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 to mariners.
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
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.
|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.