The public is advised that starting early January, the National Weather Service (NWS) will no longer issue the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) for base-level Flash Flood Warnings.
 
As such, the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency is encouraging all Kaua‘i residents to sign up for Blackboard Connect, the county’s emergency notification service, if you wish to be alerted when Flash Flood Warnings of all levels are issued.
 
The change comes on the heels of the NWS’s recently implemented “Impact-Based Warning” format which now categorizes Flash Flood Warnings into three threat levels: base, considerable, and catastrophic.
           
According to the NWS, a “base” level warning will be issued for most flash flood events, when flash flood impact damage is possible.
 
A “considerable” level warning will be issued rarely, when there are indications that flash flooding is capable of unusual severity, or impact is imminent or ongoing and urgent action is needed to protect lives and property.
 
A “catastrophic” level warning will be used exceedingly rarely, when a flash flood threat to life and catastrophic damage is occurring or is imminent, and floodwaters have risen or will rise to levels rarely seen.
 
The NWS will issue its Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) – the federal wireless phone notification system – for considerable and catastrophic level events only.
 
The NWS will no longer issue a WEA for a base level event.
           
However, the nation’s public Emergency Alert System (EAS) will continue to transmit to television, radio stations, and NOAA weather radios, for all threat-level events including base-level events.
 
“In light of these recent nation-wide changes, we wanted to inform the public of their options if they still wish to be notified of all Flash Flood Warnings including base-level events,” said Elton Ushio, KEMA Administrator. “The County of Kaua‘i will continue to issue its mass emergency notifications via phone, text, and/or email, for those who are signed up for the free service.”
 
The public may use the following options for emergency notifications:
·         Sign up for Blackboard Connect, the county’s emergency notification service. To do so, please visit the county’s website, www.kauai.gov/KEMA, or call KEMA at 241-1800.
·         Install an Emergency Alert System (EAS) signal activated radio at home and/or at your workplace.
·         Utilize a third-party emergency alert app.
 
For more information about the National Weather Service’s new Impact-Based Flash Flood Warning format, visit www.weather.gov/hfo. To view the NWS’s Impact-Based Flash Flood Warning Fact Sheet, visit https://www.weather.gov/media/wrn/FFW-IBW-factsheet.pdf.
 
For more information about the County of Kaua‘i’s Blackboard Connect system, visit www.kauai.gov/KEMA or call KEMA at 241-1800.