The alert, which came at about 5:44 p.m. in Murrieta, stated motorists should avoid travel.
However, it did not appear to directly affect residents in Murrieta or Temecula unless they are traveling in southeast California or southwest Arizona, near Yuma, Ariz.
The following is from the National Weather Service:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PHOENIX HAS ISSUED A DUST STORM WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM MST /7 PM PDT/ THIS EVENING.
* AFFECTED AREA...MUCH OF FAR SOUTHWEST ARIZONA AND SOUTHEAST CALIFORNIA...INCLUDING THE CITY OF YUMA.
* TIMING...THROUGH 7 PM THIS EVENING.
* WINDS...OUTFLOW WINDS UP TO 50 MPH WILL BE COMMON WITH THUNDERSTORMS IN THE REGION CAPABLE OF PRODUCING BLOWING DUST.
* VISIBILITY...FALLING TO BELOW ONE QUARTER MILE.
* IMPACTS...MOTORISTS ALONG INTERSTATE 8 AND AROUND THE CITY OF YUMA SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR RAPIDLY REDUCED VISIBILITIES. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... BE READY FOR A SUDDEN DROP IN VISIBILITY. IF YOU ENCOUNTER BLOWING DUST OR BLOWING SAND ON THE ROADWAY OR SEE IT APPROACHING...PULL OFF THE ROAD AS FAR AS POSSIBLE AND PUT YOUR VEHICLE IN PARK. TURN THE LIGHTS ALL THE WAY OFF AND KEEP YOUR FOOT OFF THE BRAKE PEDAL. REMEMBER...PULL ASIDE...STAY ALIVE.
The emergency alert received Thursday is the second time in recent weeks that local residents may have received such a message sent via a national emergency alerts system called Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs).
"Formally known as the Commercial Mobile Alerting System, the system allows authorized government agencies, such as the National Weather Service, to initiate a process to send messages to wireless phone users in a targeted geographic area," Verizon Wireless Spokeswoman Debi Lewis told Patch earlier this month.
The WEA system does not need your mobile number, and does not track your whereabouts; it simply broadcasts the alert, and any mobile devices that can hear the alert will display it to the user.
According to Verizon Wireless, only select, newer model phones are activated with WEA capability. So if you did not receive the alert, chances are your phone model is not supported, or your settings have the alerts deactivated. To find out more about your specific device, check with your wireless carrier.
For some more information about WEAs, here are "five things to know" provided by Verizon:
· WEAs are free messages. They do not count against users’ text plans, nor will they appear on their bills.
· WEAs are targeted to specific areas. Anyone roaming outside the target geographic area will not receive the message.
· Only WEA-capable devices can receive the alerts. Verizon Wireless currently offers 13 such devices, which are marked with a special logo both in stores and online.
· Users with SMS or text blocks on their accounts will still receive these alerts because they are delivered differently than regular texts.· There are three types of WEAs: Imminent Danger Alerts about weather events and threat levels, Amber Alerts related to missing children and Presidential Alerts pertaining to national authority concerns. Mobile phone users may opt out of Imminent Danger and Amber Alerts, but cannot opt out of Presidential Alerts, generally located under Settings.
—Renee Schiavone contributed to this report.