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Severe Weather Awareness Week: Digital Warnings

Created: 04/21/2014 6:20 PM KAALtv.com
By: Justin Thompson-Gee

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Monday marks the start of Severe Weather Awareness week in Minnesota. Each day our Storm Tracker 6 Weather Team will bring you stories of severe weather that impact you. We start off Monday with the newest advancements in weather warning technology.
 
“We got to try getting the information out in a lot of different ways,” says Kevin Torgerson of Olmsted County emergency management.
 
Nowadays, you are more likely to get notified of severe weather by cell phone that tornado siren, “they can get alerts through email, text messaging or texting…we have them on our Facebook page,” says Torgerson.
 
In the city of Rochester you can even see severe weather warnings while driving on the highway, “in a severe thunderstorm warning and/or tornado warning, we can take over the electronic billboards and have our messages up for a period of time,” Torgerson says.
 
As mobile devices become one of the largest platforms to receive information, apps are more popular than ever and the American Red Cross has developed applications specifically for severe weather.
 
Joellen Barak, communications specialist at the American Red Cross says, “the flooding and tornado apps give you some idea ahead of time if a storm is approaching; the importance of knowing the different between a watch and a warning.”
 
Those applications not only give you tips for how to prepare for severe weather, but can also be programmed to warn you in the event of floods or tornadoes.
 
Newer smart phones are also signed up for wireless emergency alerts which you can turn on or off. You can also sign up for text or email alerts through ABC 6 News by visiting kaaltv.com and clicking text alerts under the weather tab.