Friday, March 4, 2016

Severe Weather Awareness 2016: Weather Radio and Mobile Alert Apps

Severe Weather Awareness Week ends with a look at NOAA Weather Radio, the Emergency Alert System, and mobile alert apps. We have always advocated for having multiple ways to receive warnings, as no one solution is fool-proof or immune from dissemination issues.

Weather radio is the voice of the National Weather Service. It provides continuous weather information 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The nationwide network of weather radio stations provides the public with the fastest most reliable source of up-to-date weather information directly from the National Weather Service. You need a special radio to receive weather radio broadcasts, a radio that is capable of receiving signals in the very high frequency public service band.

Broadcasts may vary, but generally include area forecasts, present weather conditions, short-term forecasts, climatic data, river and lake stage forecasts, and other specialized information. The broadcasts are updated continuously. Weather radio is useful anytime, but it is most important when severe weather threatens. During periods of severe weather, routine programming is interrupted, and the focus shifted to the local severe weather threat. In an emergency, a warning alarm tone is broadcast that activates specially designed receivers to turn on automatically, or to produce a visual or audible alarm.

A typical NOAA Weather Radio console setup in an NWS office.
A primary source of weather information is the Emergency Alert System (EAS). EAS is a system of communications links that utilize data in a digital form. It is a reliable means of linking the National Weather Service, Emergency Management agencies, and the radio and television broadcast media together. EAS helps participating radio and television stations receive and relay weather warnings, and other emergency information in a timely manner.

MemphisWeather.net strongly encourages every home to have a NOAA Weather Radio.  These devices are as important as smoke detectors and possess the same capability to save your life in the middle of the night.  Specifically, our favorites are from Midland and include the basic desktop version (WR-120, pictured above).  It can be picked up at retailers such as Walgreens, Kroger, and other discount stores, as well as online retailers like Amazon for about $30-40. Learn more about NOAA Weather Radio on MWN's Weather Radio page.

Alternative to Weather Radio - Mobile Apps

One problem with Weather Radio and warnings sirens for that matter is that they alert on a COUNTY-wide basis, even if the warning issued by the National Weather Service is for only a small portion of the county. To know if YOUR LOCATION is in the warned area, we highly recommend our personalized weather warning product, StormWatch+, which can be added to our MWN mobile apps for iPhone and Android.  StormWatch+ pairs the NWS polygons (or warning boxes that are drawn irrespective of county borders) with your GPS-provided location to send push notifications in the event that YOU are in harm's way. No more alerts when the storm is 20-30 miles away and not a threat to your area! Learn more about StormWatch+ at StormWatchPlus.com and get personalized weather alerts in the palm of your hand!

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Follow MWN on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
Visit MemphisWeather.net on the web or m.memphisweather.net on your mobile phone.
Download our iPhone or Android apps, featuring StormWatch+ severe weather alerts!

1 comment:

DanTheCigarMan said...

Erik...
Once again thanks for all the work y'all do down there in the city..lots of us up here in T-County rely on MWN for the best info.