Hear severe weather alerts when your phone is on silent mode

PENNSYLVANIA, USA – The Storm Prediction Center has identified all of eastern Pennsylvania as the only place in the United States overnight Thursday into Friday with a risk of tornadoes. The threat is present from 10:00 PM on Thursday until 6:00 AM on Friday, which is when most people are in bed fast asleep.

Our WNEP app sends notifications about our latest weather forecast updates, including when severe weather threatens your safety and property. We’re keeping you updated on the latest breaking weather conditions as they develop. But if your phone is on silent mode, you may receive notifications silently.

What if a tornado warning was issued while you were napping? Or worse, what if a hurricane hits overnight?

What are wireless emergency alerts?

This is where Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) come into play. Launched in 2012, WEA is free emergency messaging sent directly to your smartphone by the National Weather Service. WEA will sound on your phone during severe weather events: tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, blizzard warnings, and when there is a threat of damaging winds and hail. If your phone no Mute it, it will alert you with a loud alarm tone or, depending on the smartphone model and operating system, with a strong vibration if your phone is in silent mode.

Here’s what you’ll hear if an emergency alert sounds.

Alerts are “geo-targeted,” in other words, broadcast only to a geographic area affected by an emergency. Therefore, all WEA-enabled phones within a given location will receive the alert, regardless of whether the phone is local to the area or a visitor. WEA does not track your location. They simply provide you with an alert if your phone is within a certain zone (connected to a specific cell tower within a warning zone).

In order to receive WEA, you must have a WEA capable device turned on and connected to a cell tower that provides WEA messages.

Most modern cell phones are capable of receiving these alerts. To find a list of devices that support WEA, click here.

How do I play emergency alert sounds?

On iOS

Wondering how to run WEA on Apple devices?

  1. Go to Settings > Notifications.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap Emergency Alerts.
  3. Make sure emergency alerts are turned on.
  4. Switch to Always play sound to ensure the alarm is triggered regardless of whether your iPhone is on silent mode.

Note: Your phone may not make a sound if Do Not Disturb is turned on.

on android

Yes, most Android devices are capable of receiving WEA as well.

  1. Go to Settings > Safety & Emergency > Wireless Emergency Alerts (the location of this panel will vary depending on your OS version).
  2. Make sure Allow Notifications is turned on.
  3. Switch between Extreme Threats and Extreme Threats.

NB: On Android, alerts will likely be audible, even if your phone is set to silent.

Just to cover all the bases, during a night like Thursday night with severe weather forecast, the best practice to be safe is to take your phone off silent or Do Not Disturb mode – this will ensure you receive all warnings. These warnings may save your life

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