FEMA & FCC Conducting Test Of Alert System on Wednesday, Aug. 11

FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will test the nation’s public alert and warning systems at 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday. FEMA regularly tests the public alert and warning systems to assess the operational readiness of the supporting infrastructure. The tests also help identify any needed technological and administrative improvements to the systems.
This week’s testing will be the sixth test of the nationwide public alert and warning systems and has been planned since June 2020. The purpose of the test is to assess the effectiveness of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to receive and convey a national message via radio and television and of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) infrastructure to deliver a test message to mobile phones.
The EAS national test is very similar to regular monthly tests typically originated by state authorities. During the test, radios and televisions across the country may interrupt normal programming to play the EAS test message. The message may be delivered in English or Spanish. The EAS test message is approximately one minute long and the audio will say:
“This is a test of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. No action is required.”    
The visual message, which will only be displayed on televisions, may vary depending on the station. The message will include, at a minimum, the originator, event, location, valid time period of the message and the time the message was transmitted. For example, the text may read: “A Primary Entry Point system has issued a National Periodic Test for all of the United States beginning at 2:20 PM and ending at 2:50 PM on AUG 11, 2021 (station ID).”
The test message sent to the WEA infrastructure will only be received by specially configured phones and will read:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Only phones that have been opted in specifically to receive system test messages will display the test message, which will be in either English or Spanish, depending on the device’s language settings. Most mobile phones will not display the test message. In contrast, consumers will automatically receive real emergency alerts on compatible phones (even if they do not receive the test message).  Instructions for how to opt-in to receive the test message on mobile devices can be found here.
Through this test, FEMA and the FCC are partnering with various agencies and other stakeholder groups to assess information about the performance of the opt-in WEA test. This includes emergency managers and other stakeholders from the National Weather Service, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Texas, City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department, New York City Emergency Management, Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services in California, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, and the Utah Department of Public Safety. In addition, the FCC will gather information about EAS and WEA test performance directly from communications providers.
Information collected from this test will be used to improve EAS and WEA capabilities and testing procedures in the future.
More information about WEA and EAS can be found at Integrated Public Alert & Warning System | FEMA.gov.

Changes Coming to SPS, SVR Products August 2nd

The NWS will be making changes to the way SPS and SVR products are formated effective tomorrow, August 2nd.

The public will notice these changes when they hear their Weather Radio activate and when they read products from the National Weather Service.

The biggest change will be the addition of a Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) activation for Severe Thunderstorm (SVR) products that include the DESTRUCTIVE tag. Additionally, Special Weather Statements (SPS) products will no longer use the “Significant Weather Advisory” text as they will be transitioned to the Impact-Based Warning (IBW) format.

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings

There will be an additional bullet for Thunderstorm Damage Threat at the bottom of each product, where CONSIDERABLE or DESTRUCTIVE can be used – but by default will not be. As stated above, if DESTRUCTIVE is used, it will activate a WEA. Additionally, there will be a HAIL THREAT, MAX HAIL SIZE, WIND THREAT, and MAX WIND GUST tag that can be used.

  • The criteria for a destructive damage threat is at least 2.75 inch diameter (baseball-sized) hail and/or 80 mph thunderstorm winds. Warnings with this tag will automatically activate a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on smartphones within the warned area.
  • The criteria for a considerable damage threat is at least 1.75 inch diameter (golf ball-sized) hail and/or 70 mph thunderstorm winds. This will not activate a WEA.
  • The criteria for a baseline or “base” severe thunderstorm warning remains unchanged, 1.00 inch (quarter-sized) hail and/or 58 mph thunderstorm winds. This will not activate a WEA. When no damage threat tag is present, damage is expected to be at the base level.

The new IPW format will be as follows:

TORNADO…POSSIBLE (if selected)

READ MORE at https://www.weather.gov/news/072221-svr-wea

Special Weather Statements

An example of the new Special Weather Statement format is listed below. As stated above, “Significant Weather Advisory” is no longer used.

Both the National Weather Service in Huntsville and Birmingham will be using this new format starting August 2nd!

Special Weather Statement
National Weather Service Quad Cities IA IL
340 PM CDT MON MAY 4 2015
Hancock IL-Henderson IL-Lee IA-Clark MO340 PM CDT MON MAY 4 2015
…Strong thunderstorm will impact portions of Hancock, Henderson,
Lee, and Clark Counties through 500 PM CDT…

At 338 PM CDT, doppler radar was tracking a strong thunderstorm
near Keokuk, moving east at 30 mph.
HAZARD…40 mph wind gusts and penny size hail.
SOURCE…Radar indicated.
IMPACT…Minor damage possible to outdoor objects is possible.
Locations impacted include…
Keokuk, Fort Madison, Carthage, Nauvoo, Niota, Western Illinois
University, Hamilton, New Boston, Montrose, St. Francisville,
Charleston and Argyle.

Frequent cloud to ground lightning is occurring with this storm.
lightning can strike 15 miles away from a thunderstorm. Seek a safe
shelter inside a building or vehicle.

This storm may intensify, monitor local radio and tv stations, as
well as local cable tv outlets, for additional information and
possible warnings from the National Weather Service.

LAT...LON 4034 9154 4055 9166 4070 9123 4037 9094

TIME...MOT...LOC 2038Z 259DEG 26KT 4045 9147

More information and examples at https://nws.weather.gov/products/PDD/Sub_Severe_SPS_Examples.pdf