How a Snow Squall Alert Made Everyone in Maine Panic for a Moment
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
It's likely you were having a leisurely Sunday evening, perhaps watching some TV, cooking some dinner, or out for a stroll on what seemed to be a mundane winter evening in Maine. But sometime between 5:10pm-6:20pm, about half the state received a startling alert on their cell phones. You wouldn't be human if that odd, completely out-of-place noise left a pit in your stomach. Thankfully, the alert was sent by the National Weather Service. It warned of an impending snow squall that could be dangerous. Collectively, the people of Maine exhaled.
Why Was An Alert For A Snow Squall Sent?
In the land of Nor'easters, it may seem strange to receive an alert about a snow squall. In the case of Sunday night, the National Weather Service deemed the threat to be potentially fatal for those who were unprepared. The squall on Sunday evening was going to be sudden whiteout conditions with walking and driving visibility likely non-existent. The NWS rarely activates the wireless emergency alerts system in Maine, which allows governmental agencies like FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to send direct messages to cell phones, bypassing the need for acceptance. That's what made the alert so startling Sunday evening. For people with their cell phone on silent, the message went around that setting and vibrated phones.
That Unsettling Feeling
For many who received the out-of-the-blue alert, an unsettling feeling washed over them for a second. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has left the world on edge, especially with Russia escalating tensions by announcing their nuclear force is on "high alert". Initial panic set in for many, before a deep sigh of relief that the alert was from the NWS and not another department.
The Reactions Were Swift
That news led to some very real reactions on Twitter after the NWS message. Co-Creator of the Netflix series Locke & Key (and Stephen King's son) Joe Hill didn't beat around the bush in his tweet.