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Wisconsin Emergency Management Calls Cellphone Weather Alerts "Game Changer"

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 -- 9:58 AM

-Emergency management officials say cellphone alerts have become a valuable tool to get severe weather alerts out to the public.

Wisconsin Emergency Management spokesman Tod Pritchard called the alerts a "game changer." Several Wisconsinites got text message-like alerts on their phones during tornado warnings last week.
Pritchard says today's cellphones come with the emergency alert system built in. But he says the system has limits.

Among them, messages can't be longer than 90 characters. So he says it's best to consider the alerts as a warning to take cover, then turn to a weather radio to get more information. And, cellphone models that are a few years old won't get the alerts, but he expects that to change as phones are replaced.

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