The high winds, heavy rain, and storm surges are dying down along the East Coast today. We have yet to account for the total damage done by Hurricane Sandy, and many areas of New York City are still flooded. Facing this devastation, it appears that local emergency managers and the National Weather Service made widespread use of the Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS, also known as Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEA).

Not surprisingly, the most Twitter chatter about CMAS has centered on the areas hardest hit by the storm, including New York, which used a CMAS message to issue an evacuation order of Zone A (those areas closest to water):

Impressed with @'s Wireless Emergency Alert for the mandatory evac of Zone A of NYC! #Sandy
James Patterson

The New York Office of Emergency Management also used CMAS to advise residents to take shelter, as captured by Twitter user kmshill.

CMAS message from NYC OEM, from Twitter user kmshill

Given the size of the storm, jurisdictions far and wide appear to have used CMAS. This includes Pittsburgh, which issued a blizzard warning:

Wireless Emergency Alerts would alert cell phone carries in preston, garrett, tucker for blizzard warning. See pic
NWS Pittsburgh

As we have reported on before, some Twitter users voiced questions, or even frustration, regarding why some devices received CMAS alerts while others did not. With CMAS now activated on some, but not all, iPhones, owners of these devices may have received the alerts for the first time. However, it is clear that not everyone did:

Action Item @ please fix IOS so that we can receive wireless emergency alert (WEA) capabilities #iaem @ @
Mike Staley
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