New National Weather Service Text Messages Differ from UT Alert System

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SafetyThe National Weather Service (NWS) is now automatically warning people of dangerous weather and other emergencies via a special type of text messaging to cellphones.

The messages are location-based and sent to people with smartphones capable of receiving the wireless emergency alerts (WEA) through their carrier. No sign up is necessary, but people can manage what they receive.

It’s important to note that the NWS messages are different from the UT Alert text messages sent when severe weather such as a tornado has strong potential to impact our campus.

We monitor a small geographic area around our campus when determining whether to send a UT Alert message. This means that you may receive a NWS message about severe weather in Knox County, but not a UT Alert message if campus is not affected.

The messages will also look different.

  • A NWS alert will look like a text, but the system uses a different technology, so your phone may make a different sound or display the text differently. National Weather Service alerts will always end with “NWS”
  • UT Alert Text messages always begin with “UT Alert.”

Learn more about NWS messages here.

For more information about UT Alert, or to sign up, visit the website.

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