Four additional counties now receiving NOAA weather radio coverage

A new NOAA Weather Radio transmitter located in the Arbuckle Mountains of south central Oklahoma will now provide severe weather watch and warning coverage for four additional counties: Marshall, Love, Jefferson and Stephens. Signal strength tests conducted in the area indicated NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts can reach these areas. Coverage from this same transmitter will continue for Murray, Carter, Garvin, Pontotoc and Johnston counties.

Residents of these nine counties can now keep ahead of severe weather by tuning in to NOAA Weather Radio, a 24-hour source of weather forecasts and warnings provided by the National Weather Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Operating on a frequency of 162.525 MHz, the new transmitter was provided courtesy of the Ardmore/Carter County Emergency Management earlier this year and has been broadcasting information from the NWS Forecast Office in Norman, according to Mike Foster, meteorologist-in-charge.

“A recent study by NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory indicated that a historically significant number of violent tornadoes, rated F4 and F5 on the Fujita Scale, have occurred in this area of Oklahoma,” Foster said. “A NOAA Weather Radio is a useful and potentially life-saving tool.”

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 one or more counties within the broadcast area.

NOAA Weather Radio is “The Voice of the National Weather Service,” but in recent years the sound of the voice has changed. Automation, which allows NWS Forecast Offices to speed critical weather information from advanced workstations directly to the growing number of transmitters, makes use of a computer synthesized voice.

This new technology eliminates many of the delays inherent in the older systems, with warnings being broadcast in less than a minute in most cases, and allows simultaneous broadcasts on multiple transmitters when necessary. It also makes better use of other new technology such as Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), which allows listeners to program specially equipped models to receive warning alarms for specific counties, and the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which brings critical warnings to commercial broadcasters faster than ever before. The system allows radio broadcasters to break in live with critical information if necessary. This capability was demonstrated May 6 in the Ardmore area when a tornado report was received by the National Weather Service and broadcast live via weather radio in less than a minute.

The NOAA Weather Radio network has more than 590 transmitters, covering all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and U.S. Pacific Territories. Weather radios come in many sizes, with a variety of functions and costs. Some receivers, equipped with SAME technology, can automatically sound an alarm and turn themselves on if a severe weather warning is broadcast. Most NOAA Weather Radio receivers are either battery-operated portables or AC-powered desktop models with battery backup. Some scanners, amateur radios, CB radios, short wave receivers, and AM/FM radios also are capable of receiving NOAA Weather Radio transmissions. Weather radios can be purchased at many electronics stores.

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