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Why don't I receive emergency alerts?
DRengfer831
Member

once again I am reminded that Verizon's support for emergency alerts has issues. My wife and I were sitting at our dining table eating dinner when her (ATT) device (we both have iphone 6s phones) receIved an Emergency Alert regarding flash flooding in our area. We live on a creek, so this is material. My verizon device never received this alert. This is the typical behavior - she gets them and I don't.

Both phones are are running up to date software (10.2 - 14C92 in my case). Neither use wifi calling. Both are always on. Both have al turned on.

I understand that this feature is related to the tower to which I'm connected. Mindful that our phones are literally 5' apart, perhaps Verizon needs to reconfigure its local towers? I should certainly have received tonight's flood advIvory....

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Re: Why don't I receive emergency alerts? My wife (on AT&T) does...
deloused
Sr. Member

I see what you mean from looking at the geography out there, and from once when I drove Route 1 from SLO to Monterey. Good thing your tower is higher up so it's less likely to flood or lose service.

For weather alert feedback you'd want to contact the local National Weather Service office in Monterey, specific to where they send future alerts too, as they aren't decided by the carriers (it's just the tower location). If the NWS transmits the imminent/occurring alerts closer to your immediate area you should receive them.

I generally use open signal, and FCC information for coverage and things like that. I also find other unreliable websites.

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Re: Why don't I receive emergency alerts? My wife (on AT&T) does...
deloused
Sr. Member

You're correct, the alerts are sent based on the tower location accessed by your device. It is possible that the tower you were connected to at the time of the alert was not included in the emeregency area, or that the device was in use (data session, syncing, apps updating etc) in which case the alert wouldnt be delivered. Which zip code were you located in at the time?

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Re: Why don't I receive emergency alerts? My wife (on AT&T) does...
DRengfer831
Member

95062. Phone not in (obvious) use at the time.

Best,

Doug

(Brevity: iOS-induced)

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Re: Why don't I receive emergency alerts? My wife (on AT&T) does...
deloused
Sr. Member

Thanks for that info! Since the National Weather Service didn't issue an emergency flash flood alert for your immediate area it is most likely due to th locations of the different towers that you and your wife were accessing at the time.

It appears likely that you would be accessing the Verizon tower by the university (which was also not in an area that the NWS issued an emergency alert for). It appears likely that your wife's phone was accessing the AT&T tower on route 17 by Belluah Park, which was one of the areas the NWS sent the alerts for. Scott's Valley, Paradise Park and Felton immediate areas were also included.

I certainly hope the rainy weather clears up for you, I've seen the news reports! To opt in for more broader types of weather alerts 3rd party weather/radar apps can be helpful also.

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Re: Why don't I receive emergency alerts? My wife (on AT&T) does...
DRengfer831
Member

Thanks for the insights; helpful. This gives me some perspective to apply when one or the other of us receives an alert (or, as has happened once, both of us get one!).

That said, I will comment that, if the cellular-based emergency alert system is to be useful, it needs to be appropriately configured for the area served. If, as you surmise, I was served by a tower at the University, then I would be very concerned. The University sits about 400 vertical feet above town. Town, on the other hand, is built largely in the flood plain of the San Lorenzo River (SLR) and its tributaries (including Branciforte Creek, which forms one of our property lines).

Based on your thesis that the tower serves us, it would also serve many customers living in the  SLR flood plain. I would expect (hope?) that Verizon would configure the UC tower to alert those folks in the event of an emergency that could affect them, even if it would not affect the UC campus. Better reasonably safe than sorry.

I will note further that Beulah Park lies on Carbonero Creek, which feeds Branciforte Creek near the Santa Cruz city limits. If the area served by Beulah Park were to be affected by a streamflow emergency, then I would expect that downstream Santa Cruz could also be affected, including areas presumably served by that Verizon tower on the UC campus. Based on these assumptions, AT&T got it right here in alerting us, since we are downstream of that location, though fortunate to live on high ground. Many other served by that tower live in the flood plain (not dissimilar to Paradise Park).

Curious: which cell-tower location tools do you like? My quick efforts found highly variable results from different sites; would be nice to know one I could trust.

Thanks again!

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Re: Why don't I receive emergency alerts? My wife (on AT&T) does...
deloused
Sr. Member

I see what you mean from looking at the geography out there, and from once when I drove Route 1 from SLO to Monterey. Good thing your tower is higher up so it's less likely to flood or lose service.

For weather alert feedback you'd want to contact the local National Weather Service office in Monterey, specific to where they send future alerts too, as they aren't decided by the carriers (it's just the tower location). If the NWS transmits the imminent/occurring alerts closer to your immediate area you should receive them.

I generally use open signal, and FCC information for coverage and things like that. I also find other unreliable websites.

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Re: Why don't I receive emergency alerts? My wife (on AT&T) does...
rjfordm1124
Member

I think the answer is that Verizon has work to do. I was recently driving from Baton Rouge to New Orleans through a tropical storm that knocked out the power to the airport for 8 hours and 4 other people in the same car all receieved a flood warning alert at the same time and I did not. Not too long ago, was in church during a thunderstorm almost every phone in the building went off with an alert, I got nothing. 

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