All the talk about rough weather during this Severe Weather Awareness Week isn't complete unless you ask, “How can I be alerted to it?”

In addition to WVOC, we've mentioned several times before how NOAA weather radios can be tuned to send you advisories for your specific county or area.

But another approach is a Wireless Emergency Alert – a text message sent to your mobile device. 

It shows the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert.  The messages include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice.

Steve Naglic with the National Weather Service in Columbia says the alerts can be received by cellphones that have an app built in called the Commercial Mobile Alert System, or CMAS.

“If I put out a tornado warning, a flash flood warning or even a civil emergency message or an amber alert...and if you are within the little box that we draw for tornadoes/flash floods...then you're gonna get a text message saying, 'Tornado warning for this location until such and such a time',” Naglic explains.

You can also receive Wireless Emergency Alerts even if you're visiting areas where you don't live, or outside the area where your phone is registered.

More than 100 wireless carriers participate in the program.

For more information, check online at