Many residents throughout Acadiana may have been startled to receive a breaking weather alert on their smart phone devices early this morning. Probably some of you were awakened by the peculiar message.

During "Nathan & Bernie in the Morning," I received such an alert during our live broadcast, which directed me to tune in to local media. Talk of the weather alerts, which continued into the day and afternoon, continued on social media, many assuming that the alerts were simply push notifications from their weather apps.

It turns out those alerts were not the work of an app at all.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Communications Commission, and others have been working with wireless carriers very recently in order to send out what's called Wireless Emergency Alerts. NOAA says these messages are meant to help keep you safe during an emergency and are sent out through cell phone towers--any cell phone in a particular tower's coverage area would have received the alert, NOAA, says, and the messages are not targeted at any specific users.

NOAA says WEAs are sent out during extreme weather warnings, like today, as well as during local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.

Sounds impressive, right? If you don't want to be annoyed by the alerts, you do have the option to opt-out, but you can't be opted out of Presidential Alerts.