Severe Weather Alerts

Severe Weather Alerts are an automated service that displays weather alerts on your website in the Rayos Alert Banner and in the Weather Alert Banner widget. Once configured, Rayos will display a warning on your website when the National Weather Service has indicated there is a severe weather event in your selected areas.

Severe weather alerts can automatically trigger two different elements on your site:

  1. The Weather Alert Banner is a page element that typically placed in the right rail of landing pages and automatically appears when alerts are triggered.
  2. The Rayos Alerts bar is the same alert bar that is used for your breaking news alerts. Rayos can automatically trigger this alert bar for severe weather.

These two alert elements have there own settings in the admin, allowing you to trigger one or both based on different weather events and severity levels.

Instructions for initially configuring alerts and building the Severe Weather Alerts page are below. If you have an existing Severe Weather Alerts page and want to edit your alert configurations, follow the Configuring Alerts steps.

Configuration & Setup

To set up Severe Weather Alerts, the following is needed:

  • You need to decide on the Zip Codes of areas covered, alert types and the minimum alert severity level
  • Configuration of alerts for the Weather Alert Banner and the Rayos Alerts bar.
  • Place Severe Weather Alerts banners
  • Build and set the Severe Weather Alerts page
Severe Weather Widget

Weather Alert Banner Example

Configure Severe Weather Settings

The configuration options for the Weather Alert Banner are focused on three types of data:

  1. Zip Code
    The area covered by the automated Weather Alerts is determined by defining the Zip Codes you would like to cover. Enter the zip codes individually in the search box then click Add to List.
  2. Events
    You will be able to choose the weather events, such as Tornado Watch or Flood Warnings. Just check the box to the events you want to trigger alerts on. To better understand the types of alerts, review the National Weather Service’s Warning Definitions.
    Some alert types are also alerts in the government’s Emergency Alert System (EAS). These alert types tend to be very reliable. They are designated below with the (EAS) tag. Other alerts are put out by the National Weather service as text alerts, which means Rayos keys off a text string entered by human beings to understand what type of alert is being sent. These alerts can be missed if the National Weather Service misspells the name of the alert or uses a slightly different term.
  3. Alert Severity
    The National Weather Service sets a severity level for alerts based on the severity of the weather event. You can choose the minimum severity level alerts must reach to display on your site. All alert types must be set to the same minimum severity. The options are:
    • Extreme
    • Severe (recommended)
    • Moderate
    • Minor

Configure Web Banner/Web List Settings

Severe Weather Alert Banner

Rayos Alert Banner – Severe Weather Example

To configure what events and severity automatically trigger the Rayos Alert bar during severe weather:

  1. In the Rayos admin, go to Alerts > Severe Weather.
  2. Under the Web Banner/Web List Settings section, you can configure different settings for automatically triggering the Rayos Alert banner during severe weather.
  3. Select your Allowed Rayos Alert Channels, the most common is Web Banner.  You can find more information on Alert Channels here. Leave both unchecked if you do not want to automatically trigger the Rayos Alerts banner during severe weather.
  4. Select the Alert Style to use for the alert bar, most common is Severe Weather.
  5. Choose the Allowed Events and Severities. You can choose Same settings as above to use your general Severe Weather Alert settings or choose Custom selection. If you choose Custom Selection, you will be asked to set the following:
    1. Events
      Choose ALL weather events or Custom Event List to select from a list of weather events that will automatically trigger the Rayos Alert bar.
    2. Choose your Alert Severity
  6. When complete, click Update in the top right.

Configure Trending Event Settings

To configure what events and severity automatically trigger a topic in the Trending Topics bar during severe weather:

  1. In the Rayos admin, go to Alerts > Severe Weather.
  2. Under the Trending Event Settings section, you can configure different settings to automatically trigger the Weather Alert link in the Trending Topics banner during severe weather.
  3. Choose which weather events will trigger a Trending Event in the topics bar. Choose ALL weather events or Custom Event List to select from a list of weather events that will automatically trigger the a severe weather link in the Trending Topics bar (Note that an active Weather Alert topic needs to be added to the Trending Topics bar to automatically appear based on these set events.).
  4. Choose your Alert Severity
  5. When complete, click Update in the top right.

The Severe Weather Alert Web Banner

When there is an active alert the Alert Banner will be triggered to display on your site. This banner can be placed on as many pages as desired in any location. The most common location is the top of the right rail on the homepage and weather page.

If a visitor clicks on the link to the alert details, they will be brought to a page that shows the types of active alerts and the alerts for all counties or zones impacted.

To Add The Severe Weather Alerts Banner To A Page Or Template

  1. Edit the Page or Template where the Alerts Banner should appear
  2. Use the Template Builder to add the Weather Alerts Banner element to the Page or Template
  3. Update the Page or Right Rail Template

The Rayos Team recommends placing the Alerts Banner at the top of the right rail on your homepage and weather pages at a minimum.

Severe Weather Alert Page On Websites

The Severe Weather Alerts Page will display the full text of alerts by State> Alert Type > Area. 

To Build the Severe Weather Alert Page

  1. Edit or create the Severe Weather Alerts page
  2. Make sure you are in the Backend Editor.
  3. Click the Add An Element button
  4. Add a Weather Alerts Banner page element
  5. Add any other Elements and Templates you would like to the Page
  6. Publish the Page
  7. To select what page the users go to when they click the banner, go to Configuration > General.
  8. Under the Weather section, go to the Weather Alerts Page field.
  9. Select the page you placed the Weather Alerts Banner Page element on in the dropdown.
  10. Update

App Push Alerts

The NowApp push alerts are configured by the app user. When the user downloads the app, they are given the option to configure the alerts to their location, by entering a ZIP code.

Once enabled by the end user, the app will send a push notification if there is severe weather in their exact location. The push notification will link them to an article page in the app that displays the full text of the National Weather Service alert.

Supported Event Types

Winter Weather Winter Storm Warning ** (EAS)
Winter Storm Watch (EAS)
Blizzard Warning **
Snow Squall Warning **
Lake Effect Snow Warning **
Winter Weather Advisory
Ice Storm Warning **
Freeze Warning **
Freezing Rain Warning **
Freezing Rain Advisory
Frost Advisory **
Wind Chill Warning **
Wind Chill Advisory
Flooding Flash Flood Warning ** (EAS)
Flash Flood Watch ** (EAS)
Coastal Flood Warning (EAS)
Coastal Flood Watch (EAS)
Coastal Flood Advisory
Flash Flood Statement (EAS)
Flood Warning (EAS)
Flood Watch (EAS)
Flood Advisory (EAS)
Flood Statement (EAS)
River Flood Warning
River Flood Watch
Fog/Wind/Severe Weather Severe Thunderstorm Warning ** (EAS)
Severe Thunderstorm Watch ** (EAS)
High Wind Warning ** (EAS)
High Wind Watch (EAS)
Tornado Warning ** (EAS)
Tornado Watch ** (EAS)
Wind Advisory
Dense Fog Advisory
Extreme Wind Warning
Weather Warning **
Severe Weather Statement
Special Weather Statement
Dust Storm Warning **
Hazardous Weather Outlook
Tropical Hurricane Warning ** (EAS)
Hurricane Watch ** (EAS)
Tropical Storm Warning ** (EAS)
Tropical Storm Watch ** (EAS)
Hurricane Statement
Storm Surge Warning **
Inland Hurricane Warning **
Inland Hurricane Watch **
Inland Tropical Storm Warning **
Inland Tropical Storm Watch **
Tsunami Watch **
Tsunami Warning **
Marine Storm Warning
Gale Warning
Small Craft Advisory
Special Marine Warning (EAS)
Hurricane Force Wind Warning
Fire Weather Fire Weather Warning (EAS)
Fire Weather Watch
Red Flag Warning
Excessive Heat Excessive Heat Warning/Heat Warning **
Excessive Heat Watch
Heat Advisory
Natural Hazards Avalanche Warning (EAS)
Avalanche Watch (EAS)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the alert text have random characters or strange formatting/text?

The text in the alert is directly from the National Weather Service. During a severe weather event, the National Weather Service is often more concerned with speed than copy editing. There are often typos and extra characters in these alerts.

Why do some counties or zones appear twice on the alert page list?

Sometimes, the National Weather Service sends multiple alerts with just an additional sentence changed within minutes of each other. This can cause duplicates.

The Rayos Team continues to investigate ways to prevent this form happening, while still maintaining the integrity of the data. Stay tuned for updates as we refine our handling of the feeds.