MSNBC Story on the Inappropriate Use of Wireless Emergency Alerts

Feb 19, 2021
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11th Hour With Brian Williams had a story last night pertaining to the NYC flash flood emergency and the overuse of WEA. It also had some much-deserved praise for the NWS.

I have a commentary at my blog: For Meteorologists: The Misuse of Wireless Emergency Alerts

The story itself is here, Watch The 11th Hour with Brian Williams Episode: The 11th Hour - 9/13/21 - NBC.com

While I have taken a lot of criticism for my strong disagreement with adding hail to WEA alerting (WEA is supposed to be only for "life threatening" storms) the MSNBC story backs up the perspective that non-meteorologists view alerting differently from the way we do. The general public only want messages important to them. A screaming phone at 3am for hail across town will prompt people to turn the warnings off. And, that might cause people to miss a tornado warning that could save their lives.
 
Feb 19, 2021
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Wichita
Rob, I found my typo. I meant to type 70 mph is not life-threatening, not 80 mph.
Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
 
May 10, 2007
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Well, this topic ended up being rather annoying.

In his blog, Mike wrote many paragraphs about the misuse of the WEA in this instance without ever stating what inappropriate thing was broadcast.

If you didn't want to jump through the hoops to see Brian Williams' MSNBC segment, it turns out the National Park Service broadcast an emergency alert to say that the opening of the Flight 93 Memorial would be delayed.

I agree that such a use of WEA is definitely inappropriate and it would be interesting to see who approved such a use by the National Park Service.

While I'm on a roll here, I'll point out three items from the transcript of the MSNBC broadcast that were provided.
1. " ...Schumer was with the president as they toward the flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida... "
2. " The President and the First Lady are going to lay a reef. "
3. " ...sent shutters through the crowd and event we also note that hosted to American presidents under heavy security. "


It's a good thing we trust the media to bring us accurate reports about important things such as national defense, the economy, and COVID.
 
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Feb 19, 2021
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Sorry you were annoyed, John. I thought people would watch the video. They actually issued two of these alerts during the Shanksville ceremony. The story also discussed WEA activations for Amber Alerts prompting people to disable WEA.
 
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Warren Faidley

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I had to turn off notifications for amber alerts and silver alerts because they were being overused. 90+ percent of amber alerts are mothers or fathers who take their own kids and the other parent claims they are “dangerous” out of revenge or hate. If a child was kidnapped from a bus stop by an unknown person, that would be different. People still have to take the majority of responsibility when there is dangerous weather nearby. You cannot monitor scanners like in the old days because most departments are digital, so news stations get information when authorities have the time. TV stations are only dependable in specific areas, mostly in the Central Plains during tornado season and along the coasts during hurricanes. The fire coverage in CA is horrible now days. They use to go live with aerial coverage, but not so much anymore. Entire towns can be wiped off the map with only post-fire coverage.
 
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rdale

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Slight edit - no Skywarn spotters use digital systems, and most public safety systems are not encrypted so you can still hear them just fine with a digital scanner.
 

Warren Faidley

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Slight edit - no Skywarn spotters use digital systems, and most public safety systems are not encrypted so you can still hear them just fine with a digital scanner.
Yes, thanks for pointing this out -- but most spotters are using cell phones now days and not ham radios so there is little worthwhile scanner traffic in many regions. At least in my area, most police and fire communications are very difficult to receive, even with a top of the line scanner. The secondary communications (on scene) communications cannot be received.
 

rdale

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Gotcha - that's pretty rare. Most spotters in the Great Lakes use Skywarn frequencies still, and even the big cities (Detroit / Chicago / Indy / Cincy / etc) still have all their comms on the regular scanner frequencies.
 
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