Yesterday, the FEMA IPAWS office hosted a webinar featuring Michael Gerber, Physical Scientist and Lead for Emerging Dissemination Technologies for the National Weather Service (NWS). Michael focused on CMAS/WEA, providing valuable information on the program from a NWS perspective. In case you missed it, here are some key points:
Mobile carriers are rolling out CMAS/WEA across the country.
- According to Michael, Sprint has rolled out the capability nation-wide. Other carriers are deploying more gradually.
- All carriers will allow for citizens to opt out of imminent threat alerts (and AMBER alerts). In addition, Sprint and Verizon will allow opting out of “Severe” or “Extreme” imminent threat alerts individually (not an all-or-none opt out).
Some carriers will provide sub-county CMAS/WEA alerts.
- Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) messages from the NWS contain polygon data for geographically defining an affected region. Though carrier regulations only require WEA alerts to be disseminated at the county level, Sprint and AT&T are working to provide sub-county level warnings.
NWS has defined the specific alerts it plans to issue.
- WEAs will be issued in the following situations:
- Tsunami Warning
- Tornado Warning
- Extreme Wind Warning
- Flash Flood Warning
- Hurricane Warning
- Typhoon Warning
- Blizzard Warning
- Ice Storm Warning
- Lake Effect Snow Warning
- Dust Storm Warning
- WEAs will not be issued for Severe Thunder Storm Warnings
Michail indicated no precise date has been set for NWS to begin using CMAS/WEA, but it is expected soon. Once launched, NWS will be utilizing CMAS/WEA nationwide (dependent, of course, on mobile carrier deployment).