Weather Alert Radios Tips

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What is a weather radio?

Weather radios

Weather radios are many times the key to surviving severe storms!

Weather radios provide you with advance warning when severe weather such as hurricanes, tornados, floods or snow and ice threatens your area. Weather radios are critical tools to have available in the home, office, or when traveling.

Battery operated portable weather radios are also available for boaters, campers, hikers and anyone on the go who may be affected by sudden severe weather.

Many weather radios feature Specific Area Messaging Encoding (SAME) that allows you to program the weather radio to monitor only local counties, eliminating distant, non-threatening alerts.

Weather radios monitor the seven emergency frequencies operated by the National Weather Service – a public service by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The system includes more than 900 transmitters located throughout the U.S..

Weather radios are available from quality manufacturers such as Oregon Scientific, Midland, First Alert, WeatherOne and Reecom.


What is an emergency alert weather radio?

Emergency alert weather radios provide advance warning about dangerous storms approaching your local area. The alerts are transmitted by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration part of the Department of Commerce) and can be a life-saving tool in the event of pending hurricanes, tornadoes, heavy rainstorms, snow and ice, or other possible disasters.

Are weather radios programmable?

Is advance warning important?

Receiving advance warning about approaching dangerous weather situations is critical! Severe weather warnings are broadcast by the government and contain valuable information for all types of hazards. In fact, even warnings about oil spills or other important information is also sent out over the air waves.

How do I know if a NOAA transmitter is near me?

What frequencies do weather radios operate on?

NOAA maintains seven frequencies outside of the normal AM/FM radio bands to broadcast alerts on emergency weather radios. The frequencies are: 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525 and 162.500.

What is NOAA?

Does NOAA broadcast more than just weather alerts?

NOAA sends out broadcasts on the emergency weather radio network advising the public of a variety of potential hazards. These alerts include items such as chemical or oil spills, nuclear power plant emergencies, forest fires, national emergencies and even Amber alerts.

Where can I find alert radios?

How do weather radios differ from regular radios?

Emergency alert weather radios do not broadcast constantly. Instead, weather alert radios operate in standby mode until an emergency weather alert is transmitted from NOAA. The weather radio then “wakes up” to sound an alert tone and broadcast the emergency message.

Are severe weather alerts broadcast 24 hours a day?

How many transmitters does NOAA utilize?

NOAA emergency weather alerts are sent out from more than 900 stations across the country. Each state has a varying number of transmitters and each transmitter has an effective range of approximately 40 to 50 miles.
For example, Louisiana has 11 transmitters located around the state, Kansas has 19, Florida has 30 and Texas has 61.
For a complete list of states and station locations, go to and find the All Hazards section.

I want to localize my emergency broadcasts. Can I do that?

What is SAME technology?

Many emergency alert weather radios now utilize S.A.M.E. digital technology that allows you to localize emergency broadcasts. Weather radios featuring S.A.M.E. (Specific Area Message Encoding) receive the same warnings and broadcasts as regular NOAA radios but also allow you to program it with a six-digit code to adjust reception to monitor only specific counties rather than an entire regional broadcast area.

I want to localize my emergency broadcasts. Can I do that?

Where do I find my SAME codes?

The code for programming your emergency alert weather radio to monitor local counties can be found at then look for “SAME Coding” on the menu at the left.

Where can I find alert radios?

Do weather radios have additional features?

Emergency alert weather radios comes in many different sizes and varieties. The NOAA weather radios are available in portable or desktop configurations; with or without AM/FM radios; with or without S.A.M.E. technology; and in many different colors.

Where can I find alert radios?

What accessories are available?

Various accessories are available for selected models of emergency alert weather radios. Some of the weather radios can utilize AC/DC adapters, cigarette lighter power adapters, external antennas, flashing alert lights or a strobe light, especially valuable for the hearing-impaired.

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Lynda Moultry