I was working in my office yesterday when I heard the familiar emergency alert dual tones coming from another room. It didn’t fully register with my conscious mind until it happened again. I found on my Verizon Droid X2 device notification of potential flash floods in the desert and mountain areas. An app called Emergency Alerts had been triggered.
Media sources reported 700 lightning flashes, and the rains did fall by the inch in the desert east of San Diego County, creating dangerous driving conditions and flash flood danger in desert gullies.
Of course, the problem is that the information wasn’t properly regionalized. This is a great step toward enlarging the alert system beyond broadcasting to personal communication devices and desktop computers, but users are likely to block notifications if are irrelevant. That crying wolf thing.
Verizon says it knows of the problem and will work to do a better job of matching location of the emergency to the location of its customers.
The National Weather Service provides the alerts and maintains an information page on the subject. They don’t detail how they are handling CAP location data.