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Columbia South Carolina

NOAA Weather RadioNOAA All Hazards Radio

...The Voice of the National Weather Service

NOAA All Hazards Radio is the primary means of providing weather information to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; as such, it is one of the most important functions of any Weather Office. While the routine forecast information and current conditions are convenient to the public, NOAA All Hazards Radio can also save their lives and reduce property damage by the timely dissemination of severe weather warnings or other hazardous weather information. As the primary contact that the public has with the NWS, the importance of NWR cannot be overstated; the quality of NWR directly influences the public's perception of the weather office and the National Weather Service as a whole.

WFO Columbia operates 9 transmitters serving the midlands of South Carolina and Central Savannah River Area of Georgia. Each transmitter serves an area generally within 30 miles of the transmitter; however, this can vary based on a number of factors including topography, quality of receiver, height of transmitter antenna, transmitted power, and even weather conditions.

In fringe areas, reception can sometimes be improved by simply moving your receiver around to find the best signal. In some cases, and outdoor antenna may be needed. For additional guidelines on improving reception of NOAA All Hazards Radio broadcasts, click here.

Routine Programming Schedule

Routine broadcasts normally include current and forecast conditions throughout the Broadcast Service Area (BSA), hydrological products, special user products, and other educational/promotional information. During periods of severe weather, the regular schedule will be replaced with the latest watch and/or warnings as appropriate.

Routine Broadcast Schedule

  • Current Weather Conditions (South Carolina / Georgia / North Carolina)
  • Short-term Forecast
  • Weather Chart Discussion
  • 7 Day Forecast
  • Beach and Mountains Forecast for South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia
  • Lake Winds Forecast
  • Tropical Weather Update (June 1 through November 30 only)
  • River and Lake Levels (10A.M. through 2 P.M.)
  • Preliminary Climate report for Columbia, Orangeburg, and Augusta (5 P.M. through 9 P.M.)
  • Complete Climate report for Columbia, Orangeburg, and Augusta (Midnight through 10 A.M.)


    There is no time when NOAA All Hazards Radio is more critical to the overall mission of the NWS than during severe weather. NOAA All Hazards Radio not only sounds the "tone alert" in people's homes and offices, it also is a trigger for the Emergency Alert System (EAS) encompassing radio, television, and cable. During potential severe weather outbreaks, routine operations change and two critical components of the warning system, the 1050 Hertz Warning Alert Tone Alert and Selective Area Message Encoding (S.A.M.E.) become critical means of alerting the public.

    Often the terms "Tone Alert", S.A.M.E., and EAS are used to mean the same thing - each term however describes a specific action (and area of responsibility):

      Tone Alert - a 1050 Hertz signal to activate specially built Weather Radio receivers with the Tone Alert feature. This feature sounds an audible tone to alert the listener of severe weather watches and warnings. A test of the Warning Alert Tone is conducted each Wednesday between 11A.M. and noon, if there is a threat of severe weather in the area on Wednesday the test will be postponed until the first available good weather day.

      The Tone Alert will be activated for any of the following events affecting any county covered by our NOAA All Hazards Radio Broadcasts:

      • Tornado Watches and Warnings
      • Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings
      • Flash Flood Watches and Warnings
      • River Flood Watches and Warnings
      • When a Winter Storm Warning (blizzard, high wind, ice storm, freezing rain or drizzle) is issued and conditions are expected within 3 hours or less
      • Nuclear Power Plant Accidents
      • Enemy Attack
      • The Warning Alert Tone may also be used as appropriate for localized warning situations not directly related to weather conditions where life and/or property is at risk. In these cases, activation of the Warning Alert Tone is requested and authorized by local emergency management officials. Examples of situations that the Warning Alert Tone could be used include a toxic chemical spill, serious chemical leak, or rupture of a large water reservoir.

      S.A.M.E. (Selective Area Message Encoder) - A process to generate a digital code containing basic information (type of event, county or counties, and valid time) on severe weather watches/warnings used to activate EAS as required. Some new NOAA All Hazards Radio receivers have decoders built in and can be programmed to sound an audible tone for watches and warnings for specific counties. To program the S.A.M.E. decoder equipped radios requires the Federal Information Processing System (FIPS) codes to be entered for each county. FIPS codes can also be obtained by calling 1-888-NWR-SAME (1-888-697-7263) - this is a toll-free call.

      E.A.S. (Emergency Alert System) - A policy established by each state's Emergency Communications Committee to alert the public of life-threatening weather conditions using commercial radio, television, and cable outlets. The Emergency Alert System is only activated for immediate life-threatening weather conditions such as Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings.

      NOAA All Hazards Radio in South Carolina

      Currently there are 15 NOAA All Hazards Radio Transmitters in South Carolina. These are located in Greenville, Rock Hill, Kirksey, Aiken, Columbia, Cheraw, Barnwell, Orangeburg, Sumter, Florence, Cross, Conway, Georgetown, Charleston and Beaufort. Also, Plant Vogle and Wrens in GA are NWR transmitters used by the NWS in Columbia, SC.

      Click on a tower below to see the counties serviced by each transmitter.
      Columbia Transmitter Vogle Transmitter Wrens transmitter Cheraw Transmitter Kirksey Transmitter Aiken Transmitter Barnwell transmitter Orangeburg Transmitter Sumter Transmitter


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National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office Columbia
2909 Aviation Way
 West Columbia, S.C. 29170-2102
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