lucy24 - 9:31 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)
Prior to this, what other ways were there to communicate such alerts?
By telephone, of course. The kind that is now called a "land line". My town uses them for tsunami alerts. Preferably at 5AM, so you've got a choice between dragging yourself out of bed or trying to sleep through the answering machine's every-15-second beeps for the next several hours.