Live in an area prone to flash floods, hurricanes, blizzards? Smartphone users will soon get a severe-weather alert from the National Weather Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The new nationwide emergency alert system, called the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), sends 90-character text messages to smartphones of people facing extreme weather conditions. Severe weather defined by the NOAA includes tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, extreme wind, blizzards and ice storms, tsunamis, and dust storms. Note that thunderstorms aren't on the list because they occur so frequently.

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