL COMPUTERS
AS WELL AS MOBILE DEVICES SUCH AS SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS.

PEOPLE USE VARIOUS WEBSITES WHICH HAVE ACCESS TO NWS WARNINGS.
THE DIRECT WAY TO ACCESS NWS WARNINGS IS OVER ITS WEBSITE AT
WWW.WEATHER.GOV. FOR CENTRAL IOWA...ADD DES MOINES TO THE END OF
THE URL OR: WWW.WEATHER.GOV/DESMOINES. ONE MAJOR ADVANTAGE IN
USING THE INTERNET IS VIEWING WARNINGS GRAPHICALLY. SINCE NWS
WARNINGS ARE ISSUED BASED ON THE STORM AND NOT THE COUNTY...MODERN
SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS ARE BEST VIEWED GRAPHICALLY TO SEE EXACTLY
WHERE THE WARNING IS IN EFFECT.

CELL PHONES AND MOBILE DEVICES...
PEOPLE CAN RECEIVE CELL PHONE NOTIFICATIONS OF NWS WARNINGS VIA
TEXT MESSAGE OR THROUGH SMARTPHONE APPS. SERVICES VARY BY CARRIER
OR PHONE MODEL. THESE SERVICES CAN BE FREE OR COST A SMALL FEE.
SINCE MOST PEOPLE CARRY A CELL PHONE OR OTHER MOBILE
DEVICE...RECEIVING SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS THROUGH THIS MEDIUM IS
AN EXCELLENT WAY TO KEEP INFORMED.

WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS...
SELECT HIGH IMPACT NWS WARNINGS ARE SENT TO MOST CELL PHONES AS A
WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERT (WEA). ADDITIONAL ALERTS FROM OTHER
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES...SUCH AS FEMA OR OTHER CIVIL AUTHORITIES...MAY
ALSO BE SENT TO YOUR PHONE.

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS. IF YOU ARE AT HOME OR TRAVELING IN AN AREA
WHERE A WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED...YOUR PHONE WILL RECEIVE ALERTS
BROADCAST BY NEARBY CELL TOWERS. IF YOUR PHONE IS ENABLED TO
RECEIVE ALERTS...YOUR PHONE WILL RECEIVE AN ALERT THE RESEMBLES A
TEXT MESSAGE. THE MESSAGE WILL BE NO LONGER THAN 90 CHARACTERS.
THE ALERT WILL HAVE A SPECIAL TONE AND VIBRATION...REPEATED
TWICE...SO THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TELL IT APART FROM A REGULAR
MESSAGE. IF YOU RECEIVE AN ALERT...YOU SHOULD FOLLOW ANY ACTION
ADVISED BY THE EMERGENCY MESSAGE AND SEEK ADDITIONAL DETAILS.

THE SERVICE IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MESSAGES WILL NOT COUNT TOWARDS
TEXTING LIMITS ON YOUR WIRELESS PLAN. IT COMES ENABLED ON ALL NEW
CELL PHONES. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS CONCERNING
WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS CAN BE FOUND AT...
WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/COM/WEATHERREADYNATION/WEA.HTML (ALL LOWER CASE)

SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES...
WARNINGS MAY BE RECEIVED ON SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES SUCH AS
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE RECEIVING WARNINGS OVER
THE INTERNET MOBILE DEVICES AND SOCIAL MEDIA WILL LIKELY CONTINUE
TO INCREASE.

FOR MORE SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION ONLINE...GO TO
THE DES MOINES NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WEB SITE AT
WWW.WEATHER.GOV/DESMOINES.

$$


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