NOAA Weather Radio is a service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Weather
Radio is a nationwide network of government-operated radio stations
designed to provide the public with a constant source of up-to-date
weather information. It provides continuous broadcasts of the latest
weather information from local National Weather Service offices. Weather
messages are repeated every 4 to 6 minutes, and are routinely updated
every 1 to 3 hours or more frequently in rapidly changing local weather.
The service operates 24 hours daily. The regular broadcasts are specifically
tailored to weather information needs of the people within the service
area of the transmitter. For example, in addition to general weather
information, stations in coastal areas provide information of interest
Each station broadcasts local weather forecasts from a nearby
National Weather Service office and, when necessary, sends out alerts
to warn the public of potentially life-threatening conditions. Most
new NOAA Weather Radios are equipped with a tone alarm, or a special
alerting feature (known as S.A.M.E.) which can be programmed to
let you know immediately when the National Weather Service issues
a warning for your specific area. When a warning is issued coded
information is broadcast interrupting routine broadcasting. These
codes activate tone- and SAME-alert radios in the affected areas.
By receiving these warnings immediately, the public can seek safety
and protect themselves and those around them. New codes allow NOAA
Weather Radio to be used to alert the public to other hazards or
emergency situations such as oil spills or chemical releases. This
will eventually allow NOAA Weather Radio to be a source for both
weather and non-weather emergency alerts.
Under a January 1975 White House policy statement, NOAA Weather
Radio was designated the sole government-operated radio system to
provide direct warnings into private homes for both natural disasters
and nuclear attack. This concept is being expanded to include warnings
for all hazardous conditions that pose a threat to life and safety,
both at a local and national level.
NOAA Weather Radio currently broadcasts from over 800 FM transmitters
on seven frequencies in the VHF band, ranging from 162.400 to 162.550
megahertz (MHz) in fifty states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands,
Guam, and Saipan. These frequencies are outside the normal AM or
FM broadcast bands.
Special radios that receive only NOAA Weather Radio, both with
and without the tone alert feature, are available from several manufacturers.
The radios can usually be found at most department and electronics
stores and online at electronics web merchants. In addition, other
manufacturers are including NOAA Weather Radio as a special feature
on an increasing number of receivers: NOAA Weather Radio capability
is currently available on some automobile, aircraft, marine, citizens
band, and standard AM/FM radios, as well as communications receivers,
transceivers, scanners, and cable TV. See NOAA
Weather Radio Receiver Information if you are thinking of buying
one. The page contains a list of manufacturers and recall info on
a few radios.
By nature and by design, NOAA Weather Radio coverage is typically
limited to an area within 40 miles of the transmitter. The quality
of what is heard is dictated by the distance from the transmitter,
local terrain, and the quality and location of the receiver. In
general, those on flat terrain or at sea, using a high quality receiver,
can expect reliable reception far beyond 40 miles. Those living
in cities surrounded by large buildings, and those in mountain valleys,
with standard receivers may experience little or no reception at
considerably less than 40 miles. If possible, a receiver should
be tested in the location where it will be used prior to purchase.
The Caribou Weather Forecast Office operates 8 NOAA Weather Radio
transmitters across northern and Downeast Maine. Here's a list:
|Ellsworth, Hancock Co.
|Frenchville, Aroostook Co.
|Greenville, Piscataquis Co.
|Jonesboro, Washington Co.
(operating at 300 watts)
|Mars Hill, Aroostook Co.
|Meddybemps, Washington Co.
|Milo, Piscataquis Co.
|Springfield, Penobscot Co.
Jonesboro's primary programming is dedicated to marine forecasts,
observations, and warnings for the intended use of both commercial
and recreational mariners. In addition, severe weather warnings for
Washington and Hancock counties will be aired on this station.