NOAA Weather Radio Basics

April 7, 2013, by Ken Jorgustin

NOAA Weather Radio Basics

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is an ‘all-hazards’ public warning system. The broadcasts included local weather, weather watches and warnings, and other emergency information. NWR broadcasts all across the country, 24 hours a day, and is updated about every 5 minutes.

There are more than 1,000 NWR transmitters which cover most of the populated regions of the United States. Each transmitting station has a range of about 40 miles, and broadcast on one of seven weather radio frequencies (channels).

 
When there is an emergency, the National Weather Service will broadcast an emergency message, which is typically triggered in most weather radios by a unique tone followed by the broadcast (like a severe thunderstorm warning, tornado, etc.)

Weather radios now include a technology that allows the user to hear only emergency messages that are in their own local area or county. It is named ‘Specific Area Messaging Encoding’ or ‘SAME’. The technology also includes the specific types of warnings so that you can choose which specific messages will ‘alert’ on your radio (assuming that your weather radio is equipped with ‘SAME’ technology and the ability to select warning types).

The National Weather Service also will broadcast messages from the Emergency Alert System (EAS) which is purposed for official emergency information to the general public which goes beyond just weather related events.

Having a weather radio with the latest technology will provide some peace-of-mind knowing that you will be notified if there are weather related (or many non-weather related) threats to your local region. It will give you time to take action, which could even save your life.

In the opinion of this author as of this article date, there are three predominant weather radios that are the best, most popular, and include the latest technology that the weather service has to offer. They are as follows…

SANGEAN CL-100

MIDLAND WR-120

MIDLAND WR300

 

List of NWR Weather Related Event Alerts

Blizzard Warning
Coastal Flood Watch
Coastal Flood Warning
Dust Storm Warning
Flash Flood Watch
Flash Flood Warning
Flash Flood Statement
Flood Watch
Flood Warning
Flood Statement
High Wind Watch
High Wind Warning
Hurricane Watch
Hurricane Warning
Hurricane Statement
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Severe Weather Statement
Special Marine Warning
Special Weather Statement
Tornado Watch
Tornado Warning
Tropical Storm Watch
Tropical Storm Warning
Tsunami Watch
Tsunami Warning
Winter Storm Watch
Winter Storm Warning

 

List of NWR non-Weather Related Event Alerts

Avalanche Watch
Avalanche Warning
Child Abduction Emergency
Civil Danger Warning
Civil Emergency Message
Earthquake Warning
Evacuation Immediate
Fire Warning
Hazardous Materials Warning
Law Enforcement Warning
Local Area Emergency
911 Telephone Outage Emergency
Nuclear Power Plant Warning
Radiological Hazard Warning
Shelter in Place Warning
Volcano Warning

 

Weather Radio Broadcast Frequencies

162.4 MHz
162.425 MHz
162.45 MHz
162.475 MHz
162.5 MHz
162.525 MHz
162.55 MHz

Useful Weather Radio Information

Nationwide NWR Station Listing Information and Broadcast Frequencies
NOAA WEATHER RADIO County by County SAME Codes
NOAA Weather Radio Coverage Maps