National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


The Federal Emergency Management Agency divides the United States by state and county (or parish where applicable), then assigns a 6-digit "FIPS" (Federal Information Processing System) code to identify each county/parish. The National Weather Service NOAA Weather Radio uses the FIPS codes for the purpose of broadcasting weather and hazards information through the Emergency Alert System.

When you purchase special NOAA Weather Radios which have the capability to alert only for a specific county known as "Specific Area Message Encoding" you must have a FIPS code for the county.

Instructions for your radio receiver should also include a listing of FIPS codes.


Understanding the FIPS Code

The first digit in a FIPS code identifies the county subdivision, the next two digits identify the state, and the last three digits identify the county itself. For example: 016045. 0 is the County Subdivision, 16 is the State of Idaho code and 045 is the Gem County code.

Most FIPS codes begin with 0, which means that FIPS code represents an entire county. The NWS, however, may subdivide some larger counties. When that happens, each subdivision will be assigned a digit from 1-9 resulting in codes such as 116073, 216073 and so on. If you have questions whether a county has been subdivided, please contact the nearest NWS office for guidance.