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National Weather Service adjusts flash flood alert system

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The National Weather Service is changing the way it warns residents about flooding. Now, only alerts related to life-threatening floods will be sent via a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) embedded on most phones.

Previously, all flash flood warnings were sent with a WEA. But, last year, over 12,000 flash flood warnings were sent to user's phones, which was somewhat misleading, as not all of these flooding incidents were life-threatening.

Typically, a flood advisory is issued for street flooding resulting from downpours. A flash flood warning is a bit more serious and is issued when drainage systems are overwhelmed, leaving areas susceptible to fast rising and moving waters.

While these two products will continue to go to NOAA Weather Radios, WBRZ Channel 2, and the WBRZ Weather App., only flash flood warnings designated as life-threatening by the National Weather Service will trigger the WEA.

This will cut down on the number of disruptive flooding alerts that alarm phones and will ensure that people know these should be taken more seriously when they occur. Officials say the purpose of this change is to reduce panic and increase readiness.  

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