Fequently Asked Questions

EWN Support and Frequently Asked Questions

The Early Warning Network is a multi-channel geographic based distribution system for warnings, incidents, forecasts, threat maps and other alert products.

1. Where are the sponsored areas?

For information about sponsored alert services including mobile app push notifications and/or free SMS please click on the council/area you live in:

If you receive an email indicating your SMS Alerts are about to expire, but you live in a Sponsored Area please email support mentioning your street address so we can fix the problem.

2. What is EWN Premium?

EWN Premium is a subscription service which covers the cost of the SMS component of alerts for people who live outside of sponsored areas, or who are not employees of EWN clients. Members will need to subscribe after a 30 day trial in order to keep receiving SMS. Email alerts, and iPhone or Android App push notifications are also available and will continue to be issued even if your SMS alerts have expired.

If you are an existing EWN member and wish to upgrade to, or renew your EWN Premium which is $9.95 per year, please login here then select EWN Premium from the menu.

3. What type of alerts can I expect to receive?

Severe thunderstorm warnings, severe weather warnings, flood watches, tropical cyclone watches and warnings, tsunami warnings and fire weather warnings sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). Bushfire watch & act and emergency warnings from state-base bushfire responders.

4. What are Threat Levels?

Early Warning Network Alerts Threat Levels

Please read the Early Warning Network Alerts section on this page for full details including information about Threat Levels applied to alerts.

5. Are updated warnings issued?

Once you receive an alert from EWN you should monitor the situation closely. EWN may issue updates for deteriorating or escalating situations, or multi-day events. For example, tropical cyclones or east coast lows undergoing intensification. EWN does not issue warning cancellations except where an arrangement exists with a client.

6. Is an SMS issued for every alert?

Typically yes, though an email-only severe thunderstorm forecast may be issued for days when widespread severe thunderstorm activity is expected but is yet to develop. Email, App Push Notifications and SMS Alerts will be sent if warnings are issued by the BoM. 

7. Can I receive alerts for a larger geographic area, a state or the whole country?

Yes, please refer to our commercial services pages and in particular EWN Regional Alerts.

8. Can I receive EWN alerts on Facebook or Twitter?

Yes, please visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

9. Can I see all the EWN alerts on your website?

Yes, please visit the Alerts Page or RSS Feed.

10. Should I receive any alerts for areas away from where I live?

No. If you have received any alerts that are for another part of the country there is a problem with the geocoding (assigning of a latitude and longitude) of your address.

If you use (or in the past tried) our iPhone or Android apps, the wrong alerts may be related to a location you visited that has not updated. Please email support so we can fix the problem, or advise a solution.

11. When are landline alerts issued?

Landline alerts are only issued where EWN has an arrangement with a local council to do so, otherwise you should only expect to receive Email, App Push Notifications and SMS alerts.

12. Did you receive a late Email Alert?

Yahoo and Microsoft branded (Hotmail, Outlook) free email services continue to delay a lot of our email alerts. Unfortunately it is beyond EWN control to address this delay. Members with Yahoo or Hotmail email addresses should rely on our SMS alerts or push notifications (via the apps), or update your email address to another such as Gmail or your ISP.

13. Why have I received no alerts, or why do I no longer receive any alerts when I used to?

Possible reasons for this include:

  • Your email address was entered with a typographical error during registration
  • Your street address was not able to be geocoded into a latitude and longitude by Google Maps or your address details were incomplete
  • Your email address has changed since you first registered
  • Email alerts sent to you that are bouncing back to us with a "mailbox full", "spam", "account closed/disabled" or other errors may be disabled without notice. This will also stop SMS and landline alerts.

Please email support including your mobile phone number and address and we'll investigate.

14. How do I add another mobile phone number to my registration?

Use another email account to register the other number, or open a free online email account with hotmail/gmail etc and use that. Alternatively email support and we'll add the details for you. This option is not available in all areas.

15. Why are email alerts from EWN appearing as code instead of properly formatted messages?

Some mobile devices and email clients have problems rendering HTML based email messages. If this is affecting you email support and we can set your registration to receive "plain text" alerts instead.

16. How do I add another mobile phone number to my registration?

Use another email account to register the other number, or open a free online email account with hotmail/gmail etc and use that. Alternatively email support and we'll add the details for you. This option is not available in all areas.

17. Why are email alerts from EWN appearing as code instead of properly formatted messages?

Some mobile devices and email clients have problems rendering HTML based email messages. If this is affecting you email support and we can set your registration to receive "plain text" alerts instead.

18. Did you receive your SMS alert late or not at all?

Our system sends SMS and emails at the same time though it may take several minutes for alerts to propogate to everyone in metropolitan areas. Occasionally network congestion by the SMS providers prevents the immediate delivery of SMS alerts. This may affect every customer of a particular mobile phone provider at that time. If you do receive a late SMS and want to find out more please email support and also mention the mobile carrier you are with. Please also refer to the item about EWN Premium.

19. How do I switch off SMS alerts?

If you are going overseas or just don't need SMS alerts any more you can login then use the Join Groups screen to untick the SMS method for all the groups listed. You may reinstate SMS alerts at a later time by logging back in. Alternatively email support and we can do this for you.

20. How do I change my details?

Login to EWN and update your details, or advise email, address or phone number changes to support@ewn.com.au. Be sure to include your previous email and/or mobile phone number so records can be matched.

21. Infrastructure Alerts

WaterNSW and Seqwater provide free flood and water release notifications for their dams using the EWN system.

22. What is Emergency Alert?

Emergency Alert is a federal government funded system that is used to send out SMS and Landline alerts in extreme situations such as bushfire emergencies and major flooding. These messages often contain evacuation or specific advice for communities. EWN does not issue these alerts.

23. How do I unsubscribe?

Unsubscribing is not an immediate process due to associated mobile and/or landline numbers. Email EWN Support to request an unsubscribe. If your email address has changed since subscribing, please advise the email address or phone number receiving alerts from EWN. If you do not have an email account, phone EWN on 02 6674 5717 during normal business hours to be unsubscribed.

Support

Threat Levels

Threat levels of Yellow, Amber, Red and Black are applied to email and app alerts to indicate the severity of a threat at a glance.

Threat Level Summary of Threat Example Alert Types at this Threat Level
Black Catastrophic threats where damage or destruction to property has or will occur along with serious threats to personal safety.
  • Category 4 or 5 Tropical Cyclones
  • Tsunami threats where land inundation is likely
  • Extreme flash flooding
  • Fire Weather Warnings of Catastrophic Danger
  • Tsunami threats where major land inundation is likely
Red Extreme threats where damage or destruction to property is likely, along with risk to personal safety.
  • Category 2 or 3 Tropical Cyclones
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warnings with destructive winds or tornadoes
  • Severe Weather Warnings with destructive winds
  • Bushfire Emergency Warning
  • Fire Weather Warnings of Extreme Danger
  • Major Flood Warnings
  • Tsunami threats where land inundation is likely
Amber Severe threats which may pose a threat to property or personal safety.
  • Category 1 Tropical Cyclones and Tropical Lows
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warnings
  • Severe Weather Warnings
  • Bushfire Watch and Act
  • Fire Weather Warnings of Severe Danger
  • Flood Watches
  • Moderate Flood Warnings
  • Tsunami threats where land inundation is possible
Yellow Very High threats which may present a risk.
  • Minor or Final Flood Warnings
  • Bushfire Advices
  • Fire Weather Warnings of Very High Danger
Green All clear or threat cancelled (issued to clients on request).

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings

Threats from severe thunderstorms include: Large (or possibly giant) hailstones, Heavy Rainfall (that may lead to flash flooding), Damaging winds, Destructive winds or Tornadoes. Severe thunderstorms represent the most common threat to property and the community throughout the year and are the main type of alert sent by EWN. Alerts are issued via Email, App Push Notifications and SMS (and Landline in some areas).

The aim of our service is to deliver a timely alert when a severe thunderstorm is near or approaching your registered address. A constant watch is kept on BoM warnings, radar and our observation network to achieve this. However, thunderstorm weather is ever-changing and it is not possible to cover all scenarios. Radar images or warning products can be late, and thunderstorms can and do form and dissipate very quickly at times. It is important to accept that it is almost impossible to alert everyone on time during thunderstorm weather. Additionally, many adjacent areas may get an alert but not experience a thunderstorm.

Often the BoM warnings are not issued until some severe weather has already occurred or been observed. This is quite often the case for heavy rain warnings. Keep in mind creeks and streams may continue to rise and roads become cut after the heavy rain has eased or even stopped.

Severe Weather Warnings
(unrelated to thunderstorms)

Intense low pressure systems and troughs (elongated areas of low pressure) may lead to warnings for phenomena such as:

  • Damaging Winds
  • Localised Damaging Winds
  • Hazardous Winds
  • Destructive Winds
  • Locally Destructive Winds
  • Heavy Rain
  • Damaging Winds and Heavy Rain
  • Heavy Rain and Possible Flooding
  • Heavy Rain and Flash Flooding
  • Blizzard Conditions
  • EWN will issue Email, App Push Notifications and SMS alerts (and Landline alerts in some areas) for these events. There is often a lengthy lead-in time before any severe weather occurs. This does provide plenty of time to prepare, though it also means some events may fail to actually become as severe as forecast due to the weather patterns being less intense or focusing into another region.

    Flood Watches and Flood Warnings

    Email, App Push Notifications and SMS alerts will be issued for Flood Watches.

    Alerts will only be sent by EWN for Flood Warnings as the event unfolds if there is an arrangement with a client or local government area. The community is often very aware of areas prone to flooding and are advised to monitor the Bureau of Meteorology's flood pages and warnings page once they receive the flood watch or severe weather warning about heavy rainfall. Alternatively listen to local radio. Regularly updated river height and rainfall data is available that does not suit the alerting process.

    Tropical Cyclone Watches and Tropical Cyclone Warnings

    Email, App Push Notifications and SMS Alerts will be issued for tropical cyclone watches and warnings. EWN does not send every tropical cyclone advice update - only initial warnings and when the situation escalates. For example, when a category 1 cyclone intensifies to category 2. The local community will know the risks and are advised to monitor the Bureau of Meteorology's warnings webpage directly once they receive an alert.

    Fire Weather Warnings

    EWN will issue Fire Weather Warnings to the geographic regions they apply to when the fire danger is Severe, Extreme or Catastrophic. The alert will typically be sent the day before the threat, or updated in the morning if the areas have extended. Fire Weather Warnings are often associated with Total Fire Bans but only the Fire Weather Warning will be issued by EWN. These alerts are normally sent by Email, Push Notification and SMS, though for ongoing events SMS will not be issued every day.

    Tsunami

    Alerts will be issued via Email, App Push Notifications and SMS for tsunami threats. Landline alerts may also be issued for significant events.

    Bushfires

    Alerts will be sent via Email, App Push Notifications and SMS for bushfire Watch and Act and Emergency warnings. This information is sourced from bushfire responders in each state. The timeliness of bushfire alerts is dependent on what is made public by those agencies. EWN only issues the first Watch & Act and/or the first Emergency Warning for an event - updated information should then be sourced from your state agency.

    Alert Filtering

    The alerts sent by EWN are NOT automated - our alert managers check all content, and filter out duplicate warnings.

    Alerts may be sent at any time of the day or night. However we do try to limit alerts sent between the hours of 10pm and 6am unless it is a serious situation. Severe Weather Warnings issued by the BoM during late evening or pre-dawn may be delayed until morning if there is a long lead-in time before the severe weather is expected.

    Alert Type

    SMS Alerts

    SMS alerts remain the most reliable type of alert as they do not require an internet connection. These are sent provided the registration belongs to one of these groups:

    • Resident of a council sponsored area (refer main support page)
    • Resident of the Northern Territory
    • Employee of an EWN client
    • Have an EWN Premium subscription
    • A volunteer with the SES, rural fire service etc.
    • A new member on a trial

    If you are an existing EWN member and wish to upgrade to, or renew your EWN Premium, please login here then select EWN Premium from the menu.