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Sign up for Severe Weather Warnings

Sign up for Severe Weather Warnings

Residents urged to register with county’s weather warning system


If dangerous weather — a severe thunderstorm, a potential tornado — is tracking toward your home or business and has prompted warnings, you now have a way to get a phone call ahead of time, alerting you that the severe weather is heading your way.  This window provides enough time for you to take action to protect yourself and your family


First, you’ll need to opt into the program, and you can do that through a quick session online or by making a brief phone call.


This is done by a Weather Warning System called CityWatch that is directly linked to the National Weather Service satellites that track severe weather. The program maps out the storm’s path, and notifies only those people in its direct path about the approaching storm roughly 10 to 15 minutes before it hits.   Because the feature is directly linked to the weather service, people should receive calls related to tornado warnings before the sirens sound.


You can register a cell phone number, a home phone number or both. You can also register business information.


To sign up for the service, go to the county’s web site at home page and click on the “Severe Weather Warning Signup” link under Quick Links. If you don’t have Internet access, you can also call the Emergency Management office at (701) 265-4849.


These warnings can be especially effective if severe weather strikes in the middle of the night.  A phone call can wake you up and notify you about a tornado warning, which can be useful if you’re a heavy sleeper and the sirens aren’t waking you up at night.  The sirens serve as city’s outdoor warning systems, whereas CityWatch warnings serve as a redundancy for people indoors or inside their vehicles, or for those living in the country and cannot hear sirens from a city close by.  Another indoor notification tool is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio, which is available at local hardware stores.


Family members can register one another for the service. For instance, if you have an elderly relative who lives in another part of town and they don’t have Internet access, you can register their address and phone number for them.


The Weather Warning System is available now.  Another feature of the system will allow public safety officials to call all landline telephone lines in a specified area, letting residents know about events ranging from hazardous materials incidents to evacuation orders to missing persons to law enforcement incidents to other emergencies.

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