COMMUNITY ALERT AND WARNING

Public safety officials use timely and reliable communications systems to alert you and your family in the event of natural or man-made disasters. This page describes different systems our office utilizes and the alert notification terminology you may receive.

 

 

 

 

LOCAL

ALERT

AND

WARNING

SYSTEMS

 

 

 

 

 

A!LERT MONTEREY COUNTY

Alert Monterey County is a system that delivers voice recorded, text and TTY messages in the English and Spanish languages to a database of landline telephones and mobile devices in a specific geographic area affected by a disaster or emergency as selected by the local government agency with the following limitations: The landline telephone database is the existing 9-1-1 database. Cell phone, Voice over Internet Protocol (VolP) phone and email notifications use a database created by individuals “registering” these devices on the county’s website www.alertmontereycounty.org.

NIXLE

Nixle keeps you up-to-date with relevant information from your local public safety departments & schools. Explore your local public safety agencies on Nixle.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Monterey County Office of Emergency Services utilizes three social media platforms to communicate and listen to important preparedness information. Follow us on: FacebookTwitterInstagram

WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS

During an emergency, alert and warning officials need to provide the public with life-saving information quickly. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), made available through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) infrastructure, are just one of the ways public safety officials can quickly and effectively alert and warn the public about serious emergencies.


 

 

NATIONAL

ALERT

AND

WARNING

SYSTEMS

 

 

IPAWS

(INTEGRATED PUBLIC ALERT WARNING SYSTEM)

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), is a modernization and integration of the nation’s existing and future alert and warning systems, technologies, and infrastructure. IPAWS is the latest version of a long list of warning systems the National Government has had in place since the 1950s. IPWS is administered by FEMA and incorporates various forms of alerting and warning systems into one. It is intended to incorporate new technologies as they become available in the future.

EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, satellite digital audio service and direct broadcast satellite providers, cable television systems, and wireless cable systems to provide the President with a communications capability to address the American people within 10 minutes during a national emergency.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It also broadcasts alerts of non-weather emergencies such as national security, natural, environmental, and public safety through the Emergency Alert System.

 


 

 

COASTAL

 

HAZARD

 

TERMINOLOGY

 

 

 

Coastal Flood Warning - Coastal flooding is occurring or is imminent in the next 12 hours, which poses a serious threat to life and/or property.

Coastal Flood Watch - Coastal flooding is possible in the next 24 hours, which would pose a serious threat to life and/or property.

Coastal Flood Advisory - Minor coastal flooding is occurring or is imminent in the next 12 hours, which poses a threat to life and/or property.

Storm Surge Watch - Life-threatening inundation from rising water being forced inland by an ongoing storm is possible within the specified area, generally within 48 hours.

Storm Surge Warning - Localized heavy flooding due to storm surge is occurring or is imminent in the next 12 hours, which poses a threat to life and/or property.

High Surf Warning - Destructive, pounding surf poses a danger to those in and near the water and may damage property near the shoreline.

High Surf Advisory - Pounding surf poses a danger to those in the water.

Rip Current Statement - Describes a risk of rip currents present in the specified area (may be issued as a beach hazards statement).

Beach Hazards Statement - Issued for rip currents, chemical hazards, or biological hazards in lake or ocean waters.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVACUATION

 

TERMINOLOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming familiar with terminology before disaster strikes will allow you to quickly take action upon direction from local officials. Emergency officials will decide whether to evacuate or shelter in place areas based on the nature of the emergency. You will be told what to do over local radio and television stations. Remember, preparing for emergencies in advance is the best way to help protect yourself and your family.

Evacuation Warning -Alerting of community members in a defined area of a potential threat to life and property from an emergency incident. Be prepared to evacuate.

Note* Depending on the emergency, there may not be time to issue an Evacuation Warning. If you receive an Evacuation Warning, gather your family, pets and emergency supplies and be prepared to leave. For those who know they would be unable to evacuate quickly, consider leaving when a Evacuation Warning is issued. If you know you need assistance evacuating, don't wait until an Evacuation Order is issued, ask now.

Evacuation Order - Movement of community members out a defined area due to an immediate threat to life and property from an emergency incident. Evacuate now.

Note* In some regions an Evacuation Order is also called a Mandatory Evacuation.

Shelter In Place - Directing community members to stay inside their current location if a situation does not allow for evacuation or when an evacuation could cause a higher potential for loss of life.

Closure - Prohibiting usage or occupancy of a defined area such as a park, beach, or road due to a potential or actual threat to public health and/or safety. Used when public officials want to limit recreating public in the case of a potential emergency.

Repatriation - The return of community members unable to enter the County or previously evacuated to a location outside of the County. Only after threat has been mitigated, infrastructure and utilities are secured, and emergency services have approved of the return.

Repopulation - The return of community members to a previously evacuated are for unrestricted use. Only after threat has been mitigated, infrastructure and utilities are secured, and emergency services have approved of the return.

Reentry - The temporary reentry of community members for a designated time to an evacuated area i.e. to feed livestock in a potentially contaminated or at risk area.

Relocation - The long-term or permanent relocation of community members who previously lived in an affected area.

 


FIRE WEATHER TERMINOLOGY

Fire Warning – A fire is currently burning in the area and evacuation is recommended.

Red Flag Warning – A warning issued when conditions are favorable for the rapid spread of wildfires.

Fire Weather Watch – Conditions are expected to become favorable for the rapid spread of wildfires.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

FLOOD

 

TERMINOLOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Flood Warning – Flooding of streams or rivers is occurring, imminent, or highly likely. These warnings are issued on a county by county basis by the local Weather Forecast Office and are generally in effect for a couple of days or longer.

Areal Flood Warning – General or areal flooding of streets, low-lying areas, urban storm drains, creeks, and small streams is occurring, imminent, or highly likely. Flood warnings are usually issued for flooding that occurs more than six hours after the excessive rainfall, or when flooding is imminent/occurring but is not rapid enough to prompt a flash flood warning. These warnings are issued on a polygonal basis by the local Weather Forecast Office and are generally in effect for six to twelve hours.

River Flood Advisory – Streams or rivers reaching action stage is occurring, imminent, or highly likely. These advisories are issued on a county by county basis by the local Weather Forecast Office and are generally in effect for a couple of days or longer.

Areal Flood Advisory – Minor general or areal flooding of streets, low-lying areas, urban storm drains, creeks, and small streams is occurring, imminent, or highly likely. These advisories are issued on a polygonal basis by the local Weather Forecast Office and are generally in effect for three to six hours.

Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory – Another form of the areal flood advisory, where ponding of water on streets, low-lying areas, highways, underpasses, urban storm drains, and elevation of creek and small stream levels is occurring or imminent. Urban and small stream flood advisories are issued for flooding that occurs within three hours after the excessive rainfall. These advisories are issued on a polygonal basis by the local Weather Forecast Office and are generally in effect for three to four hours (however, the NWS website does not the advisory as an area-specific polygon, instead indicating the individual counties/parishes/boroughs affected).

 


 

 

NATIONAL

WEATHER

SERVICE

TERMINOLOGY

 

 

The NWS divides severe weather alerts into a few types of hazardous weather/hydrologic events:

Severe local storms – Short-fused, small-scale hazardous weather or hydrologic events produced by thunderstorms, including large hail, damaging winds, tornadoes, and flash floods.

Winter storms – Weather hazards associated with freezing or frozen precipitation (freezing rain, sleet, snow) or combined effects of winter precipitation and strong winds.

Fire weather – Weather conditions leading to an increased risk of wildfires.

Flooding – Hazardous hydrological events resulting in temporary inundation of land areas not normally covered by water, often caused by excessive rainfall.

Coastal/lakeshore hazards – Hydrological hazards that may affect property, marine or leisure activities in areas near ocean and lake waters including high surf and coastal or lakeshore flooding, as well as rip currents.

Marine hazards – Hazardous events that may affect marine travel, fishing and shipping interests along large bodies of water, including hazardous seas and freezing spray.

Other hazards – Weather hazards not directly associated with any of the above including extreme heat or cold, dense fog, high winds, and river or lakeshore flooding.

 


 

 

 

 

SEVERE

LOCAL

STORM

TERMINOLOGY

 

 

 

 

Significant Weather Advisory – A strong thunderstorm is indicated by Doppler weather radar, containing small hail below 1 inch (2.5 cm) diameter, and/or strong winds of 39–57 miles per hour (63–92 km/h). These advisories are usually issued on a county by county basis, and are issued as special weather statements written in the style of severe thunderstorm and other short-fused warnings, rather than being an official product itself. Some areas use an entirely different format (most notably WFOs in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic), noting where in each county the thunderstorm will affect.

Flash Flood Watch – Conditions are favorable for flash flooding in and close to the watch area. These watches are issued by the Weather Forecast Office and are usually issued six to 24 hours in advance of expected flood potential. These watches are usually issued for a smaller area by the local WFOs than typical Flash Flood Watches, which often span multiple county warning areas, and are usually valid for a longer period of time. This type of watch is usually only reserved for forecast "high-end" flash flood events.

Flash Flood Warning – Flash flooding is occurring, imminent, or highly likely. A flash flood is a flood that occurs within six hours of excessive rainfall and that poses a threat to life and/or property. Dam failures can also cause flash floods. These warnings are issued on a county by county basis by the local Weather Forecast Office and are generally in effect for two to six hours, although particularly during tropical cyclones a warning may last for a longer period of time, and occasionally last shorter than two hours.

Flash Flood Emergency - A flash flood emergency is a high-end usage of the flash flood warning product. The flash flood emergency term is used when widespread flooding is occurring, and either, multiple water rescues have been reported in the past few hours, or if highly populated regions are undergoing significant flash flooding likely to cause loss of life and property.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEMPERATURE

 

TERMINOLOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excessive Heat Warning – Extreme Heat Index (HI) values forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least two days. Specific criteria varies among local Weather Forecast Offices, due to climate variability and the effect of excessive heat on the local population. Typical HI values are maximum daytime temperatures above 105 to 110 °F (41 to 43 °C) and minimum nighttime temperatures above 75 °F (24 °C).

Excessive Heat Watch – Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.

Heat Advisory – High Heat Index (HI) values are forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for one or two days. Specific criteria vary over different county warning areas, due to climate variability and the effect of excessive heat on the local population. Typical HI values are maximum daytime temperatures above 100 to 105 °F(38 to 41 °C) and minimum nighttime temperatures above 75 °F (24 °C).

Extreme Cold Warning – Forecast shelter temperature of −50 °F (−46 °C) or colder and air temperature remains below −40 °F (−40 °C) up to the 700 mb (21 inHg) level for three or more consecutive days. An Extreme Cold Warning can be issued by local Weather Forecast Offices as an experimental product using locally appropriate thresholds, usually with little or no wind.

Extreme Cold Watch – Conditions are favorable for an extreme cold event to meet or exceed local Extreme Cold Warning criteria.

Freeze Warning – Widespread sheltered temperatures are forecast to be at or below 32 °F (0 °C) in the next 12 to 24 hours during the locally defined growing season. A freeze may occur with or without frost.

Freeze Watch – Conditions are favorable for a freeze event to meet or exceed Freeze Warning criteria in the next 12 to 48 hours during the locally defined growing season.

Frost Advisory – Minimum sheltered temperatures are forecast to be 33 to 36 °F (1 to 2 °C) during the locally defined growing season on nights with good radiational cooling conditions (e.g., light winds and clear skies). Widespread frost can be expected.

Hard Freeze Warning – Widespread temperatures at or below 28 °F (−2 °C) during the growing season. A hard freeze may occur with or without frost.

 


 

 

 

 

TSUNAMI

TERMINOLOGY

 

 

Tsunami Warning - Indicates that a tsunami is imminent and that coastal locations in the warned area should prepare for flooding. The initial warning is typically based on seismic information alone. Earthquakes over magnitude 7.0 trigger a warning covering the coastal regions within 2 hours tsunami travel time from the epicenter. When the magnitude is over 7.5, the warned area is increased to 3 hours tsunami travel time. As water level data showing the tsunami is recorded, the warning will either be cancelled, restricted, expanded incrementally, or expanded in the event of a major tsunami.

Tsunami Watch - An alert issued to areas outside the warned area. The area included in the watch is based on the magnitude of the earthquake. For earthquakes over magnitude 7.0, the watch area is 1 hour tsunami travel time outside the warning zone. For all earthquakes over magnitude 7.5, the watch area is 3 hours tsunami travel time outside the warning zone. The watch will either be upgraded to a warning in subsequent bulletins or will be cancelled depending on the severity of the tsunami.

 


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