US Replaces Color-Coded Terror Alert System
New warnings will be specific and have exipiration dates
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2011 2:23 PM CDT
A file photo of the old system.   (AP Photo/Joe Marquette, File)

(Newser) – The nation's color-coded terror alert system will be gone next week. In its place will be what Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano describes as a more efficient system that will issue specific alerts with expiration dates, reports the Wall Street Journal. DHS will issue the alerts via public announcements and social media. Threats will fall under two broad categories: "elevated," meaning a credible threat exists, and "imminent," meaning the threat is "credible, specific, and impending," explains Bloomberg.

The old system "has faded in utility, except for late-night comics," said Napolitano. Generally, only two of the five colors were used, yellow for "elevated" and orange for "high." It got to red ("severe") once, and the two lowest colors of green and blue were never used. The website for the new National Terrorism Advisory System is here.