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Northampton adds weather alert system

JACKSON — A new feature in the CodeRED emergency notification system will now help to inform citizens of impending severe weather.

Last week, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved an amendment to the original contract with CodeRED to allow the weather warning feature.

The CodeRED system has been in place in the county for more than a year and notifies citizens of vital information and warnings, including evacuations, prison breaks, boil water alerts, missing children alerts, etc.

The system can target specific areas in the county if only a certain town or area is affected by an emergency.

According to Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Byers, more than 18,000 telephone numbers are registered in the system.

Byers brought the decision paper before the commissioners with the recommendation to approve an amendment to the CodeRED contract. The weather feature will cost an extra $5,000. He said the $5,000 has been budgeted for and will come from the Emergency Management fund.

Byers said the new feature will link the notification system to the National Weather Service and will warn citizens of inclement weather, including severe storms, tornadoes and flash floods.

The new feature does require citizens to log onto the county’s Web site (www.northamptonnc.com) and check their preferences for the weather notification, which is optional. Those who do not have Internet access can contact Byers to have the feature added on.

The county will be informing citizens of the weather option through letters and press releases. The phone number to contact Byers to get the weather option included will be listed on those letters.

Commissioner Virginia Spruill motioned to approve the amendment to the CodeRED contract to allow the weather notification; it was seconded by Commission Vice Chair Fannie Greene. The motion passed in a 4-0 vote. Commissioner James Hester was absent from the meeting.