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Severe Weather Guide

Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio is a good way to receive the most up-to-date weather information, including watches and warnings. It provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information from local National Weather Service offices. Weather messages are repeated every 4 to 6 minutes and are routinely updated every 1 to 3 hours or more frequently in rapidly changing local weather or if a nearby hazardous environmental condition exists. Most stations operate 24 hours daily.

National Weather Service NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio receivers can be purchased at many retail stores that sell electronic merchandise, including stand-alone electronic retail outlets, electronics departments within department stores, and some drug stores. NOAA Weather Radio receivers can also be purchased through some mail order catalogs In addition, NOAA Weather Radio receivers are often sold in boat and marine accessory businesses since they are popular in the marine community. These are just some of the places that NOAA Weather Radio receivers can be purchased.

NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts National Weather Service (NWS) warnings, watches, forecasts, and other non-weather related hazard information 24 hours a day. During an emergency, NWS forecasters interrupt routine weather programming and send out a special tone that activates weather radios in the listening area. Weather radios equipped with a special alarm tone feature can sound an alert and give you immediate information about a life-threatening situation.

NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards - weather (such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods), natural (such as earthquakes, forest fires, and volcanic activity),technological (such as chemical releases, oil spills, nuclear power plant emergencies, etc.), and national emergencies. Working with other Federal agencies and the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Emergency Alert System (EAS), NOAA Weather Radio is an all-hazards radio network, making it the single source for the most comprehensive weather and emergency information available to the public.

Life-threatening weather emergency messages are alerted on NOAA Weather Radio. Many of those same weather-related emergency messages are also broadcast via the Emergency Alert System.

Non-Weather Related Emergency Messages

Local National Weather Service (NWS) offices alert and broadcast non-weather related emergency messages on NOAA Weather Radio provided to them directly by local and state government officicals. For non-weather emergencies, the system is activated by the NWS at the request of local and/or state officials. The NWS does not initiate the contact nor the message. When a non-weather emergency occurs, and local or state officials wish to broadcast a message about it on NOAA Weather Radio, the officials provide text information about the hazard and the appropriate response directly to the local NWS offices to alert and broadcast the emergency message on NOAA Weather Radio. NWS offices have set up pre-arranged agreements to facilitate and speed the process, since minutes and seconds make a difference. In most areas, the local and/or state office of emergency management or preparedness (possibly civil defense, police or mayor/commissioner) is the agency responsible for establishing linkages necessary for dissemination on systems such as the Emergency Alert System and NOAA Weather Radio.