The Denver NBC affiliate’s new state-of-the-art severe weather notification system delivers targeted alerts to subscribers with any type of telephone.
Gannett’s NBC affiliate KUSA Denver (DMA 18) today announced the formation of a partnership between the station and Media Weather Innovations resulting in the creation of the new 9NEWS WeatherCall service.
KUSA describes WeatherCall as a “state-of-the-art severe weather notification system,” built on new, National Weather Service “storm-based warnings,” delivering targeted alerts to subscribers with any type of telephone.
Older warning methods rely on a broad, county-based model, under which entire counties are placed under warnings for severe weather. A recent improvement in how the National Weather Service defines warning areas has resulted in significantly higher accuracy and smaller warned areas, compared to the decades-old county-wide warning method.
Valerie Ritterbusch, president and meteorologist for Media Weather Innovations, said: “The advantage to WeatherCall is that our storm-based warning methods are far more surgical than outmoded county-based warnings. Instead of a warning affecting a huge area, computerized mapping allows NWS forecasters to draw a boundary around the truly dangerous part of a storm, reducing the square mileage placed under a warning by an average of 75 percent.”
The new 9NEWS WeatherCall’s targeted warning system virtually eliminates false warnings, alerting subscribers only if they live or work in the true path of danger, KUSA said. “Weather radios lack the specificity of the WeatherCall system,” added Ritterbusch.
Subscribers can register one location for each annual fee. Using computerized mapping, the system compares a subscriber’s specific location to the location of the warning area. When a severe weather warning includes that location, a WeatherCall from 9NEWS Chief Meteorologist Kathy Sabine is made immediately.
With the exception of tornado warnings, users can choose which types of warnings they receive, including flash flood and severe thunderstorm warnings, and whether it’s by phone and/or e-mail and SMS text messaging. Any type of telephone can receive a WeatherCall which has proven to be very important for senior citizens who often use older, analog phones.
“We’re very excited about this new and evolutionary service,” Sabine said. “Coming just a year after the Windsor tornado, we’re pleased to partner with Media Weather Innovations to offer this potentially life-saving tool to our viewers. WeatherCall will complement our broadcast and on-line weather reporting with a lightning-fast warning call no one else in this market can match.”
Users will subscribe to the service through 9NEWS.com, paying an annual fee of $9.95, the proceeds of which defray the cost of the calls and the expense of running the service. KUSA said it will not make a profit from subscriber fees.
To subscribe, go to http://www.9news.com/mobile/.