New York Attorney General Letitia James is calling on the National Weather Service to send wireless emergency alerts to residents in an effort to warn them about severe winter weather events. This would include major blizzards, ice storms and other dangerous conditions.
According to the attorney general’s office, the NWS currently sends regionalized wireless emergency alerts, or WEAs, to cell phones for some kinds of extreme weather, but not winter storms.
A severe winter storm last December led to the deaths of 47 people in Western New York.
“A wireless emergency alert can be the difference between life and death,” James said in a statement. “I urge the National Weather Service to immediately expand Wireless Emergency Alerts to include severe winter storms so New Yorkers have access to the information they need to protect themselves, their families, and their loved ones.”
The attorney general is also requesting that the NWS conduct a comprehensive review of last year’s Buffalo storm, including a review of its own public messaging efforts.