Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Omaha/Valley, NE

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NOUS43 KOAX 251230
PNSOAX
IAZ043-055-056-069-079-080-090-091-NEZ011-012-015>018-030>034-
042>045-050>053-065>068-078-088>093-260030-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OMAHA/VALLEY NE
730 AM CDT TUE MAR 25 2014

...THIS IS SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK...

GOVERNORS TERRY BRANSTAD AND DAVE HEINEMAN...THE IOWA HOMELAND
SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION...THE NEBRASKA EMERGENCY
MANAGEMENT AGENCY AND THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAVE DESIGNATED
THE WEEK OF MARCH 24 TO MARCH 28 AS SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN
IOWA AND NEBRASKA.  EACH MORNING THIS WEEK...THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE IN OMAHA/VALLEY WILL ISSUE A PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
FOCUSING ON A DIFFERENT ITEM EACH DAY. 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 BRIAN SMITH OR THE SENIOR METEOROLOGIST IF YOU ARE
INTERESTED.

THE TOPIC FOR 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. HOW DO YOU RECEIVE INFORMATION ABOUT WATCHES AND
WARNINGS...WITH TODAYS 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 AND NEBRASKANS 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 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 PEOPLE IN IOWA AND NEBRASKA
GET SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS. THE RADIO MEDIA VARIES FROM LARGE AM
STATIONS WITH A VERY LARGE COVERAGE AREAS TO SMALLER STATIONS
SCATTERED ACROSS IOWA AND NEBRASKA. 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 AND 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 AND 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 CITIZENS 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 TO 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.

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. TO FIND THE SIREN
POLICY FOR YOUR COMMUNITY...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 EMERGENCY 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
MANY PEOPLE RECEIVE SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS OVER THE INTERNET.
SOME PEOPLE STILL USE DESKTOP OR LAPTOP COMPUTERS TO GAIN ACCESS
TO THE INTERNET. INTERNET ACCESS IS EXPANDING RAPIDLY THOUGH...AND
NOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE INTERNET ACCESS ON THEIR CELLULAR PHONE OR
OTHER DEVICES.

PEOPLE USE VARIOUS WEBSITES TO ACCESS NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
WARNINGS. THE DIRECT WAY TO ACCESS NWS WARNINGS IS AT THE WEBSITE
WWW.WEATHER.GOV.
FOR EASTERN NEBRASKA AND WESTERN IOWA...ADD OMAHA TO THE END OF
THE URL OR: WWW.WEATHER.GOV/OMAHA.

ONE MAJOR ADVANTAGE IN USING THE INTERNET IS THE ABILITY TO VIEW
WARNINGS GRAPHICALLY. SINCE NWS WARNINGS ARE ISSUED BASED ON THE
STORM AND NOT THE COUNTY...MODERN SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS ARE BEST
VIEWED BY LOOKING AT THE WARNING POLYGON. THIS ALLOWS YOU TO SEE
EXACTLY WHERE THE WARNING IS IN EFFECT.

SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES CONTINUE TO GAIN 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.

BRIAN E. SMITH
WARNING COORDINATION METEOROLOGIST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OMAHA/VALLEY NE
WWW.WEATHER.GOV/OMAHA

$$



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