Schedule for Thursday, April 14, 2016:
1:00 p.m. -- Test watch. The test "Watch County Notification" (WCN) with the list of counties will be issued by all six weather offices that serve Minnesota. Weather Radios will activate with the real TOA code.
1:45 p.m. -- Test Tornado Warning (TOR) issued by all six weather offices that serve Minnesota. Weather Radios will activate with the real TOR code.
2:00 p.m. -- Test Severe Weather Statement (SVS) issued by all six weather offices to announce the end of the test warning. No alarm on weather radio.
6:55 p.m. -- Test Tornado warning (TOR) issued by all six weather offices that serve Minnesota. Weather Radios will activate with the real TOR code.
7:10 p.m. -- Test Severe Weather Statement (SVS) issued by all six weather offices to announce the end of the test warning. No alarm on weather radio.
Effect on Cell Phones and the "Wireless Emergency Alert":None. Our test warnings have a "T" code that is flagged by IPAWS/CMAS and therefore there is no wireless emergency alert on cell phones for the test.
Effect on TV/Radio/Cable:a) In general, software at TV stations sees the "T" code indicating a test, and may not run a crawl. If there is a crawl, usually that has been created by manual intervention. It is up to the station whether or not to run a crawl.
b) if TV/Radio/Cable use NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) as an input to their EAS equipment, then our NWR broadcast will be heard. Our audio will mention "test" several times. Some cable screens may even go blank and scroll the counties in the "warning." The exception is if engineers at TV/radio/cable temporarily disconnect the NWS from their inputs into EAS, and they are certainly free to do that if they wish. In fact, they don't have to monitor NWR whatsoever - any stations that monitor NWR do so as a public service.
Effect on other communication devices:Since there are so many companies that relay warnings, and so many methods by which people may receive warnings, it is impossible to say what will or won't relay our warnings. From what I've seen, most devices either know that it's a test and ignore it, or clearly indicate that it is a test. But it's impossible to say that there won't be a device that passes along our tests without telling people that it is a test.
FCC Waiver for use of the TOR/TOA codes on NOAA Weather Radio - and any postponement:
The FCC has issued a waiver that allows use of the actual TOR and TOA codes on NOAA Weather Radio. If severe weather is a significant threat on April 14, the waiver does allow us to issue the watch/warning on Friday, April 15. We would do that only as a last resort. Cloudy, dark and/or rainy skies are not sufficient to merit postponement; only severe storms. If severe storms occurs Friday, the drill will be cancelled. Fortunately, the severe weather threat for this Thursday appears to be very minimal.