Warning of Severe Weather Issued via Cell Broadcast

Cell Broadcast: Numerous people have been warned about severe weather

A storm with gusts of wind and hailstones the size of a fist swept across several districts in Germany on Friday night. The storm also brought numerous lightning bolts and mudslides, causing severe disruption to airplanes and trains in some regions. To alert residents in the affected areas, warning messages were sent to their smartphones via the modular warning system (MoWaS) operated by the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) and cell broadcast.

The cell broadcast warning method, known as “DE Alert,” has been used in Germany since February 2023. This method reaches a large proportion of smartphones and mobile phones in the warning regions, accompanied by a shrill beep. Recent warnings were issued in northern Hesse, southern Lower Saxony, and Soest due to storms and flooding risks. Residents can also access current warnings on the website warning.bund.de and through the warning app NINA.

In addition to DE Alert, various other channels are used to disseminate warnings. These include radio, television, websites, social media, digital city display boards, loudspeaker trucks, sirens, and warning apps like NINA, Biwapp, KatWarn, and Warnwetter. Weather apps and lightning warnings from Blitzortung.org are also available to provide timely updates. The cell broadcast method was first tested in Germany during the nationwide warning day in September 2022, and it is now being used on average every 36 hours for official mobile phone alerts.

Despite the efficient warning systems in place, warnings were not solely issued for weather events. Major fires in Maxhütte-Haidhof in Bavaria and Friesoythe in Lower Saxony also prompted alert messages. The MoWaS and cell broadcast systems play a crucial role in informing and protecting the public during emergencies.

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