Most of us can recall a time when we wished we'd planned
a little better during a big storm. After all, bad weather
is an unavoidable fact of life, and all we can do when
severe weather is expected is plan accordingly to stay
warm, dry, and safe. Believe it or not, text messaging
can help you do that: SMS weather alerts are perhaps
the most powerful and effective tool to stay in the
know, and therefore to plan right, for severe weather.
Text message weather warnings take advantage of the
immediacy of SMS. During an inclement weather situation,
it is best to be in the know as soon as possible. Rather
than finding out via friends and family or news articles,
getting information from text alerts ensures that updates
are immediate. And text messages are more likely to
be seen, and seen immediately, than other media like
broadcasts and emails.
Because of this, text message alerts contribute to
the best kind of weather emergency preparedness system.
While sooner is usually better than later, time is especially
of the essence during inclement weather. The quicker
someone finds out about an upcoming storm or an expected
tornado, the more time they will have to plan accordingly.
This is especially important in the case of an acute
weather emergency, where every second counts in taking
SMS weather alert services are also powerful because
of their accuracy. While word passed along by a friend,
family member, or roommate may be correct, it could
falter on smaller details. Weather alert texts are accurate,
up-to-date, and may include detailed information such
as expected conditions, timing, and affected areas.
And, of course, SMS is a fairly robust line of contact
during inclement weather. When landlines are down and
the power is out, making Internet and television broadcasts
inaccessible, text messages can often still be sent
and received, making it an ideal way of keeping affected
people posted with relevant updates during a weather
Several subscription services to SMS weather alerts
exist to meet a range of needs. The National Weather
Service offers a list of a diverse range of listservs,
many of which are free and have SMS capabilities. Several
of the services are region-specific, catering to a specific
state or even a specific county. Others offer alerts
for specific interest groups that may be affected by
weather differently, like sailors. Some listservs watch
for specific weather events, from hail to tornadoes
There are also several more universal, "all-purpose"
SMS weather update services available. Severe Warning
Systems and Weather Underground, among others, offer
text message listservs that send general weather alerts
tailored to subscribers' locations. These services are
great ways for the average person without very particular
region- or activity-specific weather concerns to ensure
that they will be in the know immediately and kept up
to date should severe weather seem imminent.
Text messaging has been applied to an impressive array
of technologies and tactics to keep us safe. With inclement
weather being a situation so many of us are familiar
with, this use of SMS is a widely relevant and helpful
way to stay safe, prepared, and up-to-date when things
take a turn for the worse.
About the Author -
Sharon Housley is the VP of Marketing for NotePage,
Inc. a software company for communication software solutions.