Emergency officials say sirens sounded in Joplin about 15 minutes before a tornado touched down Sunday night, but many people were inside stores where the sirens couldn't be heard.
In cases like this, other ways of notifying the public, like text messaging and reverse 911, become even more important.
Technology, like cell phones, are changing the way we receive information.
Since there is a threat of severe weather this week, many people need to be able to get information to stay safe.
Most people have their cell phones with them nearly all the time.
Lamura Phillips signed up for weather text alerts, like the ones WHSV offers, just six months ago when her son suggested it.
She says it's the best way to keep her family updated when the weather turns dangerous.
Phillips says, "He said, 'Mom you should really have this because it gives you up to date alerts on what's going on.'"
Not everyone is watching TV or listening to the radio to hear weather warnings.
Phillips says text alerts may actually be better than if the Valley had tornado sirens, because it tells you exactly what's going on.
She says, "With text warnings of a severe thunderstorm and it was nice to know to prepare for that, you know I could shut my computer down and do what I needed to do to prepare for that, even though I was at home."
Rescue officials say there are still other warning options for those who may not be as technically savvy.
Jeff Michael, with Rockingham County Fire and Rescue, says, "You have options. You have the NOAA weather radios, emergency communication system which is similar to a 911, and what that does it does a reverse 911 to the residence."
The problem though with Reverse 911 is that many people have gotten rid of their landlines.
Michael wants to make sure people understand that dangerous weather can happen here.
He says, "Get into the mentality that it can happen and it can happen to me, and I need to be prepared for it."
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