Beeeeeeeeep Beep Beep.

Oh, those alert tones will wake you from a sound sleep and make your heart skip a beat or two. The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system was created by an act of Congress in 2006, allowing for emergency communication to be sent directly and automatically to cellular phones and other mobile devices.

Behind the scenes, WEA operates using a special text messaging protocol called CMAS (Commercial Mobile Alert System). It serves as a supplement to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) that automatically interrupts television and radio broadcasts.

And frankly, it was (and is) a huge step forward in timely, accurate severe weather communication.

One of the advantages of WEA over EAS (and other communication avenues) is that alerts are geographically coded to specific cell phone towers. So, for the most part, only those in immediate danger will receive that alert.

There are a total of 13 types of messages that can currently be sent as a Wireless Emergency Alert. Nine of them are weather-related, including one that is brand new as of August 2021. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings marked with a "destructive" tag will be included in the WEA infrastructure going forward.

Before I go through the list of 13, I have to mention that you can also receive weather, news, and traffic alerts from the New Jersey 101.5 app. Instant, timely, and always Jersey-centric!

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BEEP BEEP BEEP: These are the 13 types of Wireless Emergency Alerts auto-pushed to your phone

The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system allows government officials to immediately and automatically push messages to all cell phones and mobile devices within a specific geographical area. There are a total of 13 types of messages that can currently be sent as a Wireless Emergency Alert. Nine of them are weather-related warnings, including one that is brand new as of August 2021.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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