Residents from Lewis County to Clallam County, and up to King County received a text message on their phones on Sunday afternoon, warning of Imminent Severe Weather.
The message received by people on carriers including Verizon, TMobile and others read: Blizzard warning this area til 6:00 PM PST Mon. Prepare. Avoid Travel. Check media. NWS
When we clarified via the KING 5 Facebook page that the warning is for the Cascades, people responded with relief that there was no real emergency.
... violent vibrations that there was a moment of panic thinking something terrible was/is happening. Never had one of those messages before, said one person.
I received the text too and the alarm scared the crap out of me. I hope it doesn't happen in the middle of the night, said another.
Well here's the explanation: In June, the wireless industry rolled out a new nationwide text emergency alert system, called Wireless Emergency Alerts, which warns when weather threatens.
Alerts can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm's way, without need to download an app or subscribe to a service. WEA messages include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice.
The alerts are broadcast from cell towers to mobile devices in the area. Every WEA-capable phone within range receives the message. So if you were in range, you got the message.
That blizzard warning is for the Olympics and Cascades, NOT for the lowlands.