National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Blizzard Conditions Over the Sierra Nevada Mountains; Critical Fire Weather in the High Plains

A significant winter storm continues to impact much of the West with heavy mountain snow and widespread damaging winds, including dangerous, blizzard conditions in the Sierra Nevada. In the Central and Southern High Plains, an expansive area of warm, dry, and windy conditions is leading to a large area of elevated to high-end critical fire-weather conditions. Read More >

From the introduction of NOAA Weather Radio until the late 1990s, nearly all the voices heard in the broadcasts were those of the staff at local National Weather Service (NWS) offices. The messages were manually recorded, first on tape cartridges and later digitally, and then placed in the broadcast cycle.

To manage the increasing number of transmitters for each office and to speed the overall delivery of warning messages to the public, the Console Replacement System (CRS) was deployed at NWS Weather Forecast Offices in the late 1990s. CRS introduced a computerized voice nicknamed "Paul", using a text-to-speech system. While CRS greatly enhanced the  delivery speed and scheduling of Weather Radio messages, there was some dissatisfaction with Paul's voice.

In late 2000, The NWS embarked on a Voice Improvement Processor (VIP) program, implementing newer text-to-speech voices, nicknamed "Donna" and "Craig", in 2002. A year later, further updates were made. The "Donna" voice was improved, "Craig" was replaced by "Tom", and a Spanish voice, "Javier", was added at a few sites.

By the end of 2016, the NWS will have replaced CRS with the Broadcast Message Handler (BMH) at all sites. Among other functional upgrades, BMH has replaced “Donna” and “Tom” with an improved “Paul” voice. For those NWS offices that use Spanish programming, “Javier” has been replaced with a much improved “Violetta” voice.

Compare the previous NWR voices to the new “Violetta” and “Paul” voices in the audio samples below. You will need an audio player to listen to them. Depending on the audio player used and the speed of your Internet connection, you may need to download each file to your computer to be able to listen to the entire voice sample.


Voice Type of Weather Message

file size

NEW Violetta (Spanish) Marine Forecast 1,196 KB
NEW Paul Local Forecast 280 KB
Donna Great Lakes Marine Forecast 220 KB
Hazardous Weather Outlook 127 KB
Hourly Weather Observations 268 KB
Tom Coastal Waters Forecast 481 KB
Local Forecast 498 KB
Weather Synopsis 125 KB
Climate Summary 112 KB
Hourly Weather Observations 292 KB
Local Forecast 285 KB
Paul Weather Synopsis 191 KB