People use computers as much as they watch TV or the radio. In some cases you may miss a EAS signal. Users are required to poll weather sites in order to get updates. Many companies send out emails with severe weather alerts as a workaround for this.
Perhaps this should be generalized into a desktop alert system. Perhaps companies/schools etc could use this to notify users of any alert condition. A modern "wall"? Alerts are a great alternative to email, especially for IT departments to communicate mass outages to staff when an IT system has gone down. Email is an inefficient means of communication for situations such as this as the messaging isn't read in real time. Persistent desktop alerts that require acknowledgement/action from the end user are a good way of ensuring the message has been heard. With the advent of the mobilized workforce, alerts that can be sent to staff tablets and smartphones mean important information can very quickly be distributed throughout the organization. Hospitals are a great example of a highly mobile workforce that don't spend a lot of time in front of a PC, but in most cases have a mobile device on them.