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NOAA Weather Radio

NWS Duluth area weather radio coverage
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What is NOAA Weather Radio?
  • NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a radio system designed to broadcast continuous weather information, forecasts and warnings with no commercial interruptions. Weather messages repeat about every 6 minutes, but may be slightly longer during highly active weather events. During severe weather, messages may repeat as often as every 3 minutes. Most radio stations are maintained continuously.
  • The primary objective for NOAA Weather Radio is to broadcast warnings immediately to the public. All other information is considered secondary and may be suspended from the broadcasts during times of severe weather or warning events.
  • Some radios are equipped with special message encoders that activate an audible alarm. This alarm feature signifies that some warning or special emergency information has been broadcast. The listener can then listen to the emergency message.
  • Most NOAA weather radios can be purchased at discount, electronics, and mariner supply stores. The average cost is around $40, but more elaborate radios may cost more.

What is NOAA Weather Radio SAME?

The Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) was replaced by the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on January 1, 1997. The EAS provides a digital burst of information that includes exact locations and the type of emergency. EAS information is carried over the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) network.

The special encoding of location and type is decoded by special receivers called SPECIFIC AREA MESSAGE ENCODER, or SAME. NOAA Weather Radios can be purchased that have SAME, and will alarm only if the emergency is in your county and is of the type that you have programmed to be received.

If you are in the Northland and want to have the EAS alert on your NOAA weather radio, click here for the Northland SAME codes.


When is the SAME system activated?

The NWR SAME system WILL BE ACTIVATED for WARNINGS of the following type:

  • TOR - Tornado Warning
  • SVR - Severe Thunderstorm Warning
  • FFW - Flash Flood Warning
  • FFW - Small Stream and Urban Flood Warning
  • FLW - Flood Warning
  • SMW - Special Marine Warning
Depending on the severity of the event, the NWR SAME system MAY BE ACTIVATED for the following:
  • NPW - Non-Precipitation Weather: High Wind Warning, Frost/Freeze Warnings, Wind Chill Warnings
  • WCN - Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches
  • FFA - Flood and Flash Flood Watches
  • FLS - Flood and Flash Flood Statements
  • WSW - Winter Storm Warning

Where do I go for more information about NOAA Weather Radio and SAME?