Once again, those on the East Coast are getting a new kind of message on their cell phones alerting them to severe weather.
As was the case with Hurricane Sandy, local officials are using a relatively new wireless alert system to blast messages to those in the area where the storm is headed. Though similar to a text message, the alerts are actually a special kind of notification that the Federal Communications Commission has enabled for carriers that choose to participate.
It’s a modern day update to the emergency alert system that has been used for decades on broadcast television and radio. It allows local, state and federal officials to send alerts about anything from severe weather to a terrorist attack.
We had a chance to see the system in action as it was being tested during a visit to T-Mobile’s labs last year and also received an alert firsthand on a Verizon iPhone 5 just as Hurricane Sandy was headed our way during the preparations for Dive Into Mobile.
Here’s a video of the system being tested at T-Mobile’s labs near Seattle.
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