Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Des Moines, IA

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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA
800 AM CDT TUE MAR 25 2014

...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 24 TO MARCH 28 AS SEVERE WEATHER
AWARENESS WEEK IN IOWA.  EACH MORNING THIS WEEK...THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES WILL ISSUE A PUBLIC INFORMATION
STATEMENT FOCUSING ON A DIFFERENT ITEM EACH DAY.  TOPICS THIS YEAR
INCLUDES 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 JOHNSON OR THE SENIOR METEOROGIST IF YOU ARE
INTERESTED.

CHECKOUT THE RECENTLY NEW NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES
PREPAREDNESS PAGE. IT IS FULL OF NEW SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS
INFORMATION. IT IS ON THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE...DES
MOINES?WEBSITE UNDER PREPAREDNESS ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE.

TODAY/S TOPIC 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.

HOW DO YOU RECEIVE INFORMATION ABOUT WATCHES AND WARNINGS...WITH
TODAY/S 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 MOST
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.
STUDIES HAVE DISCOVERED THAT LOCAL COMMERCIAL TV IS THE PRIMARY
SOURCE OF WARNING INFORMATION (WOLF...2009) REACHING THE MAJORITY OF
PEOPLE. WARNING INFORMATION IS PLIED 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. THE RADIO MEDIA VARIES FROM LARGE AM STATIONS WITH A VERY
LARGE COVERAGE AREAS TO SMALLER STATION SCATTERED ACROSS CENTRAL
IOWA. SEVERAL STATIONS WILL PROVIDE WALL-TO-WALL 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 WON/T 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.
UNFORTUNATELY...STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT ONLY 5-10 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION
OWNS A WEATHER RADIO (WOLF...2009).

ALL-HAZARDS...MESSAGING NWS FORECAST OFFICES HAVE PRE-ARRANGED
AGREEMENTS WITH EMERGENCY MANAGERS TO FACILITATE THE RECEIPT AND
TRANSMISSION OF EMERGENCY NON-WEATHER RELATED MESSAGES. THESE
MESSAGES CAN BE BROADCAST OVER THE NWR 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 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 SYSTEM 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.

CELL PHONES AND MOBILE DEVICES
PEOPLE CAN HAVE CELL PHONE NOTIFICATION OF NWS WARNINGS.  SERVICES
VARY FROM CARRIER TO CARRIER. THERE ARE SEVERAL PROVIDERS WHO OFFER
EMERGENCY ALERT NOTIFICATION...INCLUDING SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS FOR
A SMALL FEE. SINCE MOST PEOPLE CARRY A CELL PHONE...OR OTHER MOBILE
DEVICE...RECEIVING SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS THROUGH TEXT MESSAGES IS
AN EXCELLENT WAY TO KEEP INFORMED.

WIRELESS EMEGENCY ALERTS SELECT HIGH IMPACT NWS WARNINGS ARE SENT TO
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 NEWER CELL PHONES DEPENDING ON THE CARRIER.

HERE ARE SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS CONCERNING
WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS...
WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/COM/WEATHERREADYNATION/WEA.HTML (ALL LOWER CASE)

THE INTERNET
IN RECENT YEARS...MANY PEOPLE RECEIVE SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS OVER THE INTERNET.
MOST PEOPLE STILL USE DESK-TOP OR LAPTOP PC/S TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE INTERNET.
INTERNET ACCESS IS EXPANDING RAPIDLY AND NOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE INTERNET ACCESS ON THEIR
CELLULAR PHONES AND SMART PHONES.

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.

SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES ARE GAINING IN POPULARITY. WARNINGS MAY BE
RECEIVED ON THESE SITES AS WELL.

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 ON-LINE...GO TO THE
DES MOINES NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WEB SITE AT WWW.WEATHER.GOV/DESMOINES.

JEFF JOHNSON
WARNING AND COORDINATION METEOROLOGIST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA
WWW.WEATHER.GOV/DESMOINES



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