Manitoba tornado: concerns over phone alert system following twister

Manitoba tornado: concerns over phone alert system following twister


In this article, you will get all the information regarding Manitoba tornado: concerns over phone alert system following twister

TEULON, Man. –

There are concerns over the national public alerting system after a tornado touched down Tuesday night east of Teulon, Man.

There were no injuries or damage reported but the severe weather has prompted questions about why some people didn’t receive a warning on their mobile devices.

“If there was a really, really, really big F5 tornado you would think you would want an alert to get all your dogs and cats and stuff downstairs in the basement and take cover,” said Cindy Doroschuk, who lives east of Teulon near where the tornado touched down less than two kilometres from her home.

She didn’t get an alert on her mobile device but her brother who was in Teulon at the time did get the warning on his cell phone.

So did some municipal officials who were at the town office for emergency measures training, of all things, on responding to a tornado.

“I thought they’d managed to even use the emergency alert somehow as part of the exercise but it was real,” said Anna Pazdzierski, Teulon’s mayor who was one of the participants. “About a quarter to a third of the 35 people that were in the building got the alert and the rest didn’t.”

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said the EF0 twister touched down at 6:39 p.m., 6.5 kilometres east of the community and was moving west to east, away from Teulon, prompting the weather agency to issue a tornado warning for the nearby R.M. of St. Andrews.

ECCC said it issues and submits emergency alerts for severe weather, including tornadoes, through Alert Ready when a twister has been reported or when there is evidence based on weather radar or from a reliable spotter that one is imminent.

The weather agency said the alert is then usually sent to the national public alerting system within less than one minute.

“Tornadoes are spawned from thunderstorms and it is sometimes not possible to predict when or where a tornado will form. Hence advance notice is often quite short – in terms of minutes,” said Samantha Bayard, a spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Alert Ready is a partnership between federal, provincial and territorial governments as well as Environment and Climate Change Canada, broadcasters and wireless service providers who relay the messages to their customers.

A provincial spokesperson said not all Manitobans will get the alert. The province said device compatibility, connection to an LTE network, cell tower coverage and your phone’s software and settings are possible reasons why you might not get the warning.

For its part, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) said in a statement the safety of Canadians is of the utmost importance and noted some devices may not be compatible with the alert system.

“We encourage consumers to confirm their device is compatible with Canada’s wireless public alert system and that their device software is up-to-date,” the CWTA said.

There were no reports of injuries or damage from this tornado but Pazdzierski worries about what will happen when the next one hits the province.

“It’s a problem and until they’re able to solve that there are people who will never get that alert,” she said.

Pelmorex, the company that provides the software used by public safety officials, said its role is limited since the distribution of an alert is the responsibility of broadcasters and wireless service providers once an alert is submitted.

You can visit and select your wireless provider to determine your device’s compatibility with the alert system.  

Manitoba tornado: concerns over phone alert system following twister

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