Like thousands around the area, you may have been woken up early this morning by a National Weather Service Alert on your cell phone.
The alert as it appeared on an iPhone 4S.
The National Weather Service in Pueblo issued a Blizzard Warning for northern El Paso County at 4:19 a.m., Friday, March 8. The Blizzard Warning goes into effect at 5 a.m., Saturday, March 9.
This Blizzard Warning for northern El Paso County issued by the National Weather Service in Pueblo was sent to thousands of mobile devices via the relatively new Weather Emergency Alert (WEA) system. The new WEA system was put in place by the National Weather Service last June to keep all mobile phone users alert to possible weather emergencies both at home and while they travel.
The National Weather Service in Pueblo has no control over the WEA system, but does have control over the timing of the issuance of Blizzard Warnings. They sent a press release this morning apologizing for the poor timing of the warning for northern El Paso County.
Furthermore, they say they regret that thousands of people were likely awakened by the issuance of the Blizzard Warning for northern El Paso County which does not go into effect until Saturday morning.
Neither KKTV 11 News nor the Colorado Springs Emergency Management sent out the Weather Emergency Alert message to mobile devices. Additionally, El Paso County Emergency Management not send out the Weather Emergency Alert message to mobile devices.
In order to remedy the timing issue of weather warnings, and the subsequent WEA message on mobile devices, the National Weather Service in Pueblo will be revising their policy in regards to the timing of all weather warnings.
Effective immediately, Blizzard Warnings which do not go into effect until 12 to 24 hours in the future will not be disseminated by the National Weather Service in Pueblo until around 8 o’clock in the morning.
The National Weather Service in Pueblo urges people who have mobile devices capable of receiving Weather Emergency Alert (WEA) messages to keep that feature ENABLED.
If you didn't get the message this morning, it could be that your alerts are disabled - or it could be your carrier. Wireless carriers that support the service include AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, and U.S. Cellular. Check with individual carriers for coverage, as some do not offer nationwide service.
Important emergency weather messages will be automatically delivered to your mobile device, including Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings. With the high Flash Flood risk from the Waldo Canyon burn scar, receiving Flash Flood Warnings in a timely manner will be vital to the citizens of, and visitors to the Colorado Springs area this spring and summer.
If you still want to disable these alerts, and you have an iPhone, go to settings, then notifications and scroll down to Government Alerts. From there you can turn off emergency alerts.
If you have an Android phone, launch your messenger app and then go to settings. You can scroll down to CMAS alerts and disable them there.
On any phone you can also disable your GPS location services - which will also stop the alerts since they are location-based.