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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

Standardizing a flood warning

WEA issued 3/14/2023

Wireless Emergency Alerts for flood and some other severe weather events are officially the domain of the National Weather Service. However, some emergency managers and alerting authorities will increase public awareness by adding a second message - sometimes preliminarily, at other times at the time of the event. But how do Alerting Authorities add value to a NWS WEA? By offering context about the

location that is most vulnerable, providing clear information about the potential threat in that area, and offering specific guidance to populations at risk. Notably, all NWS WEAs are automated and will not contain additional relevant details that only a local will know.

In this message from the Editor's desk, we've reorganized the content so that it follows recommended message design format. We also included the name of the hazard, emphasized protective actions in ALL CAPS and provided some preparedness instructions. If the organization has a website, we recommend adding that to increase awareness of the organization and the actions they can take in advance of an evacuation.

Some public communicators may ask "why don't you include the words "evacuation warning" like the original message did? That's because "evacuation warning" is meaningless to people who aren't familiar with the language of alerts and warnings. By using plain language, such as "flood warning" and "prepare to evacuate" the message receiver can connect the action (prepare to evacuate) with the threat (potential for flooding).


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