CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) --A new kind of text message is meant to grab your attention when it matters the most.
The National Weather Service has launched Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The system sends text messages to your cell phone during life-threatening situations.
"It's another way to get the message out," said C.W. Sigman, deputy emergency director of Kanawha County. "Because people may not be listening to a radio station or watching TV at that moment."
Officials say the text alerts have a distinctive look and sound and are issued for severe weather emergencies like flash flood and tornado warnings.
They are also sent during Amber Alerts where a child could be in danger.
"We want to make sure people are educated and warned properly so they can take appropriate actions," Sigman said.
Officials say the system uses cell towers to locate all mobile devices in the area. That way you will still get the alerts if you are passing through an emergency zone and don't live there.
Sigman says the texts messages are used as a primary warning and don't provide specific details.
For details and updates on any emergency, keep clicking on WSAZ.com.