NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts National Weather Service watches, warnings, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day.

"NOAA Weather Radios are as crucial to family safety as smoke detectors or alarm systems," said Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security. “These life-saving devices alert you immediately with severe weather or emergency information, when minutes or even seconds count, day or night. This early warning can be the difference between life and death.”

The receivers come in many sizes and have a variety of different features. Some weather radios are equipped with a special tone feature, which can sound an alert and give households immediate information about potentially life threatening situations. During an emergency, the National Weather Service will interrupt routine weather radio programming and send out a special tone that activates weather radios in the warning area.

A good receiver should be able to operate on batteries if the power goes out. Look for radios with an AC adapter and battery compartment. It also is recommended that you select a model with a Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME) receiver that can be set up to only sound for a single county. That way, you will hear the tone only when severe weather is headed directly for where you live.

In Georgia, there are 29 transmitters broadcasting throughout the state. Seven frequencies are reserved for NOAA Weather Radio on the public service band. These frequencies range between 162.400 megahertz and 162.550 megahertz. Broadcast range is approximately 40 miles, but the effective range depends on terrain, quality of the receiver and indoor/outdoor antennas.

Today, approximately 98 percent of Georgia's population lives within range of a NOAA Weather Radio transmitter. This figure represents a 58 percent increase from ten years ago.

"Signal reception is almost 100 percent statewide, so if you don't have a weather radio in your home, buy one and program it correctly," urged English. “Get the entire family involved in the process so everyone knows what to listen for and how to react.”

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