National Weather Service offers help programming NOAA weather radios

Staff from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman will help NOAA Weather Radio owners program their units from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday (May 20) at Crossroads Mall, 7000 Crossroads Boulevard, in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City area residents have purchased more than 13,000 life-saving NOAA Weather Radios through a special program that began three months ago. Operation Warn is an initiative to make available 100,000 specially-priced NOAA Weather Radios to Oklahoma City residents by the end of 2002 coordinated by Oklahoma City Emergency Management, Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency Management and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service.

“A NOAA Weather Radio with an alarm and battery back-up is one of the best ways to protect your family from tornadoes, especially at night when it can wake you up and alert you to turn to commercial radio and television for more information,” said Dennis McCarthy, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service Norman Forecast Office.

When severe weather watches and warnings are issued, an alarm will sound and the radio will turn itself on to broadcast the information. With new digital technology called Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), the alarm on a NOAA Weather Radio can be limited to counties in the immediate area. On Saturday, National Weather Service staff will provide the special codes needed to do this and instructions for programming the radio.

According to the National Weather Service, between 85 to 95 percent of Americans can receive NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts, however only 5 to 10 percent actually own a NOAA Weather Radio.

“NOAA Weather Radio saves lives,” McCarthy said. “We encourage everyone to equip their homes, schools, businesses and public places with this life-saving device. We want to make NOAA Weather Radios as common as smoke detectors.”

NOAA staff helped program about 250 weather radios during similar events in the metro area recently.

For more information, call 360-5928.

Information about NOAA Weather Radio is available online at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun and http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr