National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Due to a Critical Weather Day declaration, the implementation of changes to WEAs for Flash Flood Warnings and the addition of 360 character and Spanish language WEAs has been moved from February 6th to February 11th.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier.

Recently, the FEMA IPAWS Program Management Office updated IPAWS to implement enhancements that will strengthen the Wireless Emergency Alerts.  FEMA and many carriers now support WEA 2.0 and 3.0. 

WEA 2.0 refers to alerts up to 360 characters in length and supports Spanish alerts, so long as the alerting authority transmits in Spanish. Device settings may determine whether English or Spanish alerts are displayed.  Weather alerts from the National Weather Service up to 360 characters in length may roll out as soon as early January.  The upgrade to WEA 2.0 also enables Snow Squall Warnings, Storm Surge Warnings, and Extreme Wind Warnings to now pass through to WEA on a number of carriers. 

WEA 3.0 can provide for geographical targeting accuracy of 0.1 mile but few devices/networks currently have this capability.

Also, beginning on February 11, 2020, Impact-Based Flash Flood Warnings which were recently implemented will begin to affect WEA alerting.  This change limits WEA activation for Flash Flood Warnings only containing damage threat tags of "considerable" or "catastrophic".

Additional information about these services and upgrades can be found at: