Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Tansi Smoke Signals

March 28, 2012

WeatherCall is more precise warning system

CROSSVILLE — Our severe weather seems to be coming more and more frequently and it’s not always easy to get timely warnings.  Weather radios work, but their warnings are for a very large geographical area that may have no relevance to your location.  I unplugged mine after twice being awakened after midnight; once for a storm that wasn’t coming within 50 miles of me, and once for an amber alert in upper east Tennessee.

I learned of Weathercall three years ago.  It is a nationwide subscription service that is administered by WTVF channel 5 out of Nashville for our area.  It uses the coordinates of your street address to very specifically tailor the warnings you desire, e.g. tornado, severe thunderstorm, and/or flood.  You can specify up to three phone numbers and an email address (see below) to receive the warnings.  And you don’t get the tornado/severe thunderstorm warnings unless you are in a narrowly defined path of the storm.  For example we got NO warning for the tornado that killed two people north of Crossville earlier this week, but we did get warned for the storms that came over us last night.

Here’s an example of why it’s important to me.  We watch a lot of television but mostly stuff that’s recorded on DVR or on national channels. Shortly after I subscribed to this service we were watching a movie one night about 9 p.m. I knew there were some thunderstorms in the area but when the news went off earlier, there were no warnings or watches. Suddenly, our home phone and both our cell phones rang simultaneously. When we answered, it was a recorded tornado warning. A tornado actually touched down just a few miles away.  Without the call we would have had no inkling. Generally speaking, the call comes in 15-20 minutes before the storm hits, which gives you time to react but doesn’t concern you with storms that may never be a factor.

I have no connection with either Channel 5 or WeatherCall except as a satisfied customer. It only costs $9.95 a year, and, depending on what warnings you want to receive, you may not get a call for a year. But I can tell you from experience, it works.  And I sleep a lot better at night when severe weather is in the forecast. Here are a couple of relevant links in case you are interested: http://www.weathercall.net/ andhttp://www.newschannel5.com/story/9795436/sign-up-for-storm-5-hd-weathercall. Good luck and good health.

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Tansi Smoke Signals
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