(WXIA) Many people rely on tornado sirens to alert them when bad weather is quickly approaching.
But not all counties have tornado sirens, and even if your county does have one, it may be too far from your home to hear it while you're sleeping.
"Well, weather radios you can get fairly cheap," Keith Stellman, Meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City explained. "It's a one-time fee, but the biggest advantage is the fact that you can program it, and it will wake you up in the middle of the night with a very loud alarm."
The National Weather Service office in Peachtree City sends out the watches and warnings directly to the weather radios, whereas, other alternatives such as apps or text message alerts can carry a time delay of up to two minutes, since they are routed through multiple vendors first.
"Two minutes is important, especially in the south," Stellman emphasizes. "A lot of the tornadoes, we don't get much lead time, just because they spin up very quickly, and there's always a first touch-down point. And usually the folks at the beginning of the track have less time than the folks at the end of the track."
If you lose power, you may lose access to internet or cell service, but a weather radio has battery back up to ensure that you will always get weather alerts when bad weather is around.
When programming your weather radio, it is fairly simple. Start by hitting the 'menu' button. From there you will see a series of prompts. Scroll down until you get to Set Location. Select your state and county, and then hit 'menu' again to save your changes.
Midland weather radios can be purchased from any Walgreens location right now for a special price of $29.99, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross.