Independence using new methods of warning public ahead of severe weather

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Severe weather season is here in full bloom.

You can always count on FOX4’s Most Accurate Weather Team to keep you weather aware. Other forecasters are developing new methods of warning the public ahead of time.

The Emergency Management Center in Independence has staff members who constantly watch the weather, with intention to advise the public when severe events arise.

Independence is using a new alerts system powered by the Smart 911 app. Users who opt-in will get alerts to incoming weather, ones that are closely tailored to areas within that large city. Alerts can come via text, email or phone calls.

“We’re limiting it to those severe types of watches and warnings that we know are common and people need to know about. We take those from the National Weather Service. When the weather service issues those warnings, they go directly through our system,” Independence Fire Chief Doug Short said.

Users can learn more about the Independence system of weather notifications here. Chief Short said users must opt-in to receive those messages.

People living in other areas will benefit from the National Weather Service’s upgraded text notification. That agency was already notifying cellular customers of severe weather events like tornados. Now, its system will include alerts for thunderstorms with winds measuring 80 miles per hour and higher, as well as hailstones that are at least baseball-sized.

“Severe thunderstorm warnings can be every bit as dangerous as tornadoes,” Andy Bailey, amnestying alerts forecaster with the National Weather Service, said. “If you have baseball sized hail in the same area as 100 mile per hour winds, you’re going to be seeing holes through external walls to the interior of houses from that hail. It’s very significant storms.”

This weekend’s forecast calls for rain on Saturday and Sunday. However, as of Thursday evening, neither day’s rainfall is predicted to be severe.

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