National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Thunderstorms and Heavy Rainfall on the East Coast

Scattered severe thunderstorms may continue Friday over the Carolinas and along the East Coast north into parts of the Mid-Atlantic. Damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes are the primary threats. Across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, localized flash and urban flooding impacts are possible due to potentially heavy rainfall, particularly over steep terrain and in vulnerable urban areas. Read More >


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The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) has established a numerical code for each county in California (and the rest of the Nation). These codes can be entered into new specially designed weather radios to receive NOAA Weather Radio- Specific Area Message Enconder (NWR-SAME) messages. The NWR-SAME unit at the NWS San Joaquin Valley Office places the code, in the form of a tone burst, just before and after selected messages heard on the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) stations WXL-89, KIH-62, KAD-94 and WNG-659. 

County FIPS codesThe FIPS Decoder, available in newly designed weather radio receivers, can then be programmed to activate your receiver when they match those sent out by a weather radio station. You have the choice of either listening to the message, have it display on an LCD readout, having it print, or having it activate a warning tone alarm. Therefore, you can program your decoder to only activate when warnings are issued for your specific county and only when a specific message is sent, i.e., a severe thunderstorm warning.

So what is the advantage of a receiver with NWR-SAME capability? Let's say you live in Kings County and a tornado warning is issued for Merced County. Conventional NWR receivers with the tone-alarm feature tuned to KIH-62 would be activated, even though the tornado is far away. NWR-SAME equipped receivers eliminate this problem. 

To the right is a map of the seven-county area in California that the NWS San Joaquin Valley Office is responsible for. The numbers on the map are the FIPS codes for each county (including the portion of Yosemite National Park in Tuolumne County). If you have a NWR-SAME decoder in your NOAA Weather Radio, you can enter the FIPS code(s) for the state then the county or counties for which you would like to receive weather warnings. For example, to enter the FIPS code for Tulare County, you would enter the California state FIPS code (006) and the Tulare County code (107) (i.e., 006107). For Fresno County the FIPS code is 006019. 

Keep in mind to only enter the codes that are in the broadcast area of the Weather Radio you normally listen to. The four Weather Radio stations operated out of this office, WXL-89KIH-62KAD-94 and WNG-659 have different reception areas due to the terrain. If the sequence of FIPS numbers seem strange, it is just the number of the county in alphabetical order in California as seen in the statewide FIPS map.