National Weather Service
Last Updated: August 19, 2021, 3:12 pmUS > National Weather Service
Updated in the last 7 days
Updated in the last 24 hrs
National Weather Service
|162.40000||B||CSQ||NWS 162.400||Weather Radio 162.400||FM||Other|
|162.42500||B||CSQ||NWS 162.425||Weather Radio 162.425||FM||Other|
|162.45000||B||CSQ||NWS 162.450||Weather Radio 162.450||FM||Other|
|162.47500||B||CSQ||NWS 162.475||Weather Radio 162.475||FM||Other|
|162.50000||B||CSQ||NWS 162.500||Weather Radio 162.500||FM||Other|
|162.52500||B||CSQ||NWS 162.525||Weather Radio 162.525||FM||Other|
|162.55000||B||CSQ||NWS 162.550||Weather Radio 162.550||FM||Other|
Here are some UHF frequencies that are allocated for use by the NOAA:
410.1000 - Weather Link
410.5750 - Weather Link
415.9000 - Weather Link
416.3750 - Weather Link
416.9750 - Weather Link
I have noted where I have heard the NOAA weather being linked to VHF transmitter sites.
So if you have trouble hearing the normal VHF NOAA Weather frequencies, give the UHF federal band a search!
Table of Contents - Click on section heading for detailed answers
What is NOAA Weather Radio?
NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from National Weather Service (NWS) offices across the country. The broadcasts include warnings, watches, forecasts, current weather observations, and other hazard information, 24 hours a day.
Working with the Federal Communications Commission's Emergency Alert System, 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. It broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards - both natural (such as tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis) and technological (such as chemical releases or oil spills). NOAA Weather Radio will also be used to broadcast AMBER alerts for missing children.
Known as the "Voice of the National Weather Service," the NOAA Weather Radio network has more than 750 transmitters, covering nearly 90% of the 50 states, along with the adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts in the VHF public service band (between 162.400 and 162.550 megahertz (MHz)) and hence you need a special radio receiver or scanner in order to pick up the signal.
Where are the NOAA Weather Radio stations in this area, and on what frequencies do they broadcast?
Our office broadcasts using eight transmitters, from: Philadelphia, Hibernia Park and Allentown in Pennsylvania; Atlantic City, Hardyston Township, and Howell in New Jersey; Lewes in Delaware; and Sudlersville in Maryland. There are other transmitters operated by neighboring NWS offices which some listeners may also be able to receive. These include: New York City and Beacon New York, Wilkes Barre and Harrisburg Pennsylvania; and Baltimore and Salisbury Maryland.
All NOAA Weather Radio stations broadcast on one of seven frequencies in the VHF Public Service band: 162.400 megahertz (MHz), 162.425 MHz, 162.450 MHz, 162.475 MHz, 162.500 MHz, 162.525 MHz, and 162.550 MHz. While some older Weather Radio receivers will only have three frequencies (162.400, 162.475 and 162.550), any receiver sold today should be able to pick up stations on any of the seven frequencies.
Click here for a map showing all the NOAA Weather Radio stations in the area, as well as the frequencies on which they transmit.
What is the typical broadcast range of a NOAA Weather Radio transmitter?
The normal broadcast range of a full-power transmitter (1000 watts) over level terrain is approximately 40 miles. The effective range depends on terrain, height and power of the transmitting antenna, quality of the receiver, and whether you use an indoor or outdoor antenna. Before you buy a Weather Radio receiver, make sure that your area is covered by one of the transmitters.
I will be traveling to another area in the United States. How can I check what the NOAA Weather Radio coverage is in that area?
The National Weather Service has maps of NOAA Weather Radio coverage by state, and listings of coverage by both state and county. There are also computer-projected signal reception maps for each transmitter. Go to:http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/listcov.htm
I will be traveling to Canada. Will my NOAA Weather Radio receiver work there?
Yes, it should. Canada has a Weatheradio network which broadcasts on the same frequencies that our U.S. Weather Radio stations do. The Canadian system uses concatenated English and French voices (where words and phrases spoken by an actual person are spliced together). For a listing of Canadian Weatheradio stations and broadcast frequencies, go to:https://www.msc.ec.gc.ca/msb/weatheradio/
Where can I purchase a NOAA Weather Radio receiver?
NOAA Weather Radio receivers come in a variety of sizes, styles and prices. They can be found in many electronics stores, or purchased directly from radio manufacturers and outlets found on the Internet.
How much does a NOAA Weather Radio receiver cost?
NOAA Weather Radios range in cost from $25 up to $100 or more, depending on the quality of the receiver and the number of features it has.
What types of NOAA Weather Radio receivers are available?
NOAA Weather Radio receivers come in many sizes and with a variety of functions. Many radios can receive an alarm tone, triggered when the NWS issues severe weather announcements or emergency information. Most NOAA Weather Radio receivers are either battery-operated portables or AC-powered desktop models with battery backup, so they can be used in many different situations. Some CB radios, scanners, short wave and AM/FM radios are also capable of receiving Weather Radio broadcasts.
What features should I look for in a NOAA Weather Radio receiver?
There are several features to look for in a NOAA Weather Radio. The most desirable feature is an alarm tone. This allows you to have the radio turned on but silent, listening for a special tone that is broadcast before watch and warning messages. During an emergency, National Weather Service forecasters will interrupt routine weather radio programming and send out special tones that activates the Weather Radios in the listening area.
The latest generation of Weather Radio receiver allows you to pre-select the National Weather Service alerts you want to receive according to local geographic areas (counties, or in some cases, portions of counties). Look for receivers with the SAME feature (Specific Area Message Encoding). Such a receiver is capable of turning itself on from a silent mode when the digital code for the pre-selected geographic area is broadcast. The SAME tones, as they are called, are sent before most short-fused weather warnings, and some watches.
In addition, a good receiver should be able to operate on batteries during times when electrical services may be interrupted. Look for radios with an AC adapter and battery compartment. The radio should be tunable or switchable to all seven Weather Radio frequencies. Some older models receive only three frequencies which will not work in all locations.
Can I receive NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts in my vehicle?
Several automobile manufacturers (e.g., BMW, Mercedes, Range Rover and Saab) equip their cars with radios capable of receiving Weather Radio broadcasts. Several manufacturers of car radios (e.g., Audiovox, Clarion, and Panasonic) sell in-dash units capable of receiving them. Manufacturers of citizen band radios with Weather Radio channels include Cobra, Maxon, Midland, Radio Shack and Uniden.
For those of you with just a regular AM/FM radio in your car, the State of New Jersey rebroadcasts NOAA Weather Radio on their Highway Advisory radio stations when there are no other highway or traffic problems to broadcast. There are 24 such low-power transmitters across the state. They are:
New Jersey Turnpike Authority, near the following exits
Exit 1 - Carneys Point - 1610 kHz AM
Exit 3 - Bellmawr - 1610 kHz AM
Exit 5 - Mount Laurel - 1610 kHz AM
Exit 7 - Bordentown - 1610 kHz AM
Exit 8 - Jamesburg - 1610 kHz AM
Exit 11 - Woodbridge - 1610 kHz AM
Exit 13A - Elizabeth - 1610 kHz AM
Exit 14B - Jersey City - 590 kHz AM
Exit 16W - North Arlington - 1610 kHz AM
Exit 18W - Fort Lee - 590 kHz AM
New Jersey Department of Transportation
Parsippany - I-80 at I-287 - 530 kHz AM
Paramus - NJ-4 at NJ-17 - 530 kHz AM
Elmwood Park - I-80 at NJ-17 - 530 kHz AM
Totowa - I-80 at US-46 and NJ-23 - 530 kHz AM
Parsippany - I-80 at I-280 - 530 kHz AM
Allamuchy - I-80 at Allamuchy - 530 kHz AM
Edison - US-1 at I-287 - 1340 kHz AM
Lawrence - US-1 at I-295 - 1380 kHz AM
Carneys Point - I-295 near Delaware - 830 kHz AM
Garden State Parkway
Exit 98 - Hamilton - 1610 kHz AM
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Newark Airport - 530 kHz AM
Union Beach, Sandy Hook
Union Beach - NJ-36 and Sandy Hook - 1610 kHz AM
Atlantic City Convention Center and Visitor’s Authority
Pleasantville - ACE Toll Plaza - 1610 kHz AM
Delaware Department of Transportation
Wilmington, DE - Near Delaware Memorial Bridge - 1380 kHz AM
Other states, such as Pennsylvania and New York, often rebroadcast NOAA Weather Radio at Interstate rest areas.
Can I receive NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts on the Internet?
There are a limited number of NOAA Weather Radio products available from our web site. Click here to view the available products or here for the national listing.
Can I pick up NOAA Weather Radio on my Marine Radio?
Yes, if your marine radio has the WX (or Weather) channels. They correspond to the Weather Radio frequencies as follows:
WX1 - 162.550 MHz
WX2 - 162.400 MHz
WX3 - 162.475 MHz
WX4 - 162.425 MHz
WX5 - 162.450 MHz
WX6 - 162.500 MHz
WX7 - 162.525 MHz
For more information on National Weather Service Marine product dissemination, go to: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/wxradio.htm.
Are there special receivers for the hearing or visually impaired?
The hearing and visually impaired can also receive warning alarms by connecting a specially-designed weather radio to other kinds of attention-getting devices like strobe lights, bed-shakers, personal computers and text printers. Many pager companies now offer alerting pagers that provide the latest weather information.
For more information on Special Needs Weather Radio receivers, go to:https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/NWR/ , or to:http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/special_need.htm .
Why does the quality of the signal vary so much from place to place or over time?
While the typical range for Weather Radio reception is about 40 miles from the transmitter, as with many VHF broadcasts, reception can vary depending on atmospheric conditions. The variation is more noticeable near the fringe of the transmitter’s coverage area.
Many other things can affect reception. Large bodies of salt water tend to greatly increase range. Forests, deserts, and hills/mountains tend to greatly reduce reception. Reception in cities may be reduced due to steel and concrete, while higher elevations will enhance the signal. Reception can vary from room to room. Mineral deposits in the ground can affect your radio signal. Moving even a few feet can change a weak signal to a strong one.
It may help to be near a window facing the direction of the station, away from other electronic equipment, and on an upper level of a house or office building. You may need to get a receiver with a good quality internal antenna, or connect your receiver to an external antenna.
Generally, the least expensive Weather Radio models are the ones most susceptible to reception problems. Many models will have a connection for an external antenna. You can buy an external antenna from an electronics store, or make your own. You can also tap into your regular outside or inside TV antenna.
I live in an area where I can’t receive NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts. Is there another system in place for me to get forecasts and warnings directly form the National Weather Service?
The National Weather Service works in partnership with media outlets across the country to get the most current and accurate weather information to the public. Tune in to your local radio and television stations for the latest weather forecasts, watches and warnings. NWS products and services are also available on the Internet at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov. Delivery of data across the Internet, however, cannot be guaranteed because of potential interruption of service.
Another low-cost method for receiving National Weather Service's (NWS) essential information is now available on a wireless data system. Called the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network, or EMWIN, this system presents the information directly on your home or office computer in a user-friendly graphics display. Simple mouse clicks immediately retrieve the latest weather and hydrologic warnings, watches, forecasts, statements, observations and other data in text format, along with a sub-set of weather graphics including the national radar summary and some satellite imagery. In all, over 6500 products are available. Users may set various alarms to be alerted to particular information, either for their local area or from adjacent areas.
The EMWIN weather information is free; the only cost is for the receiving equipment and inexpensive commercial software. This digital datastream is available nationwide directly from several satellites and, in an increasing number of locations, in an easier and less costly manner using local radio rebroadcasts and other techniques. This approach provides the necessary redundancy for reliable data reception by a wide variety of users.
EMWIN was designed to be a low-speed (currently 1200 bits per second, but expected to increase), low-cost alternative for emergency management officials and others that have no access to weather data or have few resources to afford such data. Even at this current low speed, over 5000 pages of information can be received each day. It was not designed, however, to replicate such other existing weather dissemination systems as NOAA Weather Radio. For more information about EMWIN, go to:https://www.weather.gov/emwin/index.htm
How can I help my community receive NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts?
The goal of the National Weather Service and emergency preparedness agencies is to expand the reach of weather radio broadcasts to cover 95 percent of the U.S. population. Innovative partnerships between the NWS, private industry, and state and local governments are fueling this expansion. You can help foster such partnerships in your community. For more information concerning developing a partnership with the NWS, contact our office at 609-261-6615 between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM weekdays, or e-mail [email protected]
I live west (or south) of Philadelphia and can no longer receive the signal from the Philadelphia transmitter. What happened, and are you planning to do anything to fix it?
In April 2002 a Weather Radio station was installed on the upper Eastern Shore of Maryland near Sudlersville. That station reaches nearly all of the upper Delmarva peninsula, and even into southern Chester County Pennsylvania and portions of Salem and Cumberland Counties New Jersey.
In 2005 a new low-power transmitter was installed in Hibernia Park, PA, western Chester County, which covers the rest of the area no longer served adequately by the Philadelphia station.
Are the people who read the forecasts real or not?
Most of the voices you hear are computer generated. The male voice that reads most of the public forecasts and observations on our transmitters is called “Tom”, while the female voice that reads the marine forecasts is called “Donna”. The initial computerized voice that is still heard giving the time announcement is called “Paul”. Real human voices are only heard sparingly.
“Paul” is based on the DECTalk system, initially developed by (then) Digital Equipment Corporation in the 1980s. He is completely synthesized, meaning that the computer algorithms produce all the sounds from scratch and put them together to form the words and phrases you hear. Any particular word will sound the same every time it is pronounced, no matter what the context.
“Tom” and “Donna” are newer voices, based on the Speechworks product Speechify. They are examples of concatenated-synthesized speech, where recordings of actual voices are parsed into the parts of syllables (diphones), then put back together using computer algorithms to sound more life-like than a purely synthesized voice like Paul. They also try and pronounce words according to context (i.e., where they are placed in the sentence), to give the broadcasts a more true-to-life sound. Unfortunately, our forecasts are not always written in complete sentences, which can confuse the algorithms that drive the voices and result in less than perfect intonations.
Why don’t you use real people all the time?
There are two main reasons why “real” voices aren’t heard all the time.
The first reason is to speed delivery of short-fused warnings over the radio. Manually recording warnings require a number of steps to ensure that the proper counties will be toned and that the proper valid time is encoded. The whole process takes minutes from when a warning is issued to when it is broadcast. Automated recordings reduce that time to seconds, which could mean the difference between life and death if you are in the path of an oncoming severe thunderstorm or tornado.
The second reason is that our office has eight separate NOAA Weather Radio transmitters, each with its own specific broadcast suite. Years ago, when our office only broadcast on one transmitter, it wasn’t that difficult to keep it updated manually. It would be virtually impossible to do that with eight transmitters, as our staffing levels have fallen. We typically have only two or three meteorologists working at any given time.
What happened to the other male computer voice that you used to broadcast?
The initial computerized voice we began using in 1999 (aka “Paul”, with the Scandinavian accent), was not received warmly by many NOAA Weather Radio listeners nationwide. The voice was not easy to understand when you first heard it. That was a problem for those who just used their Weather Radio to receive warnings. Critical warning information (e,.g., where and/or when) could be missed if the radio voice was not immediately understandable.
So, in the fall of 2000, the National Weather Service embarked on a program to improve the computerized voice of NOAA Weather Radio. Two new voices from Speechworks (“Tom” and “Donna”) were selected in August 2001. Our office was the first in the country to broadcast the new voices in January 2002. By late summer 2002, Tom and Donna were being used by most offices nationwide.
Although a few of our listeners came to enjoy “Paul”, most seem to prefer “Tom” and “Donna”, so “Paul” has been phased out. Because of the way our NOAA Weather Radio system is configured, “Paul” can still be heard giving the time announcement every ten minutes.
I’m not a fan of any of the computerized voices. Are there any improvements coming in the near future?
The whole computerized speech industry is “hot” right now, and there are many companies worldwide trying to advance the voices used in text-to-speech applications - such as those used with NOAA Weather Radio.
Speechworks has also developed a Spanish voice for NOAA Weather Radio, which has been used by some offices beginning in 2003 (but not here) where there is a significant Spanish-speaking population.
I heard a word (or phrase) that was mispronounced. Why can’t you fix it?
With eight different transmitters playing over hundreds of separate products each and every day, it’s not possible to continuously monitor all the broadcasts to ensure everything is being pronounced properly. We have gone through most of the words and place names that appear regularly, and have added pronunciations for the voices to use if the default pronunciation was inadequate.
Unfortunately, especially with “Tom” and “Donna”, the advanced algorithms will sometimes try to change the pronunciation of a word or phrase based on context, even if is has been entered manually in the system.
It’s also possible that a mispronounced word was misspelled in the text. The computer algorithms will just try and read the word the way it appears, with unexpected results.
However, we are always interested in feedback when you hear something that doesn’t sound right. You may either call our Public Service line at 609-261-6615 between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM weekdays and pass along the problem word to the person who answers the phone, or send an e-mail [email protected] Either way, please let us know which transmitter you were listening to, the approximate time you heard the problem word or phrase, which voice said it, and if possible, which product it was in (e.g., public forecast, winter storm warning, marine forecast, etc.).
My NOAA Weather Radio often alarms when you issue watches and warnings that are far from my area. What can I do about that?
With the addition of the Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, life-saving messages broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio can be targeted to a more specific area, like a county or portion of a county, to bring more hazard-specific information to the listening audience. While older models of weather radio receivers will continue to work, to take full advantage of the specific area warning technologies, you will need to get a state-of-the-art receiver with digital SAME capabilities for receiving geographically specific warnings.
What is SAME and how did it evolve?
A special feature of the NOAA Weather Radio system that evolved in the 1960's was the transmission of a single tone at 1050 Hz prior to the broadcast of any message about a life or property threatening event. This became known as the Warning Alarm Tone (WAT). Special receivers were made by several companies to remain electronically on and receiving the broadcast signal, but with the speaker muted. When this type of radio detected the WAT, it automatically turned on the speaker allowing the message to be heard without the need for the owner/user to do anything.
In the Spring of 1974, the largest recorded outbreak of tornadoes in the nation’s history occurred. Conclusions of a survey following the disaster recommended the expansion of the Weather Radio network and to designate it as the only Federally operated broadcast system to communicate life and property threatening information “directly” to the public. This system was also tasked to disseminate nuclear attack warnings and other national emergencies. Techniques were developed allowing warnings broadcast over the Weather Radio to be rebroadcast over commercial radio and television stations as part of the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS).
The analog WAT technology served the Weather Radio network well until the mid 1980s, when the rapid expansion of cable television and the automation of commercial radio and television began to isolate the public from local sources of warning information. Typically, the WAT was transmitted for any watch or warning over an area of approximately 5,000 square miles, or about seven to ten average-sized counties.
Therefore, the typical receiver in the service area of the station might be activated many times for events far from its location for every time it alarmed for an event in the immediate area. Without staff at media facilities to manually evaluate the need to rebroadcast a Weather Radio message using the EBS, automatic rebroadcasting of all messages preceded by just the WAT was unacceptable and impractical. Even if stations and others with that type of need were willing to allow for this type of automatic capture, assuming the events for activation were critical, there was no way for automated equipment at the station to know when the message was complete and restore it back to normal operation. There was also the perception by the general public with WAT decoding receivers that any message that set their radio off that did not apply to their geographical area was a “false alarm” regardless of whether the warning may have been valid for another area or county in the service area of the Weather Radio transmitter.
Starting in 1985, the NWS began experimenting with putting special digital codes at the beginning and end of any message concerning life or property threatening event. The intent was to ultimately transmit a code with the initial broadcast of all Weather Radio messages. This system evolved into what is known today as NOAA Weather Radio Specific Area Message Encoding (NWR SAME). The SAME was adopted by the NWS for national implementation in 1988. Full scale implementation was funded by the NWS in early 1996 when the SAME technique was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of its new Emergency Alert System (EAS) that replaced the EBS in January 1997. The NOAA Weather Radio was an officially designated source for EAS messages from the NWS.
The SAME process was originally achieved using an encoder panel consisting of a number of buttons representing the functions to be performed, types or content of messages, the affected areas, and valid time of the message. A microprocessor in the panel interpreted button active status and created the proper codes and places them at the beginning and end of each message. The panel was electronically connected to the various types of message programming and playback consoles used by the NWS to broadcast messages over the Weather Radio transmitters. In 1998, the NWS replaced all of its existing inventory of message recording and playback equipment with the Console Replacement System (CRS). The SAME coding process is an integrated part of CRS. The existing encoder panels are only used as emergency backup in CRS.
In light of the events of September 11, 2001, will NOAA Weather Radio warn me of terrorist attacks or other non-weather emergencies?
Yes, NOAA Weather Radio is considered an “All-Hazards” public warning system, and will alert the listening public to non-weather emergencies, but ONLY when requested by the appropriate state or local officials. These include technological accidents (e.g., chemical releases, oil spills, nuclear power plant emergencies), AMBER alerts (for abducted children), and terrorist attacks.
I just purchased a NOAA Weather Radio with the SAME feature. Where can I get the geographic code(s) I need to program my receiver?
For any of our eight transmitters, go to our Weather Radio map at:https://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/phi/wxradio/nwrphicoverage.htm and click the appropriate transmitter button (in red), to get a list of the all the county and independent city SAME codes that will be broadcast by that transmitter.
For other spots in the United States, you can either go to:https://www.itl.nisa.gov/fipspubs/co-codes/states.htm and select the appropriate state or you can call toll-free 1-888-NWR-SAME (1-888-697-7263) for a voice menu to get the SAME codes for any area in the country.
I live in one county and work in another (or I live near the county line). Can I program more than one geographic SAME code into my NOAA Weather Radio receiver?
Most new SAME-capable NOAA Weather Radio receivers allow for multiple SAME codes to be entered. If that’s important to you, make sure to check for that functionality in whatever brand of SAME-capable receiver you look at before you buy.
How can I test my SAME radio to make sure that it is programmed properly?
Every National Weather Service office schedules a weekly test for each of its Weather Radio transmitters. Our tests are normally done every Wednesday, between 11 AM and Noon local time. If there is severe weather occurring, or the threat of severe weather exists during the normal test time, the test is postponed until the next available good-weather day (between 11 AM and Noon).
I’m having trouble receiving the SAME tones. What can I do?
There are a few things you might try.
First, ensure that you have the proper SAME code entered into your radio, and that your county is in the broadcast area for the transmitter. Go to:
https://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/phi/wxradio/nwrphicoverage.htm and click the appropriate transmitter button (in red) for a listing of the counties in the broadcast area and their SAME codes.
Second, your radio may not be able to pick up the tones if the overall signal reception is poor. Try to position your radio where the signal appears the strongest. If the signal fades in and out over time, you might try connecting an external antenna to your receiver.
Third, if you purchased your radio locally, take it back to see if a knowledgeable person there can check the programming or has other suggestions.
Which watches and warnings are currently toned or alarmed?
Generally, only those watches and warnings associated with an immediate or short-fused event are toned and alarmed. That means that Winter Storm watches and warnings are NOT alarmed, except for Blizzard warnings and for those Winter Storm warnings when the lead time is very short. Normally, Winter Storm warnings are issued many hours before the precipitation begins, as opposed to Tornado or Flash Flood warnings, where the lead time may only be minutes.
The following products are broadcast with the 1050 Hz alarm and the SAME tones:
Blizzard Warning - BZW
Civil Emergency Message - CEM
Flash Flood Warning - FFW
Flash Flood Watch - FFA
High Wind Warning - HWW
Hurricane Warning - HUW
Hurricane Watch - HUA
River Flood Warning - FLW
Routine Weekly Test - RWT
Severe Weather Statement - SVS
Severe Thunderstorm Warning - SVR
Severe Thunderstorm Watch - SVA
Tornado Warning - TOR
Tornado Watch - TOA
Tsunami Warning - TSW
Tsunami Watch - TSA
The following products are broadcast with only the 1050 HZ alarm (but see below about future plans):
Coastal Flood Warning (only for immediate life-threatening situations)
Special Marine Warning
Which watches and warnings will be alarmed in the future?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in conjunction with the National Weather Service and other agencies, has proposed additional SAME event codes which are scheduled to take effect later in 2004. Some of the proposed new codes include:
Child Abduction Emergency - CAE
Coastal Flood Warning - CFW
Coastal Flood Watch - CFA
Special Marine Warning - SMW
Tropical Storm Warning - TRW
Tropical Storm Watch - TRA
In addition, new number codes will be added for coastal waters and the Great Lakes, so that mariners can specify just those areas for which they wish to receive Special Marine Warnings.
According to the FCC proposal, all new SAME radios manufactured after August 1, 2003 must be capable of receiving these new codes. At the present time, we are not sure how existing SAME radios will work with the new codes, but we will pass along any information as we receive it.
For more information on the SAME changes, go tohttp://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/NWS_EAS.shtm
What is your normal broadcast schedule?
Each of our eight transmitters has its own broadcast schedule. Go to our Weather Radio map at:https://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/phi/wxradio/nwrphicoverage.htm and click on a transmitter button (in red) to get the listening area and broadcast schedule. The broadcast schedule can also be heard during the full station ID, which normally plays at the top of every hour on all of our transmitters.
How often are the products updated?
The hourly weather observations are updated every hour between :10 and :15 after the hour.
The 7 day public forecast is normally prepared twice a day, at about 4 AM and 4 PM. However, the forecast is updated between the regularly scheduled times as needed, often in the late morning (9-11 AM) and evening (8-10 PM). The marine forecasts are issued four times a day, at about 4 AM, 10-11 AM, 3-4 PM, and 9-10 PM, but will also be updated between regular issuances if needed.
If a forecast starts out with: it was probably issued around:
TODAY 4 AM
THIS AFTERNOON 10 AM
TONIGHT 4 PM
OVERNIGHT 10 PM
The climate summaries (on those stations that play them), are issued twice a day, in the early morning and late afternoon.
All of the statements, watches, and warnings that play on the radio are issued on an as-needed basis. Statements concerning longer-term potential weather are often issued at about the same time as the public forecasts.
Why do the marine forecasts take so long to play?
Marine forecasts are issued for a stretch of coastline or bay. Sometimes, that forecast area is subdivided by the marine forecaster because the present or forecast wind, waves or weather varies across the area. This can make the marine broadcast twice or three times as long as it would be without the divisions. If the differences in the forecasts aren’t that significant, we will try to reassemble the text into a single forecast for broadcast, but when they are significant, we will usually leave them separated to keep the broadcast from becoming too complicated.
Why do the marine forecasts play so often?
On our three coastal Weather Radio stations (Atlantic City, Southard, and Lewes) the marine forecasts are scheduled to play every cycle, along with the short station ID, public forecast, current conditions, and any statements that might be in effect at the time. This is done because a larger portion of the listening audience is composed of mariners.
On our other (more inland) stations (Sudlersville, Philadelphia, Allentown, and Hardyston), the marine forecasts normally play every half hour, beginning at :15 and :45 after each hour. This is done to limit the amount of air time that the marine forecasts take up, while still making it relatively easy for those who want to hear them (they just need to tune in at :15 or :45 after the hour). Those who don’t want to hear the marine forecasts should try to listen at other times during the hour.
Note that if a short-fused warning (e.g., Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm) is issued, it will interrupt any message that is currently playing and be immediately broadcast.
Why is the full station ID so long?
The full station ID takes between two and three minutes to play around the top of every hour on our transmitters. It contains the station location, power, coverage area, and broadcast schedule, as well as contact information for our office. Much of that information is mandated by the Federal Communications Commission, while some of it is for the convenience of our listeners. The full station ID does not play during short-fused warnings (e.g., severe thunderstorm, tornado, or flash flood).
Why don’t you broadcast aviation forecasts?
NOAA Weather Radio was not set up to broadcast the specially encoded products which make up the aviation product suite. Aviation terminal, route, and area forecasts are available via a number of different outlets, including: telephone (1-800-WX-BRIEF); Internet (https://aviationweather.gov/); aviation radio (contact your local FAA Flight Service Station for the appropriate frequencies); and some private sector firms (for a fee).
What are degree days?
Degree days are a measure of the departure of the average daily temperature (high+low divided by 2) from a given standard or base. Heating or cooling degree days are generated when the average temperature for the day is below 65Ìï¿½ F (for heating) or above 65Ìï¿½ F (for cooling). For example, if the average temperature for the day was 70, there were 5 cooling degree days (70-65=5), but if the average temperature for the day was 50, there were 15 heating degree days (65-50=15).
Many heating oil companies schedule their automatic deliveries by monitoring heating degree days totals, as the rate of heating fuel consumption is related to the number of heating degree days. Likewise, in the summer, total air-conditioning use over a season is related to the number of cooling degree days.
Degree days are also used for agricultural purposes to monitor crop development and maturity, with what are called “growing degree days”. There are different growing degree day base temperatures for different crops. For example, a corn growing degree day is computed using a base temperature of 50Ìï¿½F, since little appreciable growth in corn is detected with temperatures lower than 50.
Degree days are accumulated over a “season” and the total used as an index to compare one year or season to another. The heating degree day “year” runs from July 1 through June 30, while for cooling and most growing degree days, the season starts on January 1.
What are the meteorological seasons, and how do they differ from “regular” winter, spring, summer, or autumn?
The astronomical seasons that people are most familiar with begin and end on the solstices and equinoxes (which normally occur around Mar 21, June 21, Sept 22, and Dec 22). But, since the dates of the solstices and equinoxes vary slightly from year to year (because the earth takes about 365 1/4 days to go around the sun), meteorologists use whole months to define the “meteorological” seasons. The three normally coldest months in the Northern Hemisphere are December, January, and February, and are called “meteorological winter”. The three normally warmest months are June, July, and August, and are called “meteorological summer”. “Meteorological spring” includes the months of March, April, and May, and “meteorological autumn” includes the months of September, October, and November.
What is Mean Lower Low Water?
Mean lower low water (abbreviated MLLW) is a tidal datum, or reference level against which the tide height is measured. It is the average of the lower of the two low water heights of each tidal (or lunar) day over a reference 19 year period. A 19 year period was chosen since it represents a full lunar cycle. Every 19 years, the moon, earth and sun are in essentially the same relative positions, and so, all the possible sun-earth-moon configurations should occur in a 19 year period.
What is an “astronomical tide”?
The astronomical tide represents the height of the tide due solely to the gravitational effects of the sun and moon, without any effects of wind, temperature, air pressure, ice cover, or other meteorological phenomena. The height of the astronomical tide (along with the times of high and low tides) is forecast for many locations along the coast, along with major bays and inlets and the tidal sections of large rivers. Click here for more information on area tide levels and forecasts.
What is the difference between a “mile per hour (MPH)” and a “knot”?
A mile per hour is a speed of 1 statute mile (5280 ft) per hour.
A knot is a speed of 1 nautical mile (roughly 6076 ft) per hour.
While MPH are generally used for wind speeds on land in public statements and forecasts, aviation and marine users normally refer to wind speeds in knots. To convert from knots to MPH, 1 knot = 1.15 MPH.
A nautical mile is approximately one minute of latitude (1/60th of a degree). Hence, one degree of latitude is approximately 60 nautical miles. Although the earth is not a perfect sphere, this conversion factor is close at most latitudes. Remember that the latitude lines run parallel to the equator, while the longitude lines run from pole to pole. A distance of one degree of longitude varies depending on the latitude, as longitude lines are much closer near the poles than they are near the equator.
There are many ways to contact us for more information.
National Weather Service
732 Woodlane Road
Mount Holly NJ 08060
609-261-6615 between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM weekdays (excluding federal holidays).
National Weather Service Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services
National Weather Service Public Affairs Office
National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center
State of New Jersey Department of Transportation
Glossary of Meteorology (2nd Ed), American Meteorological Society
Choosing NOAA Broadcast Frequencies
Weather alerts and weather channels are basic features that every two-way radio offers. These broadcasts can be lifesaving in serious weather conditions such as tornadoes. But many people don’t know how these stations work, or how important choosing NOAA broadcast frequencies are or how to find the right one. If you don’t know how to select the right frequency for your area, or how to use an emergency weather radio, then you came to the right place. Below, I’ll go over the frequencies available, how to choose the correct station for your area, and even how you can set your radio up to get the latest information and all of the important weather alerts and updates.
VHF Band Designated Radio Frequencies
On the VHF band that’s specifically designated for NOAA weather, there are a total of seven radio frequencies to choose from. Each of these frequencies are used by a network of transmitters that are located all over the country and designed to broadcast weather alerts, warnings and general information, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Some models of two-way radios may even come with a few additional channels to choose from. Two of these channels are for marine weather reports for Canada.
Below, you’ll find the list of NOAA frequencies:
There are no standard channels assigned for frequencies for a two-way radio. For example, the 162.400 weather frequency can be assigned to the first channel on one radio and assigned to channel number three on a different model. Most two-way radio manufacturers will assign the stations to a channel at their discretion. This can be a little confusing, however, the question concerning which frequency can be found on what channel is often easily resolved by looking at the radio’s user manual. Most manufacturers will print off a list of the channels to choose from, in addition to instructions that will discuss how to access them.
When it comes to picking a station, what matters the most is which frequency is the most relevant in your area.
You can do a little research by visiting the National Weather Service website. The NOAA Weather radio site features an extensive list of every frequency found in the country.
If you want to search for a transmitter that’s the most relevant, based on your location, you can go about this in a couple of different way. First, on the site, click on your state and find the name of a city that’s the closest to you. Write down the call sign, in addition to the corresponding frequency. Click on the call sign and it will direct you to another page that includes a geographical map that displays the frequency’s coverage and more details concerning the transmitter.
The other option is to go to the NWR transmitter site and enter the state, an area, or the name of the city, in the site’s search box, then click on the icon that’s displayed on a map for more information about the transmitter.
When you know the right frequency of the transmitter in your area, then all you have to do is locate the channel in your radio that’s programmed to that frequency, then activate it based on the instructions found in the user’s manual. That’s it.
Catching Important Weather Alerts
Having one of these radios in your workplace or home can save lives. These radios are designed to broadcast special weather reports that will alert people of inclement weather heading their way. Some models of weather radios can be set to silent but are designed to automatically turn on when certain warnings are broadcasted.
These days, you can’t really rely on TV programs to warn you of an incoming tornado if the power goes out. Most models of weather radios will come with a battery backup, so they’ll still work and can instantly alert you if inclement weather is detected.
Relying on one of these radios to keep you informed can potentially save your life. Weather radios are made to broadcast on certain frequencies in order to alert listeners to inclement weather and other types of natural disasters. The weather radio you buy can be set to silent until a warning of your choice occurs, at which point, it will alert you.
These weather broadcasts cannot be heard using your basic AM/FM radio receiver. Instead, you need to use a dedicated weather radio. A weather radio, one that’s highly adjustable can be used for all weather reports, or you can consult your user’s manual and learn how to adjust the settings so that you will only receive weather alerts and bulletins for your area.
If you’ve never used a weather radio before, then learning about the wide variety of emergency, advisory, and warning alerts can be confusing and even overwhelming, especially if you haven’t adjusted your radio to receive specific types of alerts. These radios are designed to alert you to natural disasters and severe weather warnings. While all alerts are very important and should be taken seriously, if they’re occurring hundreds of miles away from you, then receiving these alerts several times a week may make you stop taking notice once an important warning for your area is released. This is another reason why it’s crucial that you choose the correct frequency.
Below, I’ll go over some basic alerts you can expect, in order to help you choose the alerts you want to receive.
A watch alert is used for hazardous weather. This type of alert will inform you of a significant threat, but the details of the probability, location, and time of the occurrence are not certain. When a watch is issued, immediate action is not required, however, it is still important to be prepared. These alerts are often issued several hours before a serious weather event is expected. In some cases, the watch will be upgraded to a warning.
These alerts require you to take action and involve an event that poses serious risk. Warnings are used for events that are considered urgent.
This type of warning is reserved for less severe weather events, such as an ice storm or freezing rain. If you’re tuned to the right frequency in your area, then you’ll often receive this type of alert the most often. These alerts will come in handy if you live in a part of the country that’s prone to hail storms and snow.
These alerts are intended for events that can indirectly cause other types of hazards. As an example, there may be a power outage in your area.
When setting up your radio to locate the correct frequency for your area, you can also choose the types of alerts you want to receive, based on your location. This will help to cut down on the number of alerts you receive and instead, you will only receive the ones that can directly impact you and your family.
The frequency you choose will also depend on your radio’s broadcasting range.
For a 1000-watt full-power transmitter, the normal broadcasting range over a level terrain is about forty miles. The range will be very dependent on whether you use an outdoor or indoor antenna, the quality of the receiver, the transmitting antenna’s quality, the power and height of the antenna, and the terrain. Before your buy a receiver, make sure the area you live in is covered by one of the transmitters.
Marine Radio Use
You can also pick up NOAA weather radio on marine radios, as long as they have the weather channels.
When trying to use a weather radio station, many users will complain about the strength of a signal. While the range for a frequency is approximately forty miles, reception often varies depending on atmospheric conditions. Changes in signal strength are often more noticeable near the edges of a coverage area.
However, there are many things that can have a negative impact on reception, including deserts, forests, and large bodies of water. Additionally, mountains and hilly terrain can also reduce reception. Because of concrete and steel, reception strength in cities can also be affected. Low-priced weather radios tend to struggle more with reception issues, while higher-priced models often come equipped with an external antenna, which can significantly improve reception strength.
By fine-tuning your weather radio and adjusting the types of alerts you receive based on your location, you will be able to stay up to date with current weather conditions in your area, for a range of approximately forty miles. Choosing NOAA broadcast frequencies will depend on where you live. If you’ve recently purchased a weather radio, then consult the user’s manual for information regarding frequency options, or head to the NOAA website where you can search for the correct frequency for your area using a process that’s fast and easy. If you’re not sure you have coverage in your city, make sure you visit the site prior to purchasing a new radio.
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Uhf weather frequency
NOAA Weather Radio
24-hour network of VHF FM weather radio stations in the United States
NOAA Weather Radio (NWR; also known as NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards) is an automated 24-hour network of VHFFMweather radio stations in the United States (U.S.) that broadcast weather information directly from a nearby National Weather Service office. The routine programming cycle includes local or regional weather forecasts, synopsis, climate summaries or zone/lake/coastal waters forecasts (when applicable). During severe conditions the cycle is shortened into: hazardous weather outlooks, short-term forecasts, special weather statements or tropical weather summaries (the first two aren't normally broadcast in most offices). It occasionally broadcasts other non-weather related events such as national security statements, natural disaster information, environmental and public safety statements (such as an AMBER Alert), civil emergencies, fires, evacuation orders, and other hazards sourced from the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Emergency Alert System. NOAA Weather Radio uses automated broadcast technology (since 2016: Broadcast Message Handler) that allows (and frees NWS staff as well) for the recycling of segments featured in one broadcast cycle seamlessly into another and more regular updating of segments to each of the transmitters. It also speeds up the warning transmitting process.
Weather radios are widely sold online and in retail stores that specialize in consumer electronics in Canada and the U.S. Additionally, they are readily available in many supermarkets and drugstores in the southern and midwestern US, which are particularly susceptible to severe weather—large portions of these regions are commonly referred to as "Tornado Alley".
The U.S. Weather Bureau first began broadcasting marine weather information in Chicago and New York City on two VHF radio stations in 1960 as an experiment. Proving to be successful, the broadcasts expanded to serve the general public in coastal regions in the 1960s and early 1970s. By early 1970, ESSA listed 20 U.S. cities using 162.55 MHz and one using 163.275 "ESSA VHF Radio Weather." Later, the U.S. Weather Bureau adopted its current name, National Weather Service (NWS), and was operating 29 VHF-FM weather-radio transmitters under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which replaced ESSA in 1970. The service was designed with boaters, fishermen, travelers and more in mind, allowing listeners to quickly receive a "life-saving" weather bulletin from their local weather forecast office (WFO), along with routinely updated forecasts and other climatological data in a condensed format at any time of the day or night. The general public could have the latest weather updates when they needed them, and the benefit of more lead-time to prepare during severe conditions. In 1974, NOAA Weather Radio (NWR), as it was now called, reached about 44 percent of the U.S. population over 66 nationwide transmitters. NWR grew to over 300 stations by the late 1970s.
Local NWS staff were the voices heard on NWR stations from its inception until the late 1990s when "Paul" was introduced. The messages were recorded on tape, and later by digital means, then placed in the broadcast cycle. This technology limited the programming variability and locked it into a repetitive sequential order. It also slowed down the speed of warning messages when severe weather happened, because each NWS office could have up to eight transmitters. "Paul" was a computerized voice using the DECtalk text-to-speech system. "Paul's" voice was dissatisfactory and difficult to understand; thus "Craig", "Tom," "Donna" and later "Javier" were introduced in 2002 using the Speechify text-to-speech system from SpeechWorks (not to be confused with the iOS app of the same name). A completely new voice from the VoiceText text-to-speech system, also named “Paul”, was introduced in 2016 and implemented nationwide by late in the year. Live human voices are still used occasionally for weekly tests of the Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) and 1,050 Hz tone alerting systems, station IDs, and in the event of system failure or computer upgrades. They will also be used on some stations for updates on the time and radio frequency.
In the 1990s, the National Weather Service adopted plans to implement SAME technology nationwide; the roll-out moved slowly until 1995, when the U.S. government provided the budget needed to develop the SAME technology across the entire radio network. Nationwide implementation occurred in 1997 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the SAME standard as part of its new Emergency Alert System (EAS). NOAA Weather Radio's public alerting responsibilities expanded from hazardous weather-only events to "all hazards" being broadcast.
In the wake of the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, one of the key recommendations from the U.S. Weather Bureau's storm survey team, was the establishment of a nationwide radio network that could be used to broadcast weather warnings to the general public, hospitals, key institutions, news media, schools, and the public safety community. Starting in 1966, the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) started a nationwide program known as "ESSA VHF Weather Radio Network." In the early 1970s, this was changed to NOAA Weather Radio. The service was expanded to coastal locations during the 1970s in the wake of Hurricane Camille based upon recommendations made by the Department of Commerce after the storm in September 1969.
Since then, a proliferation of stations have been installed and activated to ensure near-complete geographical coverage and "weather-readiness", many of which have been funded by state emergency management agencies in cooperation with the NOAA to expand the network, or state public broadcasting networks. To avoid interference and allow for more specific area coverage, the number of frequencies in use by multiple stations grew to two with the addition of 162.400 MHz in 1970 followed by the third (162.475) in 1975 with the remaining four (162.425, 162.450, 162.500 & 162.525) coming into use by 1981.
In the 1950s, the Weather Bureau started with KWO35 in New York City and later added KWO39 in Chicago. By 1965 it had added KID77 in Kansas City, home to the Severe Local Storms Center, as the third continuous VHF radio transmitter with the fourth, KBA99 in Honolulu, operating by January 1967.
Denver became the 60th NWR station in September 1972 and by December 1976 there were roughly 100 stations transmitting on three channels in December 1976. Growth accelerated in the mid-1970s with NWR reaching 200 radio stations in May 1978 with WXK49 in Memphis, Tennessee; 300 in September 1979 with WXL45 in Columbia, Missouri; and by 1988, the NWS operated about 380 stations covering approximately 90 percent of the nation's population. This grew to over 500 radio stations by May 1999, and over 800 by the end of 2001. As of January 2020, there were about 1,032 stations in operation in fifty states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and Saipan, with over 95% effective coverage.
The NOAA Weather Radio network is provided as a public service by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA also provides secondary weather information, usually limited to marine storm warnings for sea vessels navigating the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, to HF band "time stations" WWV and WWVH. These shortwave radio stations continuously broadcast time signals and disseminate the "official" U.S. Government time, and are operated by the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The radio service transmits weather and marine forecasts (where applicable) and other related information, without any interruptions. In addition, NWR works in cooperation with the FCC's Emergency Alert System (EAS), providing comprehensive severe weather alerts and civil emergency information. In conjunction with federal, state and local emergency managers and other public officials, NWR has the ability to broadcast alerts and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), human-made (such as chemical releases or oil spills), technological (such as nuclear power plant emergencies) and other public safety (such as "AMBER alerts" or 9-1-1 telephone outages). Listening to a NOAA Weather Radio station requires a specialized VHF radio receiver or scanner capable of receiving at least one of seven specific VHF-FM channels within the frequency range of 162.400 through 162.550 MHz, collectively known as the "Weather Band". For example, a receiver that only tunes in standard AM or FM broadcast stations will not suffice.
Main article: Emergency Alert System
Many cable television systems and some commercial television stations will, during EAS activation, rebroadcast the audio of a warning message first heard on their local NWR station, to alert viewers of a severe weather event or civil emergency, usually with the issuance of a tornado warning or tornado emergency, especially in tornado-prone areas of the country.
Local NOAA offices update the broadcast content on a regular basis, according to the following schedule:
Updates are typically recorded once per hour, and are broadcast at 5 or 10, and at 15 minutes past the hour. A complete detail of current weather conditions (current sky condition, temperature, dew point, humidity, wind speed/direction and barometric pressure) for the main reporting station in the station's city of license.
|01:00-12:00||Area climate summary played in 15-minute intervals during this period|
|04:30||Regional forecast updated|
|05:00–07:00||Regional Weather Synopsis updated at least once during this period.|
|07:00||Hazardous weather outlook and call for action for NWS-trained SKYWARN volunteer weather spotters (if warranted).|
|07:00||Regional climate summary is recorded sometime between 18:00 the previous night and 07:00 each day.|
|10:30||Regional forecast updated|
|12:00||Hazardous weather outlook and call for action for NWS-trained SKYWARN volunteer weather spotters (if warranted).|
|13:00–15:00||3- to 5-day extended forecast, updated twice a day during this period.|
|15:30||Regional forecast updated|
|16:00–22:00||Regional Weather Synopsis updated at least once during this period.|
|17:00–21:00||Area climate summary is played in 15-minute intervals during specific days of the week.|
|20:30||Regional forecast updated|
Main article: NOAA Weather Radio broadcast routine
NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards has a multi-tier concept for forecasting or alerting the public to all types of weather. Actual forecasts vary by the area that the transmitter serves. During severe weather situations, Watch Information Statements for government-designated jurisdictions served by the local NWR station are typically inserted within the station's normal playlist of routine products; a special severe weather playlist temporarily suspends most regularly scheduled routine products in the event National Weather Service-issued warnings (mainly severe thunderstorm, tornado or flash flood warnings) are in effect for the station's broadcast area, which solely incorporate watch, warning and Special Weather Statements, and any active Short-Term Forecasts and Hazardous Weather Outlooks.
NOAA Weather Radio is a continuous spoken weather service meaning people can quickly switch on for the latest weather information before switching back to whichever station they are listening to.
|Hourly Weather Roundup||:05/:10/:15 past the hour||A one-minute segment detailing the current weather conditions for the station's region (consisting of current sky condition, temperature, dew point, humidity, wind speed/direction and barometric pressure), current observations within 50–75 miles, then current observations within 250 miles of WFO area of responsibility, and finally the main reporting station's current conditions being repeated once again.|
If no report is available from the main reporting station, the report of the closest observation site will be substituted. In some locales, if a regularly-reported station has no available report, the message "the report from TSA was not available" will be broadcast. The regional portion may be condensed to a roundup format if the temperatures are within a 5 °F range or if sky conditions are the same or differ limitedly at each given reporting site.
Occasionally, due to technical or other problems, the previous hour's observations segment may be included in the product playlist as long as 15 minutes into the next hour, after which it is removed until updated information is available.
|Hazardous Weather Outlook||7:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. (if needed)||This segment overviews the information about potential thunderstorm activity (including any areas forecast to be under threat of severe thunderstorms), heavy rain or flooding, winter weather, wildfire, extremes of heat or cold, or other conditions that may pose a hazard or threat to travel, life or property over the next seven days. Occasionally, a NWS WFO may update the Hazardous Weather Outlook while an event is ongoing or if forecast models denote changes from previous forecasts. Depending on the NWS office, it may either state all weather hazards from Day 1–7 or Day 1 separately from Day 2–7.|
|Regional Weather Synopsis/Summary||Every 5–6 hours (starting from 3:00 or 5:00 a.m. depending on the station)||A report that provides a brief overview of weather events from the previous or current day within the region, followed by an outlook of expected weather from the current time to the next few days.|
|Regional Climate Summary||Every 15 minutes (overnights, mornings and evenings)||A summary includes information on the minimum and maximum temperatures recorded the previous day; 30-year temperature averages and historical temperature extremes. It also includes wind speed data, sky cover data, historical humidity extremes, humidity averages, the day's recorded weather conditions and heating with(out) cooling degree day data. Depending on the areas, the sunrise and sunset times for the next two days are stated within the summary or as a separate report.|
Some stations broadcast this first report as early as 1:00 a.m. and the last report as late as 12:00 p.m.
|Regional Forecast||4:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. (more if needed)||A report that provides the forecasts for the next seven days for all the counties across the station's coverage area. In case the time for the updates on another segment has not come yet, this forecast will typically be broadcast on a looped format.|
|Short Term Forecast||Randomized times||A localized, event-driven report used to provide the public with detailed weather information during significant or rapidly changing weather conditions during the next 3–6 hours. This forecast will often mention the position of precipitation as detected by radar. In most areas, this forecast product is not included during routine programming, but will be included when severe weather threatens the listening area.|
|Special Weather Statement||A regional event-driven report using to provide the public with details of the upcoming significant weather event, such as a major winter storm, a heat wave, or potential flooding. A significant weather advisory may be issued within a Special Weather Statement, often if thunderstorm activity whether severe or not is occurring in, or approaching an area.|
|Record Information Announcement||A segment providing newly set records for coldest/warmest maximum or minimum temperature and maximum precipitation.|
|Zone Forecast||Depending on the office||A text forecast for local beaches issued by coastal stations, including coastal hazard information such as that pertaining to rip currents. In more coastal offices, this forecast is scheduled to play every cycle, compared to every half hour in more inland offices.|
|River Forecast||If needed||This forecast is only broadcast if there is a potential for flooding or it is occurring, which would then be included with the hazardous weather outlook. Daily river forecasts are issued by the 13 river forecast centers using hydrologic models based on variables such as rainfall, soil characteristics and precipitation forecasts. Some forecasts, especially those in mountainous regions, also provide seasonal snow pack and peak flow forecasts. A separate forecast, River and Small Stream Observations, is broadcast in areas in and outside the 13 river forecast centers and is only broadcast following a significant hydrological event featuring information on crests, and present and forecasted flood stages.|
|Lake Forecast||A forecast that is issued by most stations in the Great Lakes region to explicitly state expected weather conditions within the marine forecast area through the next five days. The report addresses expected wave heights and small-craft advisories currently in effect.|
|Coastal Waters Forecast||A forecast stating expected weather conditions and wave heights within the marine forecast area through the next five days.|
|Tropical Weather Summary||Every three hours (only if needed)||An event-driven report provides an information summary on any active tropical cyclones. Activity summaries for the Atlantic Basin are typically included with stations located in states near the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, while stations along the West Coast receive summaries concerning the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the station and associated Weather Forecast Office, listeners can hear this report every half hour.|
These are additional products that are included in the broadcast cycle occasionally (but are broadcast at randomized times, depending on the individual transmitter[s]):
- Air Quality Index Statement
- Agricultural Forecast
- Area Forecast Discussion
- Area Weather Update
- Daily/Monthly Hydrometeorological Products
- Heat Index Forecast
- High Seas Forecast
- Hydro-Met Data Report
- Miscellaneous Hydrologic Data
- Miscellaneous Local Product
- Miscellaneous River Product
- Public Information Statement
- Offshore Forecast
- Quantitative Precipitation Forecast
- State Forecast
- Suppression Forecast
- Tabular State Forecast
- Terminal Aerodrome Forecast
- Travellers Forecast
Weather radio receivers
There are a variety of different types of weather radio receivers available in the U.S., including:
- Professional-grade receivers, typically rack-mounted, for use by broadcast radio and television stations and public agencies who are responsible for acting on or retransmitting weather and emergency alert broadcasts.
- Base-station consumer radios powered by commercial AC power (often with a battery backup).
- Hand-held battery powered radios, suitable for use by hikers, boaters, and in emergency preparedness kits.
- Hand-crank portable radios that do not require AC or battery power, especially designed for use in emergency preparedness kits.
- Weather radio receivers integrated as an auxiliary function into other devices, such as GMRS radios, portable televisions, FM radios, etc.
- Radio receiver modules, such as the Si4707 from Silicon Labs, designed for electronics experimenters and project builders have in the past been available.
Historically, it was not uncommon to sell portable radios that featured AM, FM, and TV audio (VHF channels 2–13), with the weather band included some distance down the dial from TV channel 7 (after the U.S. digital TV conversion, the television sound function of these radios became obsolete).
One of the early consumer weather alert radios (model KH6TY) was designed and manufactured by Howard (Skip) Teller, who was issued a patent on the alerting mechanism and was instrumental in the design of the PSK31 Digipan software and hardware, and the Amateur radio NBEMS emergency communications system.
Since April 2004, radio models marketed as "Public Alert-certified" must include these features and meet certain performance criteria, as specified in electronics industry standard CEA-2009.
The price of a consumer-grade weather radio varies depending on the model and its extra features.
Radio frequencies used
|162.000 MHz||WX#||28B||ASM 2|
The United States' NWS, Canada's Weatheradio, Mexico's SARMEX and Bermuda operate their government weather radio stations on the same marine VHF radioband, using FM transmitters, and the same seven frequencies (162.400 - 162.550 MHz) as NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). Bermuda only uses 162.550 (land) and 162.400 (marine).
NWR transmitters operate VHF-FM between 5–1,000 watts. NWR channels operating in the range of 162.3625–162.5875 MHz (162.4–.55 ± 37.5 kHz) have a band spacing of 25 kHz may have bandwidths up to 16 kHz. The original "weather" frequency used by multiple stations was 162.550 MHz, followed by 162.400 in 1970, 162.475 in 1975, and the last four (162.425, 162.450, 162.500 & 162.525 MHz) in 1981.
163.275 MHz was used by KHB47 in New London, Connecticut initially in 1969 until switching to 162.400 in 1970 to avoid overlapping with KWO35 in New York, and internally by NWS in case of power outage, but is no longer in active use. 169.075 MHz was initially used by WWG75 transmitting from Mt. Haleakala on Maui in 1970 before also switching to 162.400 by 1972.
NOAA Weather Radio, Weatheradio Canada and SARMEX all refer to the seven stations by their frequencies (MHz):
Other channel designations such as WX1 through WX7 "have no special significance but are often designated this way in consumer equipment" and "other channel numbering schemes are also prevalent/possible" according to NOAA and USCG. Ordering channels by when they were established (WX1, WX2, …) is "becoming less 'popular' over time than a numerical ordering of channels." Weather radios may list stations in the order of their WX#, or by a "Preset Channel" number 1 thru 7 in ascending frequency order.
The "WX#" format is continued from WX8 up to WX12 on some lists and radios to include 163.275 MHz and or one or more of the Canadian continuous marine broadcast (CMB) frequencies 161.650, 161.775, 161.750, 162.000. Unlike WX1-WX7 typically ordered by frequency adoption by NWS, there is no consistent frequency inclusion nor assignment for WX8-WX12. Effective January 1, 2019, channels 2027 (161.950 MHz, 27B) and 2028 (162.000 MHz, 28B) are designated as ASM 1 and ASM 2 respectively for application specific messages (ASM) as described in Recommendation ITU-R M.2092.
The "WX" arose from the Morse code prosign shorthand for weather reports (WX) combined with the order number that the seven frequencies were adopted for use nationally. More frequencies helped prevent interference from other nearby transmitters, growing in use in the 1990s in less-populated rural, areas and as fill-in broadcast translators relaying an existing station or sending a separate, more localized broadcast into remote or mountainous areas, or those areas with reception trouble.
As with conventional broadcast television and radio signals, it may be possible to receive more than one of the seven weather channels at a given location, dependent on factors such as the location, transmitter power, range and designated coverage area of each station. The NWS suggests that users determine which frequency (as opposed to channel) is intended for their specific location so that they are assured of receiving correct and timely information.
All seven NWR channels are available on stand-alone weather radio receivers that are currently sold online and in retail stores (available for prices ranging from US$20 and up), as well as on most marine VHF radiotransceivers, amateur radios and digital scanners. In addition, more mainstream consumer electronics, such as clock radios, portable multi-band receivers and two-way radios (such as FRS, GMRS and CB radio), now feature the ability to also receive NWR channels. Many of the aforementioned devices also incorporate automatic alerting capabilities. Many American television stations offer discounted pricing for radios to viewers as a public courtesy (especially in highly tornado-prone areas), where they are often marketed as an essential safety device on par with a smoke alarm for home fires.
According to NOAA, reliable signal reception typically extends in about a 40-mile radius from a full-power (1,000 W) transmitter, assuming level terrain. However, signal blockages can occur, especially in mountainous areas. As of 2016, there are over a thousand NWR transmitters across the U.S., covering 95% of the population. Because each transmitter can cover several counties, typically a person will program their weather radio to receive only the alerts for their county or nearby surrounding counties where weather systems are most likely to move in from.
Whenever a weather or civil emergency alert is issued for any part of a NWR station's coverage area, many radios with an alert feature will sound an alarm or turn on upon detection of a 1,050 Hz attention tone (help·info) that sounds just before the voice portion of an alert message. The specification calls for the NWS transmitter to sound the alert tone for ten seconds and for the receiver to react to it within five seconds. This system simply triggers the alarm or turns on the radio of every muted receiver within reception range of that NWR station (in other words, any receiver located anywhere within the transmitter's broadcast area). Generally, receivers with this functionality are either older or basic models.
Many newer or more sophisticated alerting receivers can detect, decode and react to a digital signal called Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), which allows users to program their radios to receive alerts only for specific geographical areas of interest and concern, rather than for an entire broadcast area. These advanced models may also have colored LED status lights which indicate the level of the alert as an "advisory"/"statement", "watch" or "warning" (either amber or green for advisories and statements, orange or yellow for watches, red for warnings).
When an alert is transmitted, the SAME header/data signal (help·info) is broadcast first (heard as three repeated audio "bursts"), followed by the 1,050 Hz attention tone, then the voice message, then the end-of-message (EOM) data signal (repeated quickly three times). This encoding/decoding technology has the advantage of avoiding "false alarms" triggered by the 1,050 Hz tone itself in locations outside the intended warning area. Broadcast areas are generally divided into SAME locations by county or marine zone using the standard U.S. Government FIPS county codes.
NOAA's SAME alert protocol was later adopted and put into use by the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in 1997 - the replacement for the earlier Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) and even earlier CONELRAD - now required by the FCC for standard broadcast TV and radio stations. Environment Canada eventually integrated SAME alerting capability into its Weatheradio Canada network in 2004. Organizations are able to disseminate and coordinate emergency alerts and warning messages through NOAA Weather Radio and other public systems by means of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.
In September 2008, Walgreens announced that it would utilize SAME technology to deliver local weather alerts via a system of LED billboards located outside its drugstore locations to provide an additional avenue of weather information. Many national billboard companies (such as Outfront Media, Clear Channel Outdoor and Lamar, among others) also use their color LED billboard networks to display weather warnings to drivers, while state-owned freeway notification boards, which utilize the EAS/NOAA infrastructure for AMBER Alerts, also display weather warnings.
Emergency alert test procedure
Every local National Weather Service weather forecast office is required to conduct a scheduled weekly test of the NOAA Weather Radio public alert system, generally occurring every Wednesday between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. (noon). Certain Weather Forecast Offices conduct this twice a week, usually testing two time on Wednesday, usually between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. (noon) and then again between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Other offices test once on Wednesday, and then again on Saturday. Some NOAA Weather Radio stations also broadcast tests of the Emergency Alert System on predetermined days and times.
If there is a threat of severe weather that day in a NWR station's listening area, the weekly test is postponed until the next available fair-weather day (sometimes, a short message stating the reason for the test's cancellation is broadcast). The required weekly test (SAME event code "RWT") interrupts regular NWR programming — during the test, a SAME data header is sent, followed by a 1050 Hz attention tone, the voice test message, then a SAME end-of-message (EOM) signal. The text of the test message used by most NWS offices, with variations depending on the office, is typically as follows:
"This is the National Weather Service office in [city]. The preceding signal was a test of the NOAA Weather Radio warning alarm system on station [call sign of radio station] in [location]. During potential or actual dangerous weather situations, specially built receivers are automatically activated by this signal to warn of the impending hazard. Tests of this signal and receivers' performance are usually conducted by this National Weather Service office on Wednesdays at [time of day]. When there is a threat of severe weather, or existing severe weather is in the area on Wednesday, the test will be postponed until the next available good-weather day. Reception of this broadcast, and especially the warning alarm signal, will vary at any given location. The variability, normally more noticeable at greater distances from the transmitter, will occur even though you are using a good quality receiver in perfect working order. To provide the most consistent warning service possible, the warning alarm will be activated only for selected watches and warnings affecting the following counties: [list of counties]. This concludes the test of the warning alarm system on NOAA Weather Radio station [call sign]. We now return to normal programming."
From the introduction of NOAA Weather Radio until the late 1990s, nearly all the voices heard in the broadcasts were those of the staff at local National Weather Service (NWS) offices. The messages were manually recorded, first on tape cartridges and later digitally, and then placed in the broadcast cycle. As the NWS added more transmitters to provide broader radio coverage, the staff had difficulty keeping broadcast cycles updated in a timely fashion, especially during major severe weather outbreaks.
1990s Console Replacement System
To manage the increasing number of transmitters for each office and to speed the overall delivery of warning messages to the public, the Console Replacement System (CRS) was deployed at NWS weather forecast offices in 1997. CRS introduced a computerized voice nicknamed "Paul", using a text-to-speech system which was based on the DECtalk technology. This system was chosen over more readily available concatenative synthesis because each forecast, watch and warning requires unique wording to relay the most accurate and relevant information. Concatenation is typically used by telephone companies, banks and other service businesses where a limited vocabulary of recorded words can easily take the place of specific, repetitive phrases and sentences. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts contain a wide variety of information which changes with the weather. Forecasters need to have many words to choose from when writing their forecasts and warnings for the public. Although CRS greatly enhanced the delivery speed and scheduling of Weather Radio messages, some listeners disliked Paul's voice, as it was very monotone and did not resemble a normal speaking voice due to CRS not having the technological advances at the time to resemble human speech patterns.
2002 Voice Improvement Program
In 2002, the National Weather Service contracted with Siemens Information and Communication and SpeechWorks to introduce improved, more natural voices. The Voice Improvement Plan (VIP) was implemented, involving a separate computer processor linked into CRS that fed digitized sound files to the broadcast suite. The improvements involved one male voice ("Craig"), and one female voice ("Donna"). Additional upgrades in 2003 improved "Donna" and introduced an improved male voice nicknamed "Tom", which had variable intonation based on the urgency of the report. As part of this upgrade a Spanish voice, "Javier", was added at a few sites. Due to the superior quality of the "Tom" voice, most NWS offices used it for the majority of broadcasts and announcements.
Broadcast Message Handler
In 2016, the NWS replaced almost all of the CRS systems in operation at its Weather Forecast Offices—which had been in use for over 20 years and were approaching the end of the system's expected service life—with the Broadcast Message Handler (BMH). The new system is more closely integrated with the AWIPS software and intended to be more reliable. The BMH units replaced "Donna" and "Tom" with an improved "Paul" voice (its classification from new voice partner NeoSpeech). Many stations have dubbed him "Paul II" or "Paul Jr" to avoid confusion with CRS "Perfect Paul". For the NWS offices that incorporate Spanish programming into the NWR broadcast cycle, VIP "Javier" was replaced with a much improved female voice named "Violetta" (another voice from NeoSpeech). The upgrade initially began at six offices: Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; Brownsville, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; Anchorage, Alaska; and Tiyan, Guam. Many of the stations saw an initial negative reaction primarily due to many mispronunciations. Most local NWS Offices provide a method of reporting these problems, and have the ability to reprogram the voices accordingly.
Wireless NOAA Weather Radio Stations
Beginning in at least 2017, several NWS offices began to switch some of their NWR transmitter input audio from a traditional cable phoneline to a digital wireless connection that is supplied to the transmitter location. A few methods of transmitting the audio from the NWS Office to the transmitter currently exist, including using a cellular network linking, as well as UHF transmission. As a result, the outputting sound that comes from the station's transmitter generally has a much higher quality than it would with a phoneline. In May of 2017, KEC80 in Atlanta, Georgia became the first known NWR station to switch to wireless audio communication, utilizing NWS Peachtree City's cellular network. Some challenges have presented themselves with wireless stations, mainly more common station outages, as well as sproadic skipping of the audio feed.
As of 2021, phoneline stations still dominate a majority of the 1,000+ NWR transmitters across the United States. However their quality and audibility depends on the cables and transmitters themselves. Compared to wireless stations, phoneline stations tend to have a more quiet tone to them, with telephone like audio quality. On the other hand, wireless stations sound tend to have a higher sample rate and audio quality, with more treble and a much crisper sound. The nature of this type of sound makes it distinguishable when the Paul voice contains an "s" sound.
Human voices are still heard on occasion, but sparingly, mainly during station identifications, public forecasts, National Marine Fisheries Service messages, public information statements, public service announcements, required weekly tests, and severe weather events. The capability exists for a meteorologist to broadcast live on any transmitter if computer problems occur or added emphasis is desired, or to notify listeners who are concerned about a silent station on another frequency whether that station is dark due to technical errors, prolonged power outage, or a weather event has forced it off the air.
Some weather forecast offices will issue a secondary report in Spanish during severe weather events or warnings. Few NWR stations broadcast weather information in Spanish."NOAA Weather Spanish Voice".
Four WFOs disseminate all content using dedicated stations to be only Broadcast in the Spanish-Language, separate from their English-language Counter Channels: San Diego (WNG712 in Coachella/Riverside), El Paso (WNG652), Miami (WZ2531 in Hialeah, since 2012), and Brownsville (WZ2541 in Pharr and WZ2542 in Harlingen, since 2014). These stations originally used a synthesized Spanish male voice named "Javier" for all broadcasts, but have since been upgraded with the BMH female voice "Violetta".
The Albuquerque WFO often repeats weather alerts in Spanish after their initial dissemination in English. Station WXJ69 in San Juan, Puerto Rico broadcasts all information, including forecasts, in the same manner.
The National Weather Service in Tampa Bay Area/Ruskin plays a severe weather programming Station I.D. in the broadcast cycle if an alert is isued for the station warning area using the Spanish Voice, but it plays the English text version of the product, resulting in the Text-To-Speech software reading English text being pronounced in Spanish.
Several websites provide internet audio streaming of a subset of the NOAA Weather radio stations, but the most prominent of these, the Wunderadio section of weather information website Weather Underground, discontinued live streams of NWR broadcasts in April 2017. In February 2017, as Weather Underground prepared to discontinue its Wunderadio subpage, a group of individuals formed the site noaaweatherradio.org to allow former Wunderadio users and others to listen to NWR audio feeds. A large majority of the feeds featured on the Weather Underground's Wunderadio page were incorporated onto the new site. Various NOAA Weather Radio station streams are also available at broadcastify.com, weatherusa.net/radio and PlanoWeather.
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NOAA Weather Radio brochure evolution
- "ESSA VHF Weather Radio Stations" Weatherwise magazine, August 1969
- Marine Weather Services: ESSA VHF Radio Weather, ESSA/PI 680033 1969
- Marine Weather Services: ESSA VHF Radio Weather, ESSA/PI 680033 1970
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- NOAA VHF Radio Weather, NOAA/PA 70035, Rev. 1972
- Marine Weather Services: NOAA VHF Radio Weather, NOAA/PA 70029, Rev. 1972
- Marine Weather Services: NOAA VHF Radio Weather, NOAA/PA 70029, Rev. 1974
- NOAA Weather Radio NOAA/PA 74035, 1975
- Marine Weather Services: NOAA Weather Radio, NOAA/PA 74034, Rev. 1976
- NOAA Weather Radio, NOAA/PA 76015, 1976
- NOAA Weather Radio, NOAA/PA 76015, Rev. July 1988
- NOAA Weather Radio, NOAA/PA 96070 (station list), May 1999
- NOAA Weather Radio, NOAA/PA 200356 (maps), October 2002
- All Hazards NOAA Weather Radio (NWR), NOAA/PA 96070 (no list), October 2007
- NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR), NOAA/PA 200352 Poster, April 2014
- All Hazards NOAA Weather Radio, NOAA/PA 94062, Rev. January 2020
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