QUINCY (WGEM) -- The National Weather Service will begin sending Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to cell phones during certain severe thunderstorm warnings.
This program is set to begin Monday, August 2nd.
The alerts will only be sent for severe thunderstorms that are deemed 'Destructive', meaning that the severe storm is capable of producing at least baseball sized hail and/or at least 80mph winds.
The weather service emphasized that these types of severe thunderstorm warnings are on the rare side, so the alerts will not go off every time there is a severe thunderstorm. However, storms of these strength often cause severe damage, in many cases worst than even weak tornadoes do.
Two examples of where this alert would have been used include the 2020 Iowa Derecho and the storms that pummeled Perry, Missouri, last month.
The reason this program is starting is to warn the public that the storms approaching are of a high caliber of strength and action needs to be taken to protect life and property.
However, the National Weather Service emphasized that every thunderstorm can pose risks. This is why when thunder roars, you should head indoors.
The WEA alerts are already sent for tornado warnings and high caliber flash flood warnings. These will continue to be sent as before.
In addition to the wireless emergency alerts, you can also receive all watch and warning information by downloading the Stormtrak weather app. There you can customize what warnings you wish to receive notifications about. You can find more information about the app here.