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National Weather Service explains early morning alert

By Dana Molina, Multimedia Journalist/Telemundo Anchor, dana.molina@krdo.com
Published On: Mar 08 2013 09:07:03 PM CST

National Weather System sends out alert at 4:30am, upsets recipients.

PUEBLO, Colo. -

Many cell phone owners in Southern Colorado woke up to a weather alert Friday morning, and they're not happy about it.

A blizzard warning message went out at about 4:30 a.m. KRDO NEWSCHANNEL13 Facebook followers said that was too early. Others said the text woke them up.

The technology behind the alert is called the Weather Emergency Alert Message, and it comes from a collaboration between the National Weather Service, FEMA, and cell phone providers.

Every time the National Weather Service issues a weather warning, a system sends that information to mobile devices, and users' cell phones go off immediately.On Friday, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning at around 4:30 am, and so that's when the text messages went out.

But Tom Magnuson, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service said in the future, they will wait to issue blizzard warnings until after most people would normally be awake.

He said it's important that those who received the alert keep that service. The National Weather Service also sends out tornado and flash flood warnings when they are an imminent threat. And those alerts will be crucial in the summer.

Not all cell phone providers participate in the service. But Magnuson expects that to change within the next few years.

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