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Emergency Alerts Now Being Sent to Smart Phones | News

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Emergency Alerts Now Being Sent to Smart Phones
Storm clouds over Summerlin. Photo Courtesy: Amber Wirt

LAS VEGAS -- If you're caught in the wrong place at the wrong time during a storm, new features on your phone might save your life.

You may have heard those screeching alerts from your smart phone that turns your pocket into a tornado siren. Alerts that you did not sign up for.

The alerts are from the National Weather Service, telling people of the potential of dangerous flash floods, high winds and heavy rain

"We're trying to alert the public," said meteorologist with the National Weather Service Todd Lericos.

Parts of Summerlin saw a half inch of rain in five minutes Sunday, but inside a room near Dean Martin Drive and Blue Diamond Road, the National Weather Service was tracking the storm for miles before it hit.

The weather service sent out a loud message to smart phones telling people they were in a threatened area, asking them to stay indoors and check local media for more information.

If people were driving towards the rain Sunday, they may have heard the alert because it works off of the global positioning system in your phone.

"If we were to outline a threat area, say for the northwest side of town that didn't extend east of I-15, folks in Green Valley wouldn't be alarmed for that," Lericos said.

There are nine different warnings, including flash floods, tornadoes and blizzards. In Clark County, we can mainly expect alerts of flash flooding and dust storms.


The system can also be used for Amber Alerts, which lets people know a child is missing and could be in danger.

People in southern Nevada may have received an Amber Alert on their phone Friday from Fallon, 400 miles away from Las Vegas. That child was recovered.

Metro Police say these programs help them.

"It gets the information out very quickly to a large amount of people and now you've got millions of eyes looking for one particular vehicle or looking for one particular person," Metro Officer Jose Hernandez said.

There is a third alert which we have not seen yet. A presidential alert that would deliver an emergency message from the President of the United States to every smart phone. That alert is always on, there is no way you can take it off of your phone.

The program gets the information to people instantly where the government knows you'll be connected, through your smart phone.


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