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You've Probably Seen An Emergency Alert On Your Phone. But Did You Notice How It Was Worded?

Here’s what happens when alerts like Hawaii's false alarm reach communities already in crisis.

[new_image position="standard large" id="null"]Warnings about Joaquin were not written in the plainest language. Image via Lisa Eastcoast/Twitter.[/new_image]

Back in October 2015, New Yorkers with smartphones were jolted by a collective ping, accompanied by a text message from the National Weather Service warning that the high winds of Hurricane Joaquin were imminent. Though Joaquin eventually veered off to Bermuda as a tropical storm, high surf and historic levels of tidal flooding devastated the Carolinas. And many of the alerts were written in complicated sentences using advanced vocabulary.

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