National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
What is NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio (NWR)?
NWR is a service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce. NWR provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information directly from each Warning & Forecast Office (WFO) across the country. Weather messages are recorded and run in a cycle lasting an average of around four minutes, and are updated frequently throughout the day. When severe weather occurs, routine broadcasting will be interrupted to provide the listener with frequent updates on severe weather warnings or statements relative to each listening area. When a severe weather warning is issued and you are within about 40 miles of a transmitter, specially equipped receivers will alert, with warning and safety information following the alert. NWR is now the fastest way to get your warnings. New technology used by the National Weather Service (NWS) enables warnings to be broadcast over NWR just a few seconds after they are issued, adding valuable lead-time to potentially life-saving warnings.
 
Can't I just tune in with the radio I already have? Where can I get a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio?
Weather radio broadcasts on seven high-band frequencies ranging from 162.4 to 162.55 MHz, which are too high for most standard radios to receive. This is why you need a special "weather radio" to receive the broadcast. You can get weather radios at most common electronics stores for as little as $20, and many grocery stores around the Tennessee Valley offer weather radios as well. You can get more information about buying a weather radio by clicking here.
 
Am I able to receive NWR broadcasts at my location?
NWR broadcasts can usually be heard as far away as 40 miles from a transmitter site, and at times at further distances. The effective range depends on many factors, including transmitter power, height of the antenna, terrain, quality of the receiver and atmospheric conditions. The National Weather Service Office in Huntsville broadcasts from 6 transmitters located throughout north Alabama and southern middle Tennessee. Click here to determine which transmitter(s) you should be able to receive.
 
How do I know my weather radio is programmed correctly?

NWS Huntsville usually conducts our routine weekly test each Wednesday between 11 AM and 12 PM (except in cases of inclement weather). If you do not receive the test, you should check your radio to see if it is programmed properly and tuned to the closest available broadcast. If you need further assistance, please contact our office.

 
Who is that person on NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio?
When you tune into NOAA Weather Radio, the “voice” you hear is actually computer generated speech.   This is a component of NWR called CRS, or Console Replacement System. CRS was designed to ensure the National Weather Service (NWS) will be able to meet the increasing demands of NWR programming.

The advantages to using CRS are numerous. First and foremost, CRS routes products to the affected NWR transmitter as soon as they are issued. There is no lag time after issuance, since recordings are no longer made. This is especially important during severe weather, as precious minutes will be added to each warning's "lead time." Automating these tasks also frees up NWS employees to devote more time to forecasts and operations. Also, old products are taken out of the broadcast cycle the moment they expire and/or are updated.

 
What is the programming schedule for NWR?

Programming on NWR will vary from office to office. Following is the normal programming schedule at NWS Huntsville. (The program schedule is similar for all 6 transmitters.)

  • Local and surrounding weather conditions are updated every hour.
  • Short term forecasts are broadcast when weather conditions warrant.
  • Local forecasts for the next seven days.
  • Local climatic summaries.
  • A regional weather synopsis or hazardous weather outlook.
  • Detailed station identification messages are broadcast once every hour.
  • The current local time is given every broadcast cycle.
  • Weekly warning alarm test messages are broadcast each Wednesday, usually between 11:00 a.m. & noon, weather permitting.
  • Regular programming will be interrupted during severe weather.
 
What products are alerted on NWR?

The following products are alerted using SAME codes and the 1050 hertz tone:

  • Tornado warnings
  • Severe thunderstorm warnings
  • Flash flood warnings
  • Winter weather warnings (discretionary) 
  • Tornado watches
  • Severe thunderstorm watches
  • Flash flood watches
  • Civil emergency messages
  • Routine weekly/monthly tests