The flagship WeatherCall system continuously monitors the National Weather Service’s NOAA weatherwire and compares a school’s specific address to the location of the warning area polygon, immediately calling any type of telephone to deliver a specific warning message. The system also simultaneously sends an email containing a Google map of the school’s location, the warning area which activated the call, and an animation of the nearest local NWS Doppler radar.
An even more difficult challenge for school officials to monitor is lightning because it is so random and difficult to estimate its relative distance away. Lightning frequently originates from storms that never meet the NWS “severe” criteria, yet can pose an extremely dangerous situation for areas immediately around a school or recreation area. School officials will no longer have to wonder if lightning is too close or not.
Each school that signs up for WeatherCall for Schools receives the following types of National Weather Service (NWS) issued warnings issued within a 1-mile zone around the school’s location and the important all-clear message when that threat has passed:
When you set up your account, you can at that time decide what your all-clear notification time once that last strike affects your 6-mile circle of monitoring, either 15 or 30 minutes. (The NWS and most athletic organizations suggest 30 minutes.)
The first point of contact is the ringing phone since text messages and emails are most likely to be ignored, or delayed in checking for information. The message tells you that your monitored zone is in the path of a storm that has had a National Weather Service warning issued for it, and tells you what kind of warning it is (tornado, severe thunderstorm, flash flood, lightning strike within 6 miles). Then the message instructs you to check your email immediately for important information regarding the NWS issued warning.
That email contains the entire content of the National Weather Service issued warning, and it is important to read that message! It also contains a link to a web-page generated for you showing you your location, in comparison to the warning location. It also contains the animating imagery of the closest NWS radar, giving you the important decision making information within moments of the warning being issued.