What is NOAA
Weather Radio is a service of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
of the United Stated Department of Commerce (DOC).
As the "Voices of the National Weather Service,"
it provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information
from local National Weather Service offices. Weather messages are
repeated every four to six minutes and are routinely updated every
one to three hours or more frequently in rapidly changing local
weather or if a nearby hazardous environmental condition exists.
Most stations operate 24 hours daily.
broadcasts are specifically tailored to weather information needs
of the people within the service area of the transmitter. For example,
in addition to general weather information, stations in coastal
areas provide information of interest to mariners and those in agricultural
areas provide information of interest to farmers. Other specialized
information, such as hydrological forecasts and climatological data
may be braodcast.
severe weather, National Weather Service forecasters can interrupt
the routine weather broadcasts and insert special warning messages
concerning imminent threats to life and property. The forecaster
can also add special signals to warnings that trigger "alerting"
features of specially equipped receivers. In the simplest case,
this signal activates audible or visual alarms, indicating that
an emergency condition exists within the broadcast areas of the
station being monitored and alerts the listener to turn up the volume
and stay tuned for more information. More sophisticated receivers
are automatically turned on and set to an audible volume when an
alert is received.
most sophisticated alerting system, Weather Radio Specific
Area Message Encoding (SAME), digital coding
is employed to activate only those special receivers programmed
for specific emergency conditions in a specific area, typically
a county. SAME can activate specially equipped radio and cable television
receivers and provide a short text message that identifies the location
and type of emergency. SAME will be the primary activator for the
new Emergency Alert System planned by the Federal Communication
a January 1975 White House policy statement, NOAA Weather Radio
was designated the sole Government-operated radio system to provide
direct warnings into private homes for both natural disasters and
nuclear attack. This concept is being expanded to include warnings
for all hazardous conditions that pose a threat to life and safety,
both at a local and national level.
Weather Radio currenly broadcasts from 400 FM transmitters on seven
frequencies in the VHF band., ranging from 162.400 to 162.550 Megahertz
(MHz) in fifty states, Puerto Rico, the VIrgin Islands, Guam, and
Saipan. Thses frequencies are outside the normal AM or FM broadcast
radios that receive only NOAA Weather Radio, both with and without
special alerting features, are available from several manufacturers.
In addition, other manufacturers are including NOAA Weather Radio
as special features on an increasing variety of receivers. NOAA
Weather Radio capability is currently available on some automobile,
aircraft, marine, citizens band, and standard AM/FM radios as well
as communications receivers, transceivers, scanners, and cable TV.
and by design, NOAA Weather Radio coverage is limited to an area
within 40 miles of the transmitter. The quality of what is heard
is dictated by the distance from the transmitter, local terrain,
and the quality and location of the receiver. In general, those
on flat terrain or at sea, using a high quality receiver, can expect
reliable reception far beyond 40 miles. Those living in cities surrounded
by large buildings and those in mountain valleys with standard receivers
may experience little or no reception at considerably less than
40 miles. If possible, a receiver should be tested in the location
where it will be used prior to purchase.
Weather Radio is directly available to approximately 70 to 80 percent
of the U.S. population. The National Weather Service is currenly
engaged in a program to increse coverage to 95 percent of the population.
have a question regarding technical aspects of NOAA Weather Radio
(such as reception and transmitter characteristics of a station)
of are interested in becoming a partner with the National Weather
Service in identifying or providing local funding and facilities
for the installation of a Weather Radio transmitter, please contact
your nearest National Weather Service office or the National Weather
Service, Dissemination Systems Section (Attn:W/OSO153), 1325 East-West
Highway, Silver Springs, MD 20910.
have a question regarding the weather information broadcast over
NOAA Weather Radio, please contact the local National Weather Service
office that does the programming for the station or the National
Weather Service, Warning and Forecast Branch (Attn:W/OM11),1325
East-West Highway, Silver Springs, MD 20910.