After the Virginia Tech shootings last April, my university set up an emergency alert system, where students could receive up-to-the-minute campuswide notifications via e-mail, text message, pager. I signed up and set my preferences for e-mail and texts. Didn't receive anything for several months and honestly forgot that it existed.
Cut to: our recent winter storms. Our trusty National Weather Service has been on the case, sending out regular announcements about flash flood watches, wind advisories, some containing cryptic subject lines reading "URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE." We got a lot of these, even during the more clement days where we could actually leave the house without an umbrella or a heavy coat. I got so bombarded that I had to cancel the txt msg notifications -- as much as I dig my "Radar Love" ringtone, I don't need to hear it every two minutes, unless there's someone really cool on the other side. I hope I don't miss out on any actual emergencies, but I can access my e-mail through my phone, so I should be covered.
This morning I searched my Gmail account (where I get my school mail forwarded) for "USC Information," the name of the service that's been sending us NWS messages. I may have deleted some and forgotten, but my inbox shows that I've received a whopping 57 of these alerts since January 25.
Here's one I just got, with the sage advice that I shouldn't go swimming in February.
National Weather Service reports/updated High Surf Advisory for the Los Angeles area.
...HIGH SURF ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 PM PST THIS AFTERNOON... A HIGH SURF ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 PM PST THIS AFTERNOON. SURF RANGING FROM 8 TO 12 FEET WITH OCCASIONAL SETS TO 14 FEET WILL AFFECT WEST AND NORTHWEST FACING BEACHES TODAY. SURF WILL SLOWLY SUBSIDE LATE IN THE DAY. A HIGH SURF ADVISORY MEANS THAT HIGH SURF WILL AFFECT BEACHES IN THE ADVISORY AREA...PRODUCING RIP CURRENTS AND LOCALIZED BEACH EROSION. ALL PERSONS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH WATER RELATED ACTIVITIES AND USE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN ENTERING THE OCEAN. WHEN IN DOUBT...JUST STAY OUT. WHEN VISITING THE SHORELINE NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN.
Sent by USC TrojansAlert to Weather 7 am - 7 pm (e-mail accounts, pagers, cell phones) through USC Trojans Alert
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