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MADISON, Ala.(WHNT) – There’s a chance for severe weather in north Alabama early Wednesday morning, and one local police department is using it as an opportunity to promote a system that can give you real-time weather updates.

Madison Police spokesman Cpt. John Stringer says he’s lost track of just how many city residents have signed up for the Nixle alert system, a real-time notification service that has exploded in popularity the last two years. Several law enforcement agencies in north Alabama subscribe to Nixle, which was first primarily used as a communications vehicle between law enforcement and local media outlets.

Stringer said it didn’t take long to realize the power of Nixle’s speed-based technology, which provides instant updates on area weather and road conditions. He says it’s especially handy when severe weather is looming.

“It’s a great way of putting information out there, putting it in the hands of our people, our citizens when they need it as soon as they need it,” said Stringer. “If we’re talking about tornadoes, we can tell you the track of that tornado as we’re observing it…all of our units are technically storm spotters, so when they’re out there advising what they’re seeing, whether it’s tornadic activity, ice, sleet, snow, they’re letting us know so we can put the information out there.”

Madison Police also say the Nixle alerts allowed drivers to avoid hazardous road spots during a blast of wintry weather earlier this month.

The police department does not keep tabs on total registration, but said they expect to see a lot more people signing up for Nixle this week in light of the severe weather threat.

If you want to sign up for the Nixle alert system you just need a valid phone number and email address. Go to to register.