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Alerts for destructive severe thunderstorms coming to your cellphone

ALPENA, Mich. — The National Weather Service will add a new type of warning that’s automatically transmitted to your smart phone, beginning August 2.

Wireless emergency alerts, or WEA, notify you of specific types of warnings for situations that can become life–threatening. Now added to the list, severe thunderstorms that the National Weather Service deems “destructive.”

Meteorologist Pat Bak from the National Weather Service said “We wanted a mechanism to get people’s attention. The stronger, higher end, severe thunderstorm warnings, you have damage up to EF–2 damage from a tornado. So the damage could be pretty significant.”

These storms could have wind gusts at or stronger than 80 miles per hour or hail that’s baseball size or larger. Bak explains the kind of damage these storms cause.

“Widespread tree and powerlines and down, you start to see significant roof damage, siding damage, window damage on well built structures. Out buildings or mobile homes -– that’s where you’re starting to get to the point they could be severely damaged or destroyed.”

The notification will tell you where the severe thunderstorm is in effect, the time it will expire, and the hazards heading your way. If you’re outdoors or in a car, you need to get indoors.

Once inside, Bak said “You want to get to a well built structure, interior room, stay away from windows and doors, because those are the weak parts of a building that’s where the damage is going to be seen first.”

Extremely dangerous storms will have the new “destructive” label urging immediate action that could protect your life.