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NOAA Weather Radio (NWR; also known as NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards) is an automated 24-hour network of radio stations in the United States that broadcast advert-free weather information directly from a nearby National Weather Service office. A complete broadcast cycle lasts about 3 to 8 minutes long, featuring weather forecasts and local observations, but interrupted when severe weather advisories/warnings/watches are issued. It occasionally broadcasts other non-weather related events such as national security statements, natural disaster information, environmental and public safety statements (such as an AMBER Alert) sourced from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Emergency Alert System.

NOAA Weather Radio
Type Weather radio/civil emergency services
Branding NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards
Country  United States
Availability National (through radio transmitters,
some commercial radio and television outlets,
and Internet availability via streaming audio from other organizations)
Founded 1954 (for aviation weather)
1958 (for general/marine weather)
by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Slogan "The Voice of the National Weather Service"
Radio stations 100-1000W VHF-FM transmitters
Owner NOAA/National Weather Service
Launch date
1950s (in selected cities)
1970s (nationwide)
Official website
www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/

About 133 transmitters have been made available online at http://noaaweatherradio.org/. Weather Underground discontinued live streams of NWR broadcasts in 2017[1].

Contents

OperationsEdit

The NOAA radio network is provided as a public service by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By the end of 2014, NWR had about 1025 transmitters serving 95% of the United States' population, covering all U.S. states, adjacent coastal waters, and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Saipan.

NOAA also provides secondary weather information, usually limited to marine storm warnings for sea vessels navigating the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, to HF band "time stations" WWV and WWVH - these shortwave radio stations continuously broadcast time signals and disseminate the "official" U.S. Government time, and are operated by the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

RadioEdit

The radio service continuously transmits weather and marine forecasts (where applicable) and other related information. In addition, NWR works in cooperation with the FCC's Emergency Alert System (EAS), providing comprehensive severe weather alerts and civil emergency information. In conjunction with federal, state and local emergency managers and other public officials, NWR has the ability to broadcast alerts and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), man-made (such as chemical releases or oil spills), technological (such as nuclear power plant emergencies) and other public safety (such as "AMBER alerts" or 9-1-1 telephone outages). Listening to a NOAA Weather Radio station requires a special radio receiver or scanner capable of receiving at least one of seven specific channels within the frequency range of 162.400 MHz through 162.550 MHz, collectively known as the "Weather Band" For example, a receiver that only tunes in standard FM or AM broadcast stations will not suffice.

TelevisionEdit

Many television stations which have the capability (both commercial and public) may simulcast a local NWR station's audio content on their second audio program channel if they are not carrying a program which features either a Spanish language translation or a Descriptive Video Service track for the visually impaired. Some digital subchannels which carry weather information may also have a local NWR audio feed airing in the background, while conventional television stations carry the audio during off-air periods while transmitting a test pattern, in lieu of a reference tone.

Many cable television systems and some commercial television and radio stations will, during EAS activation, rebroadcast the audio of a warning message first heard on their local NWR station, to alert viewers of a severe weather event or civil emergency, usually with the issuance of a tornado warning or tornado emergency, especially in tornado-prone areas of the country.

HistoryEdit

In the wake of the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, one of the key recommendations from the U.S. Weather Bureau's storm survey team, was the establishment of a nationwide radio network that could be used to broadcast weather warnings to the general public, hospitals, key institutions, news media, schools, and the public safety community. Starting in 1966, the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) started a nationwide program known as "ESSA VHF Weather Radio Network." In the early 1970s, this was changed to NOAA Weather Radio. The service was expanded to coastal locations during the 1970s in the wake of Hurricane Camille based upon recommendations made by the Department of Commerce after the storm in September 1969.

Transmitters and FrequenciesEdit

NWR transmitters operate VHF-FM between 100-1000 watts.

The original "Weather" frequency was 162.550 MHz, with 163.275 MHz recommended as a backup. However, this frequency was dropped due to interference issues with other federal agencies.

ExpansionEdit

In 1970, 162.400 MHz was added as a primary channel. In 1975 Honolulu NWR station KBA99 was moved from 169.075 MHz to 162.550 MHz, at the same time 162.475 MHz frequency was introduced for NWR transmission (after several years of being limited only to special cases at 300 Watts to avoid channel interference)

Many (if not most) basic weather band receivers manufactured and sold from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s were configured to only receive these three "main" weather channels. However, some included four additional "intermediate" channels (162.425, 162.450, 162.500, and 162.525 MHz) which would accommodate anticipated expansion but went mostly unused during that time.[2]

Since then, a proliferation of stations have been installed and activated to ensure near-complete geographical coverage and "weather-readiness". To avoid interference and allow for more specific are coverage, the channel count has gone from three to seven. By April 1985, the NWS operated "about 392 stations" with "approximately 90 percent of the nation's population ... within listening range";[2] As of January 2015, the figure was "1025 stations" with a goal to "increase coverage to at least 95 percent".[3]

Sequential
Channel
Frequency Official
Channel
1 162.400 MHz WX2
2 162.425 MHz WX4
3 162.450 MHz WX5
4 162.475 MHz WX3
5 162.500 MHz WX6
6 162.525 MHz WX7
7 162.550 MHz WX1

Frequencies/channelsEdit

There are two different channel numbering systems used by various weather radio manufacturers. The most common system is ordered by increasing radio frequency sequence, shown in the table on the right. The older and less common numbering is the chronological sequence that the radio frequencies were allocated to the service: WX1 = 162.550, WX2 = 162.400, WX3 = 162.475, WX4 = 162.425, WX5 = 162.450, WX6 = 162.500, WX7 = 162.525.

As with conventional broadcast television and radio signals, it may be possible to receive more than one of the seven weather channels at a given location, dependent on factors such as the location, transmitter power, range and designated coverage area of each station. The NWS suggests that users determine which frequency (as opposed to channel) is intended for their specific location so that they are assured of receiving correct and timely information.

Present dayEdit

 
Public service announcement featuring comic strip character Mark Trail promoting NOAA Weather Radio
 
Example NOAA weather radio coverage for Eastern Michigan.

All seven NWR channels are available on stand-alone "weather radio" receivers that are currently sold online and in retail stores (available for prices ranging from US$20 and up), as well as on most marine VHF radio transceivers, amateur radios and digital scanners. In addition, more mainstream consumer electronics, such as clock radios, portable multi-band receivers and two-way radios (such as FRS, GMRS and CB radio), now feature the ability to also receive NWR channels. Many of the aforementioned devices also incorporate automatic alerting capabilities. Many American television stations offer discounted pricing for radios to viewers as a public courtesy (especially in highly tornado-prone areas), where they are often marketed as an essential safety device on par with a smoke alarm for home fires.

CoverageEdit

According to NOAA,[4] reliable signal reception typically extends in about a 40-mile radius from a full-power (1000 W) transmitter, assuming level terrain. However, signal blockages can occur, especially in mountainous areas. As of 2016, there are over a thousand NWR transmitters across the United States, covering 95% of the population.[5] Because each transmitter can cover several counties, typically a person will program their weather radio to receive only the alerts for their county or nearby surrounding counties where weather systems are most likely to move in from.[6]

AlertingEdit

Audio from a NOAA Weather Radio broadcast of a tornado warning issued for Greensburg, Kansas on May 4, 2007. Weather Radio stations will carry alerts when dangerous weather threatens a location within their listening area.

Whenever a weather or civil emergency alert is issued for any part of a NWR station's coverage area, many radios with an "alert feature" will sound an alarm and/or turn on upon detection of a   1050 Hz attention tone  that sounds just before the voice portion of an alert message. The specification calls for the NWS transmitter to sound the alert tone for ten seconds and for the receiver to react to it within five seconds. This system simply triggers the alarm and/or turns on the radio of every muted receiver within reception range of that NWR station (in other words, any receiver located anywhere within the transmitter's broadcast area). Generally, receivers with this functionality are either older or basic models.

Many newer or more sophisticated alerting receivers can detect, decode and react to a digital signal called Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), which allows users to program their radios to receive alerts only for specific geographical areas of interest and concern, rather than for an entire broadcast area. These advanced models may also have colored LED status lights which indicate the level of the alert as a "warning", "watch" or "advisory"/"statement" (Orange or yellow for watches,red for warnings, and either amber or green for advisories and statements) -

When an alert is transmitted, the   SAME header/data signal  is broadcast first (heard as three repeated audio "bursts"), followed by the 1050 Hz attention tone, then the voice message, then the end-of-message (EOM) data signal (repeated quickly three times). This encoding/decoding technology has the advantage of avoiding "false alarms" triggered by the 1050 Hz tone itself in locations outside of the intended warning area. Broadcast areas are generally divided into SAME locations by county or marine zone using the standard U.S. Government FIPS county codes.

NOAA's SAME alert protocol was later adopted and put into use by the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in 1997 the replacement for the earlier Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) and even earlier CONELRAD now required by the FCC for broadcast stations. Environment Canada eventually integrated SAME alerting capability into its Weatheradio Canada network in 2004.[7]

In September 2008, Walgreens announced that it would utilize SAME technology to deliver local weather alerts via a system of LED billboards located outside of its drugstore locations to provide an additional avenue of weather information.[8] Many national billboard companies (such as Outfront Media, Clear Channel Outdoor and Lamar, among others) also use their color LED billboard networks to display weather warnings to drivers, while state-owned freeway notification boards, which utilize the EAS/NOAA infrastructure for AMBER Alerts, also display weather warnings.

Broadcast routineEdit

Note: The blue text in the sample text products below indicate links; the color of all text in the original alert issued was black. Conversions in the quote boxes below are not used by most NOAA Weather Radio stations and are included in this article for the purpose of disambiguation.

The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards network has a multi-tier concept for forecasting or alerting the public to all types of weather. Actual forecasts vary by the area that the transmitter serves. During severe weather situations, Watch Information Statements for government-designated jurisdictions served by the local NWR station are typically inserted within the station's normal playlist of routine products; a special severe weather playlist temporarily suspends most regularly scheduled routine products in the event National Weather Service-issued warnings (mainly severe thunderstorm, tornado or flash flood warnings) are in effect for the station's broadcast area, which solely incorporate watch, warning and Special Weather Statements, and any active Short-Term Forecasts and Hazardous Weather Outlooks.

Routine forecastEdit

Unless there is a significant event or test occurring, the typical broadcast cycle includes the following:

Hourly weatherEdit

A typical hourly observation report, which is updated once (or twice depending on the station or National Weather Service office, or whether severe weather conditions are ongoing) per hour at 5 or 10 and at 15 minutes past the hour, heard over NOAA Weather Radio stations features the following information:

At 8 a.m. in Falls City, it was sunny. The temperature was 60 degrees, the dewpoint 59, and the relative humidity 97%. The wind was west at 6 miles (9.7 km) an hour. The pressure was 30.00 inches (762 mm) and steady.

— Example from KWN41 in Shubert, Nebraska.
  • Current observations usually limited to sky condition, temperature and wind speed/direction (although accompanied by dew point, humidity and pressure data on some NWR stations) within 50–75 miles (80–121 km) of the Weather Forecast Office and main reporting areas.

Across eastern Nebraska, southwest Iowa, and northwest Missouri, skies ranged from sunny to mostly sunny. It was 60 at Beatrice, 59 at Lincoln, 59 at Nebraska City, 57 at Omaha, 59 at Red Oak, and 62 at St. Joseph.

— Example from KWN41.
  • Current sky condition and temperature observations (accompanied by wind speed/direction data on certain stations) within 250 miles (400 km) of the WFO area of responsibility.

Here are some observations from around the region. Fog was reported with a temperature of 60 at Concordia, Kansas, 57 at Grand Island, and 62 at Manhattan, Kansas. Haze was reported with a temperature of 63 at Topeka, and 61 at Kansas City. It was partly sunny with a temperature of 56 at Des Moines, and 50 at Sioux Falls.

— Example from KWN41.

Conditions for the closest observation site are typically used as a substitute in the lead of the segment if no report is available from the main reporting station, in which case the substituted station's observations will not be repeated at the end of the segment. In some locales, in the event any weather reporting station (whether the main station or a distant site) whose condition reports are regularly included in the segment had absent data, or no data available, the following message would be played in its place:

The report from Downtown Los Angeles was not available.

— Example from KWO37 in Los Angeles.

In some areas, a major city featured within the regional observations would always provide weather conditions; if a condition report is unavailable, the message "the weather conditions were not available" would precede the city. In addition, the regional portion of the segment may be condensed to a roundup format for select or all cities, if temperatures are within a 5° range and/or if sky conditions are the same or differ limitedly at each given reporting site (for example: "skies ranged from sunny to mostly sunny, and temperatures were between 57 and 62 degrees"). Sky conditions and/or temperatures for individual weather reporting stations may only be mentioned if weather conditions differ between multiple locations.

Occasionally, due to technical or other issues, the previous hour's observations segment may be included in the product playlist as long as 15 minutes into the next hour, after which it is removed until updated information is available.

Sample hourly weather roundupEdit

Here's an example taken from NOAA Weather Radio Station WXJ75 in Springfield Illinois, at 8am in September 7, 2017:

The Weather Radio Audio generator interprets the Area Weather Roundup below to generate this text for the Springfield Weather Radio Transmitter.

“At 8 am at Springfield, Skies were Sunny. The temperature was 52 degrees, the Dew Point was 47, and the Relative Humidity was 83 percent. The wind was southwest at 3 miles an hour. The pressure was 30.12 inches and rising.”

The product below then translates temperatures from programmed sites at the following sites: Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign, Decatur, Lincoln, Taylorville, Litchfield, Jacksonville, and Quincy. It is translated:

“Elsewhere around Central Illinois, It was sunny, with a temperature of 50 at Peoria, 49 at Champaign, 55 at Decatur, and 50 at Lincoln. Under sunny skies, Taylorville reported 49, Litchfield reported 51, Jacksonville reported 50, and Quincy reported 52. At Bloomington, it was Partly Sunny, with a Temperature of 53.”

The observations for Springfield are then re-emphasized with “And once again at 8 am at Springfield, under Sunny Skies, the Temperature was 52.”

Then every cycle between :05 and :59 of each hour, observations from Chicago, Indianapolis, Saint Louis, Kansas City, Des Moines, and Milwaukee are provided as interpreted from the Area Weather Roundup product shown below:

“Looking elsewhere around the Midwest at 8 am, Chicago was Partly Sunny, and 55. Indianapolis was Partly Sunny, and 49. Saint Louis was Mostly Sunny, and 56. Kansas City was Cloudy, and 54. Des Moines was Mostly Sunny, and 51. Milwaukee was Partly Sunny, and 56.”

Generation of this segment usually takes longer, as the Kansas City report requires the product to interpret another Area Weather Roundup product issued by the National Weather Service office in Springfield, MO.

000
NZUS43 KILX 071310
HWRILX

Area Weather Roundup
National Weather Service Lincoln IL
800 AM CDT THU SEP 07 2017

NOTE:  "FAIR" indicates few or no clouds below 12,000 feet, with
       no significant weather and/or obstructions to visibility.


CITY           SKY/WX    TMP DP  RH WIND       PRES   REMARKS
Bloomington    PTSUNNY   53  47  79 W9        30.11R
Champaign      SUNNY     49  46  90 SW7       30.11R
Danville       SUNNY     52  47  84 W7        30.07R
Decatur        SUNNY     55  47  74 W8        30.12R
Effingham      SUNNY     51  49  93 CALM      30.15R
Flora          SUNNY     54  49  82 SW3       30.15R
Galesburg      PTSUNNY   49  47  94 CALM      30.10S
Jacksonville   SUNNY     50  47  89 CALM      30.13R
Lacon          SUNNY     52  49  90 CALM      30.08S
Lawrenceville  SUNNY     51  46  83 CALM      30.13S
Litchfield     SUNNY     51  48  91 SW3       30.13R
$$

CITY           SKY/WX    TMP DP  RH WIND       PRES   REMARKS
Lincoln        SUNNY     50  48  93 CALM      30.12S
Macomb         MOSUNNY   47  46  99 W3        30.13S
Mattoon        SUNNY     52  48  86 W3        30.12R
Mt Carmel AP   SUNNY     49  46  92 CALM      30.14R
Olney-Noble AP SUNNY     51  49  93 CALM      30.15R
Paris AP       SUNNY     50  47  89 W5        30.12R
Peoria         SUNNY     50  46  86 SW3       30.10S
Pontiac        MOSUNNY   50  49  98 CALM      30.10S
Rantoul        SUNNY     53  49  83 W6        30.10R
Robinson       SUNNY     49  47  92 CALM      30.14S
Springfield    SUNNY     52  47  83 SW3       30.12R
Taylorville    SUNNY     49  46  91 CALM      30.13R
$$

...REGIONAL REPORTS...

CITY           SKY/WX    TMP DP  RH WIND       PRES   REMARKS
Chicago O`Hare PTSUNNY   55  47  74 W6        30.03S
Kankakee       CLOUDY    51  48  89 CALM      30.08S
Moline         SUNNY     52  48  86 CALM      30.08S
Mount Sterling SUNNY     51  48  89 W6        30.12R
Mount Vernon     N/A     48  46  93 CALM      30.15S
Pittsfield     SUNNY     53  49  86 W3        30.14R
Quincy         SUNNY     52  49  89 SW5       30.12R
Rockford       CLOUDY    50  47  89 W3        30.08R
$$

CITY           SKY/WX    TMP DP  RH WIND       PRES   REMARKS
Burlington     SUNNY     50  49  96 CALM      30.10R
Cedar Rapids   PTSUNNY   49  48  97 W3        30.08R
Des Moines     MOSUNNY   51  45  79 SW3       30.10S
Kirksville     SUNNY     54  47  77 W5        30.13R
Ottumwa        SUNNY     50  46  86 W7        30.10S
St Louis       MOSUNNY   56  52  86 W5        30.14S
$$

CITY           SKY/WX    TMP DP  RH WIND       PRES   REMARKS
Terre Haute    SUNNY     51  47  86 SW3       30.11R
Evansville     SUNNY     53  48  83 SW3       30.14R
Indianapolis   PTSUNNY   49  46  90 SW5       30.09R
Lafayette      SUNNY     49  49 100 W5        30.08R
Madison        CLOUDY    53  49  86 CALM      30.03S
Milwaukee      PTSUNNY   56  52  86 NW8       30.02S
$$

Hazardous weather outlookEdit

When conditions warrant, a hazardous weather outlook is issued (usually twice each day at around 7:00 a.m. and noon local time) by a local weather forecast office addressing potentially hazardous weather affecting the next seven days. The outlook will include information about potential thunderstorm activity (including any areas forecast to be under threat of severe thunderstorms), heavy rain or flooding, winter weather, wildfire, extremes of heat or cold, or other conditions that may pose a hazard or threat to travel, life and/or property.

It is intended to provide information to those who need considerable lead time to prepare for the event, along with a call for action for NWS-trained SKYWARN volunteer weather spotters to be prepared to report their local weather conditions and/or damage reports back to the local NWS office. Other outlooks are issued on an event-driven basis, such as the Flood Potential Outlook and Public Severe Weather Outlook. Occasionally, a NWS WFO may update the Hazardous Weather Outlook while an event is ongoing or if forecast models denote changes from previous forecasts.

Depending on the Weather Forecast Office, the Hazardous Weather Outlook may either state all weather hazards for the seven-day period or may separate them by the current day and the succeeding six days (days two through seven) of the forecast period.

Sample hazardous weather outlookEdit

The following example of a Hazardous Weather Outlook was issued by the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, Arkansas, on February 24, 2011:

 HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LITTLE ROCK AR
 445 AM CST THU FEB 24 2011
 
 ARZ003>007-012>016-021>025-030>034-037>047-052>057-062>069-251045-ARKANSAS-BAXTER-BOONE-BRADLEY-CALHOUN-CLARK-CLEBURNE-CLEVELAND-
 CONWAY-DALLAS-DESHA-DREW-FAULKNER-FULTON-GARLAND-GRANT-HOT SPRING-
 INDEPENDENCE-IZARD-JACKSON-JEFFERSON-JOHNSON-LINCOLN-LOGAN-LONOKE-
 MARION-MONROE-MONTGOMERY-NEWTON-OUACHITA-PERRY-PIKE-POLK-POPE-
 PRAIRIE-PULASKI-SALINE-SCOTT-SEARCY-SHARP-STONE-VAN BUREN-WHITE-
 WOODRUFF-YELL-
 445 AM CST THU FEB 24 2011
 
 THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR A LARGE PART OF ARKANSAS.
 
 .DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT
 
 SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS LIKELY ACROSS MUCH OF ARKANSAS TODAY.
 
 A STORM SYSTEM WILL APPROACH ARKANSAS FROM THE WEST...BRINGING NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS TO THE STATE AS IT MOVES THROUGH. SEVERE WEATHER WILL BE MOST LIKELY ACROSS THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PARTS OF THE STATE...ROUGHLY SOUTH AND EAST OF LOCATIONS SUCH AS MENA...MORRILTON AND NEWPORT. TEMPERATURES WILL WARM WELL INTO THE 60S AND 70S IN THESE AREAS...CREATING AN UNSTABLE AIR MASS. FARTHER NORTH CLOUDS AND MORE WIDESPREAD PRECIPITATION WILL LIMIT WARMING AND INSTABILITY. WHILE CHANCES OF SEVERE STORMS WILL BE LESS IN THE NORTH...THUNDERSTORMS WILL STILL BE PRESENT THERE.
 
 WINDS FROM JUST ABOVE THE SURFACE THROUGH THE MID LEVELS OF THE ATMOSPHERE WILL BE QUITE STRONG WITH THIS SYSTEM. THERE IS ENOUGH CHANGE IN BOTH WIND SPEED...AND WIND DIRECTION WITH HEIGHT TO SUPPORT MULTIPLE TYPES OF SEVERE WEATHER TODAY. DAMAGING WINDS...TORNADOES AND LARGE HAIL WILL ALL BE POSSIBLE.
 
 IN ADDITION TO THE SEVERE STORMS...HEAVY RAINS WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE. AREAS IN NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHEAST ARKANSAS RECEIVED UPWARDS OF TWO INCHES OF RAIN OVERNIGHT. MORE HEAVY RAIN WILL BE POSSIBLE TODAY AS STORMS MOVE THROUGH THE AREA...WITH THE GREATEST AMOUNTS EXPECTED IN THE NORTH.
 
 WITH REGARD TO TIMING...STORMS SHOULD MOVE FROM TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA INTO WESTERN ARKANSAS BETWEEN NOON AND 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON. STORMS WILL MOVE TOWARD CENTRAL ARKANSAS BETWEEN 3 PM AND 6 PM...MAKING IT INTO THE EAST BETWEEN 6 PM AND 9 PM.
 
 .DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY
 
 FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING WILL BE CALM AS HIGH PRESSURE DOMINATES THE WEATHER IN ARKANSAS.
 
 HOWEVER...LATE SUNDAY WILL BRING ANOTHER ROUND OF SEVERE WEATHER AS ANOTHER STRONG SYSTEM APPROACHES FROM THE SOUTHWEST.
 
 .SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...
 
 SPOTTER ACTIVATION MAY BE NECESSARY THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING ACROSS MUCH OF THE AREA.
 
 &&
 
 $$

Source:[9]

Regional weather synopsisEdit

The regional weather synopsis, also known as the "regional weather summary" (the terminology varies depending on the local National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office), is a report that provides a brief overview of weather events from the previous or current day within the region, followed by an outlook of expected weather from the current time to the next few days. The synopsis is usually broadcast in the main program cycle and updated at least twice per day from 5:00 to 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. local time.

Sample regional weather synopsisEdit

The following example of a Regional Weather Synopsis was issued by the NWS Fort Worth office, on April 2, 2010:

NORTH TEXAS WEATHER SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX
1050 AM CDT FRI APR 02 2010

SKIES WERE OVERCAST ACROSS NORTH TEXAS EARLY THIS MORNING AS A COLD FRONT BOUNDARY BEGAN TO APPROACH THE REGION FROM THE WEST. A LINE OF STORMS DEVELOPED ALONG THIS BOUNDARY THROUGHOUT THE MORNING.
TEMPERATURES JUST BEFORE DAYBREAK WERE IN THE UPPER 60S AHEAD OF THE FRONT AND THE UPPER 50S BEHIND THE FRONT. WINDS WERE GENERLLY FROM
THE SOUTH AT 10 TO 20 MPH SWITCHING TO THE WEST BEHIND THE FRONT. 
BY LATE MORNING...THE LINE OF STORMS ARE LOCATED ALONG A SHERMAN... TO FORT WORTH...TO HAMILTON LINE. THE MAIN THREAT EXPECTED FROM THESE
STORMS IS LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS.

AFTERNOON HIGHS ARE EXPECTED TO BE IN THE UPPER 70S THROUGHOUT NORTH TEXAS. RAIN CHANCES WILL DECREASE EASTWARD AS THE BOUNDARY EXITS THE
REGION THIS EVENING. SKIES ARE EXPECTED TO CLEAR OVERNIGHT WITH LOW TEMPERATURES IN THE UPPER 40S ACROSS MUCH OF THE AREA. THE WEEKEND WILL BE PLEASANT AND WARM WITH MOSTLY SUNNY SKIES AND TEMPERATURES NEAR 80.

Daily climate summaryEdit

In most cases, this information is included in the above regional weather synopsis. climate summaries comprise three separate general information products illustrating recently observed weather conditions:

  • Area climate summary – In most areas, this summary is played in 15-minute intervals each program cycle (generally mornings from 4 to 10). The summary includes information on the minimum and maximum temperatures recorded the previous day; 30-year temperature averages and historical temperature extremes. It may also include the previous day's recorded precipitation, and monthly and annual total precipitation in comparison to their respective 30-year averages; and heating and/or cooling degree day data. In many areas, the sunrise and sunset times for the next two days are stated, whereas in other areas, the sunrise and sunset times are featured as a separate report.
  • Regional climate summary – Generally broadcast in the cycle from the mid-morning to early afternoon. This summary includes actual high and low temperatures and precipitation amounts for regional sections of the area recorded between 7:00 a.m. local time the previous day and 7:00 a.m. the present day.
  • Afternoon climate summary – In most areas this report is replaced by the area climate summary, however it may be included on specific days of the week (sometime between 5pm and 9pm). The summary provides information on minimum and maximum temperatures, and total precipitation recorded since 12:00 a.m. local time. Reports from other stations around the listening area are also included into local report for a more comprehensive record. The afternoon climate summary states the average and extreme temperatures and average and current monthly/annual precipitation totals for the date. The summary is subject to updates due to changes in maximum and/or minimum temperature or measured precipitation recorded during the broadcast period.

Regional forecastEdit

This product offers weather summaries for all the counties across the listening area. It is updated four times daily at 4:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (but more during severe or changeable weather).

A regional weather roundup is updated hourly.

Regional weather conditions are summarised at predetermined times.

There is also a 3- to 5-day extended forecast product, which is updated twice per day at sometime between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Specialty forecastsEdit

The following are not included during most broadcast cycles or are only played as needed depending on local weather.

Short term forecastEdit

A short term forecast is a localized, event-driven report used to provide the public with detailed weather information during significant and/or rapidly changing weather conditions during the next six hours. This forecast will often mention the position of precipitation as detected by radar. In most areas, this is the only forecast product that is permitted to air both during active severe weather warnings affecting the listening area and during routine forecast program cycles.

Special weather statementEdit

A special weather statement is a regional event-driven and is used to provide the public with details of the upcoming significant weather event, such as a major winter storm, a heat wave, or potential flooding. A significant weather advisory may be issued within a Special Weather Statement, often if thunderstorm activity whether severe or not is occurring in, or approaching an area.

Sample special weather statementEdit

The following example of a special weather statement was issued by the National Weather Service office in San Angelo, Texas, on September 6, 2010 regarding that year's Tropical Storm Hermine:

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN ANGELO TX
532 AM CDT MON SEP 6 2010

TXZ049-054-064>066-071>073-076>078-098-099-113-114-127-128-139-
140-154-155-168>170-061715-
FISHER-NOLAN-STERLING-COKE-RUNNELS-IRION-TOM GREEN-CONCHO-
CROCKETT-SCHLEICHER-SUTTON-HASKELL-THROCKMORTON-JONES-SHACKELFORD-
TAYLOR-CALLAHAN-COLEMAN-BROWN-MCCULLOCH-SAN SABA-MENARD-KIMBLE-
MASON-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ROTAN...ROBY...SWEETWATER...
STERLING CITY...ROBERT LEE...BRONTE...BALLINGER...WINTERS...
MERTZON...SAN ANGELO...EDEN...OZONA...ELDORADO...SONORA...
HASKELL...THROCKMORTON...WOODSON...STAMFORD...ANSON...HAMLIN...
ALBANY...ABILENE...CLYDE...BAIRD...CROSS PLAINS...COLEMAN...
BROWNWOOD...BRADY...SAN SABA...MENARD...JUNCTION...MASON
532 AM CDT MON SEP 6 2010

...TROPICAL STORM HERMINE FORMS IN THE WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO
AT 4 AM CDT ON THIS LABOR DAY MORNING...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL
STORM HERMINE. THE HURRICANE CENTER FORECAST`S TROPICAL STORM
HERMINE TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG THE NORTHEAST MEXICAN COASTLINE
SHORTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.

HERMINE IS FORECAST TO TRACK NORTHWEST TOWARDS WEST CENTRAL TEXAS AS
A TROPICAL DEPRESSION.  IT SHOULD IMPACT THE AREA TUESDAY
NIGHT...WEDNESDAY AND WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THE OUTER RAIN BANDS OF THIS
DEPRESSION COULD IMPACT THE NORTHWEST HILL COUNTRY AS EARLY AS
TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING. REMEMBER THAT ISOLATED TORNADOES CAN
FORM IN THE OUTER BANDS OF THESE SYSTEMS WITH LITTLE OR NO WARNING.

TROPICAL DEPRESSIONS ARE ALSO KNOWN FOR PRODUCING CONCENTRATED
FLOODING RAINFALL AT NIGHT. THEREFORE...IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO
MONITOR THE TRACK OF HERMINE AS IT MOVES INLAND OVER THE NEXT FEW
DAYS SINCE THERE STILL IS SOME UNCERTAINTY WITH THE FUTURE TRACK
AND SPEED OF HERMINE.

BASED ON THE LATEST FORECAST TRACK...WIDESPREAD 2 TO 4 INCHES WITH
ISOLATED 4 TO 8 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS WEST CENTRAL TEXAS
TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

Record information announcementEdit

A record information announcementannounces information on newly set records for coldest/warmest maximum and/or minimum temperature and maximum precipitation. This forecast is only included in the broadcast when such events occur.

Surf zone forecastEdit

A Surf zone forecast is a text forecast for local beaches issued by coastal stations, including coastal hazard information such as that pertaining to rip currents. These products are issued year-round at the Los Angeles/Oxnard, San Diego and New York City offices, and seasonally at most other coastal offices.

River forecastEdit

This forecast is not usually included in many reports unless there is a potential for flooding or flooding is occurring, which would then be included with the hazardous weather outlook

Daily river forecasts are issued by the 13 river forecast centers using hydrologic models based on variables such as rainfall, soil characteristics and precipitation forecasts. Some forecasts, especially those in mountainous regions, also provide seasonal snow pack and peak flow forecasts.

A separate forecast, River and Small Stream Observations, is broadcast in areas in and outside of the 13 river forecast centers and is only broadcast following a significant hydrological event featuring information on crests, and present and forecasted flood stages.

Lake forecastEdit

Lake forecasts (sometimes referred to as "nearshore marine forecasts" and "open waters forecast"; depending on the station and area) are issued by most stations in the Great Lakes region to explicitly state expected weather conditions within the marine forecast area through the next five days. The report addresses expected wave heights and small-craft advisories currently in effect.

Coastal waters forecastEdit

A Coastal Waters Forecast states expected weather conditions and wave heights within the marine forecast area through the next five days.

Offshore waters forecastEdit

An offshore waters forecast is issued by the Ocean Prediction Center and provides a five-day forecast and warning information intended for mariners travelling on oceanic waters adjacent to the U.S. coastline.

Tropical weather summaryEdit

Tropical weather summaries are an event-driven report updated every three hours, which provides an information summary on any active tropical cyclones. Activity summaries for the Atlantic Basin are typically included with stations located in states near the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, while stations along the West Coast receive summaries concerning the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the station and associated Weather Forecast Office, listeners can hear this report at the top and bottom of every hour.

Emergency alert test procedureEdit

Every local National Weather Service weather forecast office conducts a scheduled weekly test of the NOAA Weather Radio public alert system, generally every Wednesday between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. Some NOAA Weather Radio stations broadcast tests of the Emergency Alert System on predetermined days and times.

If there is a threat of severe weather that day in a NWR station's listening area, the weekly test is postponed until the next available fair weather day (a short message stating the reason for the test's cancellation will be broadcast). The required weekly test (SAME event code "RWT") interrupts regular NWR programming - during the test, a SAME data header is sent, followed by a 1050 Hz attention tone, the voice test message, then a SAME end-of-message (EOM) signal. The text of the test message used by most NWS offices, with variations depending on the office, is as follows:

"This is the National Weather Service office in [city]. The preceding signal was a test of the NOAA Weather Radio warning alarm system on station [call sign of radio station] in [location]. During potential or actual dangerous weather situations, specially built receivers are automatically activated by this signal to warn of the impending hazard. Tests of this signal and receivers' performance are usually conducted by this National Weather Service office on Wednesdays at [time of day]. When there is a threat of severe weather, or existing severe weather is in the area on Wednesday, the test will be postponed until the next available good-weather day. Reception of this broadcast, and especially the warning alarm signal, will vary at any given location. The variability, normally more noticeable at greater distances from the transmitter, will occur even though you are using a good quality receiver in perfect working order. To provide the most consistent warning service possible, the warning alarm will be activated only for selected watches and warnings affecting the following counties: [list of counties]. This concludes the test of the warning alarm system on NOAA Weather Radio station (call sign). We now return to normal programming."[10]

VoicesEdit

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. As the NWS added more transmitters to provide broader radio coverage the staff had difficulty keeping broadcast cycles updated in a timely fashion, especially during major severe weather outbreaks.[11]

1990s Console Replacement SystemEdit

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.[11] CRS introduced a computerized voice nicknamed "Paul", using a text-to-speech system which was based on the DECtalk technology. This system was chosen over more readily available concatenative synthesis because each forecast, watch and warning requires unique wording to relay the most accurate and relevant information. Concatenation is typically used by telephone companies, banks and other service businesses where a limited vocabulary of recorded words can easily take the place of specific, repetitive phrases and sentences. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts contain a wide variety of information which changes with the weather. Forecasters need to have many words to choose from when writing their forecasts and warnings for the public.[12] Although CRS greatly enhanced the  delivery speed and scheduling of Weather Radio messages, there was some dissatisfaction with Paul's voice.[11]

Voice Type of Weather Message File Size
CRS Paul Weather Synopsis 191 KB

2002 Voice Improvement ProgramEdit

In 2002, the National Weather Service contracted with Siemens Information and Communication and SpeechWorks to introduce improved, more natural voices. The Voice Improvement Plan (VIP) was implemented, involving a separate computer processor linked into CRS that fed digitized sound files to the broadcast suite. The improvements involved one male voice ("Craig"), and one female voice ("Donna"). Additional upgrades in 2003 improved "Donna" and introduced an improved male voice nicknamed "Tom", which had variable intonation based on the urgency of the report. As part of this upgrade a Spanish voice, "Javier", was added at a few sites.[11]  Due to the superior quality of the "Tom" voice, most NWS offices used it for the majority of broadcasts and announcements.

Voice Type of Weather Message File Size
VIP Tom Coastal Waters Forecast 481 KB
VIP Tom Local Forecast 498 KB
VIP Tom Weather Synopsis 125 KB
VIP Donna Great Lakes Marine Forecast 220 KB
VIP Donna Hazardous Weather Outlook 127 KB
VIP Donna Hourly Weather Observation 268 KB
VIP Javier Climate Summary 112 KB
VIP Javier Hourly Weather Observation 292 KB
VIP Javier Local Forecast 285 KB
The Broadcast Message HandlerEdit

In 2016 the NWS replaced almost all CRS systems with the Broadcast Message Handler (BMH). The new system is more closely integrated with the AWIPS software and should be more reliable. The CRS system had operated for over 20 years and the end of its expected service life.[13] BMH has replaced “Donna” and “Tom” with an improved “Paul” voice (its classification from new voice partner NeoSpeech[14][15]). Many stations have dubbed him "Paul II" or "Paul Jr" to avoid confusion with CRS "Perfect Paul". For the NWS offices with Spanish programming; VIP "Javier" was replaced with a much improved female voice named "Violetta" (another voice from NeoSpeech). The upgrade initially began at six offices: Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; Brownsville, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; Anchorage, Alaska; and Tiyan, Guam.[16] Many of the stations saw an initial negative reaction primarily due to many mispronunciations. Most local NWS Offices provide a method of reporting these issues, and have the ability to reprogram the voices accordingly.

Voice Type of Weather Message File Size
BMH Paul Local Forecast 280 KB
BMH Violetta Marine Forecast 1196 KB
Human voicesEdit

Human voices are still heard on occasion, but sparingly, mainly during station identifications, public forecasts, National Marine Fisheries Service messages, public information statements, public service announcements, required weekly tests, and severe weather events. The capability exists for a meteorologist to broadcast live on any transmitter if computer problems occur or added emphasis is desired, or to notify listeners who are concerned about a silent station on another frequency whether that station is dark due to technical errors, prolonged power outage, or a weather event has forced it off the air.

SpanishEdit

Many areas will broadcast a secondary report in Spanish during severe events or warnings. There are few known transmitters dedicated to Spanish weather information, however they are due to change.

Four forecast offices broadcast weather information entirely in Spanish on a separate station from the English broadcasts: San Diego (WNG712 in Coachella/Riverside), El Paso (WNG652), Miami (WZ2531 in Hialeah, since 2012), and Brownsville (WZ2541 in Pharr and WZ2542 in Harlingen, since 2014) These stations originally used a male Spanish synthesized voice named "Javier" for all broadcasts but have since been upgraded with the BMH voice "Violetta". The Albuquerque Weather Forecast Office often repeats weather alerts in Spanish after their initial dissemination in English. WXJ69 in San Juan, Puerto Rico broadcasts all information, including forecasts, in the same manner.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "WU feature and product updates – Customer Feedback for Weather Underground". help.wunderground.com. Retrieved 2017-09-21. 
  2. ^ a b NOAA Weather Radio pamphlet: NOAA/PA 76015, April 1985 
  3. ^ NOAA Weather Radio brochure: NOAA/PA 94062 (PDF), January 2015 [April 2014] 
  4. ^ "NOAA Weather Radio - County Coverage by State". nws.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  5. ^ Service, US Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather. "NOAA Weather Radio - SHHH". www.nws.noaa.gov. Retrieved 2017-09-06. 
  6. ^ "NOAA Weather Radio - Using NWR SAME". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Weatheradio Network" -- The Green Lane (Backgrounder), 7 January 2004. Environment Canada "Media Room" archives. 
  8. ^ "Walgreens Electronic Outdoor Signs Now Deliver Vital Weather Messages at More Than 3,000 Corner Locations Across America". Walgreens. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Most of Arkansas Hazardous Weather Outlook". National Weather Service, Little Rock, Arkansas. April 21, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ "NOAA Weather Radio Alarm Test Procedures". National Weather Service. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 
  11. ^ a b c d Service, US Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather. "NOAA Weather Radio - NWR Voices". www.nws.noaa.gov. Retrieved 2017-09-04. 
  12. ^ "NOAA Weather Radio Automated Voice and Programming". 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2017-09-04. 
  13. ^ Service, US Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather. "New NOAA Weather Radio Management Platform is Coming Soon". www.weather.gov. Retrieved 2017-09-04. 
  14. ^ "New All Hazards NOAA Weather Radio Now Operational". National Weather Service Office, Sullivan, Wisconsin (Milwaukee area). 24 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  15. ^ Huttner, Paul (15 June 2016). "NOAA Weather Radio has a new voice, and his name is Paul". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  16. ^ Service, US Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather. "A New Voice for NOAA Weather Radio". www.weather.gov. Retrieved 2017-09-04. 

External linksEdit