Sioux Falls Upgrades Text Messaging System for Snow Alerts

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sioux Falls is launching a new snow alert text messaging system designed to notify residents about when their streets will be plowed after significant snowfalls.

The city is updating its text alert system to send up to one million text messages per hour, costing Sioux Falls roughly $44,000 a year, the Argus Leader reported. The system also allows the city's emergency manager to notify all of Sioux Falls or targeted geographic areas about hazards, disasters and evacuation orders.

Residents can text "SNOWALERT" to 888-777 in order to sign up for alerts. Individuals enrolled in the city's old alert system will continue to receive the notifications.

"The city has invested in a great product for our citizens," Sioux Falls Emergency Manager Regan Smith said. "You can now get snow alerts that are more timely and useful. Our new system can deploy 1,000 messages per second compared to the previous system which took hours to notify the public."

T.J. Nelson, deputy chief of staff in the mayor's office, said the system will eventually expand to include more notification options, such as neighborhood mosquito spraying, pool information and park and library events. The new offerings will likely be in effect by next spring, he said.