NOAA Weather Radios save lives

NOAA Weather Radio

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When severe, life-threatening weather approaches – including tornadoes – the best way for people to get real-time information is directly from the National Weather Service. You can get NWS information and warnings with a NOAA Weather Radio.

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. Official NWS warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information is broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

These radios are essential for homes, schools and businesses. During an emergency, the NWS will interrupt routine weather radio programming and broadcast a special tone that activates weather radios by the county where severe weather is expected or is happening. NOAA Weather Radios are mostly used for severe weather alerts, but they also can be used by authorities to issue warnings about other types of hazards, such as chemical spills or biological hazards.

It’s important to choose a weather radio with SAME alerts. This is technology that allows you to program your radio to sound warnings for specific counties. (Visit the NWS website for programming codes for your area.)

Those who are hearing and visually impaired can get these warnings by connecting weather radios to other attention-getting devices such as strobe lights, bed-shakers, personal computers and text printers. A special needs NOAA Weather Radio also is available. The special-needs NOAA Weather Radio can warn deaf and hard-of-hearing persons of hazardous conditions, giving them around-the-clock, up-to-the-minute weather information.

NOAA Weather Radios with SAME alerts are available at electronics and sporting goods stores, discount and department stores, and online. They come in battery-powered and hand-crank models, and many have AM/FM bands so you can hear information from local radio stations, too.

“The best and fastest way to get a tornado warning is by NOAA Weather Radio,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “With a weather radio, you get weather data directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. When a tornado warning is issued, the weather radio sounds an alarm followed by information on where the storm is, which way it’s moving, and telling people in its path to take cover. This radio could be a lifesaver.”

For more on NOAA Weather Radios, see http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/