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Published January 03 2011

Signup steady for CodeRED

With the spring flooding season a few months away, officials in Cass and Clay counties anticipate a spike in the number of people signing up for the CodeRED notification system’s Weather Warning option.

The feature, which allows users to receive alerts specific to flash flood, tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings issued by the National Weather Service, became available to residents of both counties in late August.

As of mid-December, 11,115 Cass County residents had signed up for the feature out of more than 57,000 residents in the CodeRED database, said Dave Rogness, the county’s emergency manager.

In Clay County, 3,454 had registered out of about 19,000 eligible residents, said Lt. Bryan Green, Clay County’s emergency management director.

Rogness and Green both said they’re pleased with the participation rates but would still like to see more people sign up.

Participation in the basic CodeRED alert system increased during the past two springs as Cass and Clay counties fought floods, Rogness said.

“It’s kind of a seasonal thing,” he said.

CodeRED was used in spring 2009 to send automated phone calls to residents about evacuations and the need for sandbaggers and again last spring to alert Oakport Township residents north of Moorhead when their sewers were shut down, Green said. After that, participation in the Oakport area roughly doubled, he said.

The Weather Warning feature uses the geographic warning areas outlined by the National Weather Service to target CodeRED alerts only to residents in those affected areas.

It allows users to choose which warnings they will receive. For example, in Clay County, 2,749 people elected to receive all three types of warnings, 360 picked tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, 62 selected tornado and flash flood warnings, and 283 chose tornado warnings.

Green reminded residents that those previously signed up for basic CodeRED are not automatically signed up for the Weather Warning feature.

Clay County residents may sign up at www.co.clay.mn.us/Depts/Sheriff/CodRedW.htm.

Cass County residents may sign up at www.casscountynd.gov/county/depts/EM/BePrepared/Pages/CodeRED.aspx.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528