WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 12, 2010, 09:18 AM

Weather warnings available on your cell phone after issue with tornado sirens

(WDAY TV) - A follow-up to a story we first brought you. People in Cass County can sign up for another way to get weather warnings as early as next week. Emergency officials got an earful after recent storms, when WDAY confirmed some of it's 27-thousand dollar sirens didn't work, and, that officials say sirens are only meant to be heard outside.

The new system will send you pre-recorded messages. You can get warnings on tornadoes, thunderstorms, and flash flood warnings.

“We'll be able to provide a warning to a higher percentage of people, certainly never 100 percent, that's an impossible goal to reach for. But we do the best we can with the tools we have and this is one more tool.”

The new system is a backup for the metro, but in rural areas this is huge news. For some towns, it's the first warning system they'll have.

It's moments like this when Leonard, North Dakota could use a little extra warning.

George: “Pretty important. We could disappear in a hurry here if the right one came along.”

Inside the Leonard Cafe, the only washout is in the kitchen. That's why people take cover at this small town hang out, waiting for the storm to pass. The town is too small to afford a warning system that could've told them this weather was heading their way.

Sandy: “Looking out the window and word of mouth.”

But these people do have phones, meaning they'll finally get the same warnings as people in bigger cities.

Sandy: “I would go for it.”

George: “That would be great. No sirens, so you gotta rely on something.”

And the café can rely on visitors rain or shine as the future of storm predictions here looks brighter. Anyone in Clay and Cass County will be able to sign up for the alert system. You can get a similar service right away if you have a cell phone. Just log onto and click on the red weather alert button to sign up.