More people relying on mobile devices for weather alerts than tornado sirens

TULSA - Sirens are how many Oklahomans learn about impending tornadoes, but an increasing number are relying on mobile devices.

"There's just so many folks with cellphones now, so it's just a natural built in way to reach a lot of people."

A new national safety program, known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), uses geographically targeted text messages to warn about tornadoes and other emergencies, such as Amber Alerts.

Right now, only certain phones are capable of receiving it. Those with compatible phones should already receive the messages.

Carriers like AT&T said they're working to get the service onto more devices.

Tulsa resident Aurora Mar looks forward to having it on her phone soon.

"I always have my phone with me and if there happens not to be a siren around, I'll already know," said Mar.

Those who do not wish to receive the text alerts can opt out by contacting their service provider.

A growing number also get their warnings from social media.

Experts say that's great as long as the updates are from reliable sources and the posts are in real time.

As for the future of tornado sirens, experts say don't expect them to go anywhere anytime soon, since there are always people outdoors who aren't near radio, televisions or cellphones.

Download our Storm Shield Weather app. You can set alerts to notify you of all types of storms.  Available for  iPhone and Android (iPhone - http://bit.ly/kjrhstormshield; Android - http://bit.ly/stormshieldandroid)

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