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Meteorologists Developing New Technologies To Increase Warning Times During Severe Weather
Written by Pierce Legeion
Last updated on November 09, 2012 @ 7:49PM
Created on November 09, 2012 @ 6:40PM
 
Last week on 5 News, we told you that weather disasters are on the rise across the country.  Meteorologists are stepping up their efforts to help keep you safe.

There's no way to prevent these disasters from happening, but there is a lot of work being done to give you more warning time before one strikes.

We asked people:  How often would you say that you check the weather?
 
"We check it every day, several times a day actually" said Brenda Berry of Heaters.
"At least daily, sometimes more than once a day" said Ocie Allen of Orlando.

Weather seems to be that one thing that affects all of us on a daily basis.  With recent weather disasters here in the Mountain State, many folks seem to be more aware when severe weather is about to hit.

"If the storm's coming, we really check it a lot" said Ocie Allen of Orlando.
"Yeah we always keep an eye on it.  When we hear we're always watching to see how advanced it is and how fast it's comin" said Brenda Berry of Heaters.

But even the most informed person can be caught off guard.  That's where meteorologists come in.  There's been a renewed push in the last few years to use new technologies to better alert people to severe weather.  Here at WDTV, you can sign up on our website for free text alerts so when severe weather hits the area, you'll be the first to know.

But what about when you're traveling?  Well the National Weather Service has you covered with their wireless emergency alert system, which will automatically send you weather and other emergency updates directly to your phone based on your current location.

These alerts were sent out to cell phones during Hurricane Sandy to alert people to dangerous conditions along the coasts of New York and New Jersey.  The National Weather Service believes this will help to save lives.

"The system is all encompassing" said Jamie Bielinski, the meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service office in Charleston.  "You can be anywhere from FEMA to the Weather Service.  A lot of different agencies are able to communicate to the public to warn them of something that would possibly cause damage."

This is just one of the pieces of a larger effort called the Weather Ready Nation Project.  The Weather Service office in Charleston was one of six across the country chosen to test a pilot program.  Under it, meteorologists will go to areas that are about to be hit by a storm to help local emergency officials who are trying to keep people safe.

"Instead of sitting back in the weather forecast office, we're trying to get out in the field right where decision makers are and that gives them more immediate communication" said Chris Leonardi, an emergency response specialist with the National Weather Service office in Charleston.  "If you're gonna talk about the overall goal of the pilot project, I think that's really what it is, getting the information quickly and more efficiently so that people are warned better and have better information to make decisions."

To see if your cell phone is able to receive wireless emergency alerts, you should check with your provider.

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