January 28, 2021

NOAA weather radio could save your life

Whenever the National Weather Service issues an official severe weather, flood or other local hazard alert, you can hear about it immediately with a weather radio from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This holiday season consider giving a potentially life-saving gift: an NOAA weather radio receiver.

The NOAA weather radio network, the “Voice of the National Weather Service,” also broadcasts local forecasts and routine weather information 24 hours a day. Most NOAA weather radio receivers will sound an alarm when a hazard alert is issued, even if the receiver is not playing. There’s no better way to get potentially life-saving information at crucial times when you are asleep or your television or radio is turned off.

A new generation of NOAA weather radio receivers have a special feature called Specific Area Message Encoding, or SAME. All official watches and warnings broadcast by the NWS are preceded by unique digital audio codes that describe the type of warning and identify the county or counties being warned. With one of these SAME-capable receivers you can program the receiver to alert you to warnings for specific counties so you won’t be bothered by warnings that will not impact your area.

Several manufacturers make NOAA weather radio receivers with the SAME feature, and you can find NOAA weather radio receivers in most electronics stores, in catalogs and on the Internet.

The National Weather Service in Caribou currently operates two NOAA weather radio transmitters in eastern and northern Maine. ne, on Mars Hill, serves northeast Maine and broadcasts on a frequency of 162.525 MHz. The second transmits from Dollard Hill in Ellsworth and serves part of the Down East coast as well as the Greater Bangor area. It broadcasts on a frequency of 162.400 MHz.

Before buying an NOAA weather radio receiver, make sure your area is covered by one of our transmitters. For the latest list of frequencies and transmitter locations, and to look up the specific SAME codes for programming a SAME-capable radio, check the NOAA weather radio Web site: www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.

We want to encourage people to get their own NOAA weather radio receiver, and help us move closer to our goal of some day having this receiver in every home, and in all schools, hospitals and other public gathering places. This year, give the gift of safety.

Tell a friend about NOAA weather radio. Better yet, give NOAA weather radio receivers as gifts this holiday season. For about the cost of a new pair of shoes, an NOAA weather radio could make a big difference the next time a local hazard alert is issued.

Larry Gabric is the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Caribou. Hendricus Lulofs is the warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS in Caribou.

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