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Early morning blizzard warnings startle smartphone users

December 20, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Those with smartphones may have been caught off guard by a blaring message early Wednesday morning informing them of the winter storm.

The National Weather Service issued the blizzard warning alert at approximately 4 a.m. through newer smartphones as part of an emergency alert system that is run by a partnership of government agencies and the wireless industry. The system is designed to have three types of messages - AMBER Alerts, imminent threat messages including weather alerts, and presidential messages.

Susan Buchanan, a spokesperson for the National Weather Service, said this alert system started in June and this is the first winter season it has been in place. She said there has been some feedback on the system that people were startled, but she hopes people stick with it.

"We hope people will give it a bit of time," Buchanan said. "They are meant as a public safety to save lives."

As far as the early morning time, Buchanan said the warnings are timed to the threat. Those who do not want the alerts can opt out through their local cell provider, she said.



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