From the WSAZ First Warning Weather Center... The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Mingo County in West Virginia until 11:30 PM...THERE CONTINUE TO BE REPORTS OF CREEKS OUT OF THEIR BANKS...PARTICULARLY IN WESTERN MCDOWELL COUNTY. WATER LEVELS MAY CONTINUE TO RISE AS RUNOFF FROM THE HEAVY RAINFALL MAKES THERE WAY INTO SOME OF THE BIGGER AREA CREEKS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS...HIGHWAYS AND UNDERPASSES. ADDITIONALLY...COUNTRY ROADS AND FARMLANDS ALONG THE BANKS OF CREEKS...STREAMS AND OTHER LOW LYING AREAS ARE SUBJECT TO FLOODING. BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE THE DANGERS OF FLOODING. IF FLASH FLOODING IS OBSERVED ACT QUICKLY. MOVE UP TO HIGHER GROUND TO ESCAPE FLOOD WATERS. DO NOT STAY IN AREAS SUBJECT TO FLOODING WHEN WATER BEGINS RISING. MOST FLOOD DEATHS OCCUR IN AUTOMOBILES. NEVER DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. FLOOD WATERS ARE USUALLY DEEPER THAN THEY APPEAR. JUST ONE FOOT OF FLOWING WATER IS POWERFUL ENOUGH TO SWEEP VEHICLES OFF THE ROAD. WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED ROADS MAKE THE SMART CHOICE...TURN AROUND...DONT DROWN. TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN. DO NOT DRIVE YOUR CAR ON FLOODED ROADWAYS. PLEASE REPORT HIGH WATER TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BY CALLING TOLL FREE...800-401-9535...WHEN YOU CAN DO SO SAFELY. YOU MAY ALSO REPORT HIGH WATER BY POSTING YOUR REPORT TO THE CHARLESTON WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FACEBOOK PAGE...OR BY USING THE TWITTER HASHTAG...NWSRLX. There is also a Flash Flood Warning for the counties of Boone, Logan and Mingo in West Virginia until 10:45 PM...PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF SMALL CREEKS AND STREAMS...HIGHWAYS AND UNDERPASSES. ADDITIONALLY...COUNTRY ROADS AND FARMLANDS ALONG THE BANKS OF CREEKS...STREAMS AND OTHER LOW LYING AREAS ARE SUBJECT TO FLOODING. BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE THE DANGERS OF FLOODING. IF FLASH FLOODING IS OBSERVED ACT QUICKLY. MOVE UP TO HIGHER GROUND TO ESCAPE FLOOD WATERS. DO NOT STAY IN AREAS SUBJECT TO FLOODING WHEN WATER BEGINS RISING. TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN. DO NOT DRIVE YOUR CAR ON FLOODED ROADWAYS. PLEASE REPORT HIGH WATER TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BY CALLING TOLL FREE...800-401-9535...WHEN YOU CAN DO SO SAFELY. YOU MAY ALSO REPORT HIGH WATER BY POSTING YOUR REPORT TO THE CHARLESTON WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FACEBOOK PAGE...OR BY USING THE TWITTER HASHTAG...NWSRLX. There is also a Flood Advisory for the counties of Floyd, Magoffin and Pike in Kentucky. Stay tuned or go to WSAZ.com for the latest information.

Government-Issued Severe Weather Warning Texts

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- "Text alert, take cover, dangerous weather is coming" -- those are the messages that could soon hit your cell phone.

It's all a part of a new government plan to make sure you know what kind of dangerous weather is coming, where and when.

March 2, 2012 -- it was a day that will forever change how our region perceives the threat of tornadoes. Now, not a moment too soon, when dark clouds start to move in overhead, there's no more worry about if or when the worst will hit, a text alert will notify you.

“FEMA is the agency administering the program, the National Weather Service is providing our weather information,” Jamie Bielinski said.

Bielinski is the meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service office in Charleston. The new federal plan will issue a text alert for weather warnings to every cell phone user who has text messaging capabilities. You don't have to sign up, and it's free.

WSAZ Chief Meteorologist Tony Cavalier says the wording on the text alerts could be strong -- a concern that could prove harmful in the long run.

“Three out of four warnings do not produce a tornado and what's happened -- not just in Appalachia -- but even in the heart of tornado alley, is that folks have come to recognize a cry wolf syndrome," Cavalier said. "You said tornado; there was no tornado."

And having a plan when that warning hits will make all the difference.

“Personally, if I get a text, I immediately tune to radar ... look at the sky and see if there's imminent danger,” Cavalier said.

The weather alerts will be geographically generated. That means if someone lives in Huntington but is visiting family in the Midwest when a tornado warning is issued there, he or she will receive that warning.

All major cell phone carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, have signed on to the program.


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