what alerts does noaa broadcast on weather radios
what alerts does noaa broadcast on weather radios

Listen up, folks! We’ve got all the inside scoop on the alerts that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) broadcasts on those trusty weather radios. From thunderstorms and tornadoes to hurricanes and flash floods, these radios are our go-to source for the most critical and up-to-the-minute information when it comes to severe weather. So, grab your popcorn and get ready for a deep dive into the world of alerts that keep us informed and safe when Mother Nature decides to put on a show.

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Introduction to NOAA Weather Radios

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on NOAA Weather Radios! In this article, we will explore the purpose, functionality, and benefits of NOAA Weather Radios. These devices play a crucial role in keeping us informed and safe during a wide range of weather-related emergencies. Whether it’s severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, or even non-emergency situations like air quality alerts, NOAA Weather Radios ensure that we receive timely and accurate information to make informed decisions.

Purpose of NOAA Weather Radios

The primary purpose of NOAA Weather Radios is to provide timely and authoritative weather-related information directly to the public. They serve as a critical component of the National Weather Service’s (NWS) dissemination system, ensuring that important alerts and updates reach communities across the United States. NOAA Weather Radios utilize the Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, allowing for targeted alerts that are relevant to our specific geographic area. Whether we live in coastal regions, mountains, or inland areas, these radios play a vital role in keeping us informed about potential threats and helping us make necessary preparations.

Emergency Alerts

Flood and Flash Flood Watches and Warnings

Flooding is one of the most common and dangerous weather-related emergencies. NOAA Weather Radios notify us about flood and flash flood watches and warnings. A flood watch indicates that conditions are favorable for flooding, while a flood warning indicates that flooding is imminent or occurring. These alerts enable us to take immediate action to protect ourselves and our property, such as evacuating to higher ground or reinforcing flood barriers.

Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings

Severe thunderstorms can bring strong winds, hail, and even tornadoes. NOAA Weather Radios issue alerts for severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. A severe thunderstorm watch indicates that conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms, while a severe thunderstorm warning indicates that a severe thunderstorm is imminent or occurring. These alerts prompt us to seek shelter and stay informed about potential hazards in our area.

Tornado Watches and Warnings

Tornadoes are among the most destructive weather phenomena. NOAA Weather Radios play a vital role in issuing tornado watches and warnings. A tornado watch alerts us to the possibility of tornadoes in our area, while a tornado warning indicates that a tornado has been sighted or detected by radar. These alerts prompt us to take immediate cover in a safe location, potentially saving lives during these dangerous situations.

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings

Coastal areas and regions prone to tropical storms and hurricanes heavily rely on NOAA Weather Radios for timely alerts. These radios issue watches and warnings for hurricanes and tropical storms. A hurricane watch indicates the possibility of hurricane conditions within the next 48 hours, while a hurricane warning indicates that hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. These alerts provide residents with ample time to evacuate or make necessary preparations to protect life and property.

Winter Storm Watches and Warnings

During winter months, severe winter storms can cause travel disruptions, power outages, and dangerous conditions. NOAA Weather Radios provide winter storm watches and warnings, helping us stay informed about the potential impact of these weather systems. A winter storm watch alerts us to the possibility of significant winter weather, while a winter storm warning indicates that hazardous winter weather is expected within the next 12 to 36 hours. These alerts allow us to take precautions, such as stocking up on essential supplies and avoiding unnecessary travel.

Extreme Heat Watches and Warnings

Extreme heat can be life-threatening, especially for vulnerable populations. NOAA Weather Radios issue extreme heat watches and warnings, which are particularly important in urban areas. An extreme heat watch indicates the potential for prolonged periods of dangerously hot weather, while an extreme heat warning indicates that heat-related illnesses are likely to occur. These alerts remind us to take necessary precautions, such as staying hydrated, seeking air-conditioned spaces, and checking on elderly or at-risk individuals.

Tsunami Warnings

Coastal communities face the potential threat of tsunamis due to earthquakes or other undersea disturbances. NOAA Weather Radios play a vital role in issuing tsunami warnings, informing residents about the imminent danger. These radios provide early and critical alerts, allowing residents to evacuate to higher ground away from the coast.

Earthquake Warnings

While earthquakes cannot be predicted with certainty, NOAA Weather Radios can provide valuable information in the aftermath of an earthquake. These radios alert us about potential aftershocks, ensuring that we remain cautious and take necessary safety measures following a seismic event.

Volcano Warnings

Areas near active volcanoes must be prepared for potential volcanic eruptions. NOAA Weather Radios issue volcano warnings, enabling residents to stay informed about volcanic activity and take necessary precautions. These alerts can save lives by ensuring timely evacuations and minimizing risks associated with volcanic hazards.

Nuclear Power Plant Warnings

For communities living near nuclear power plants, it is essential to have accurate and timely information in case of any emergencies. NOAA Weather Radios provide warnings specific to nuclear power plants, alerting residents about any potential risks or hazards associated with these facilities. These alerts help residents take immediate action to ensure their safety during such situations.

Non-Emergency Alerts

Special Weather Statements

Aside from emergency alerts, NOAA Weather Radios also broadcast non-emergency alerts that help us stay informed about various weather conditions. Special weather statements provide important updates on weather phenomena such as fog, high winds, or significant weather changes that might impact our daily activities. These statements serve as early warnings for potential hazards and allow us to plan accordingly.

Air Quality Alerts

Air pollution can have significant health impacts, particularly for individuals with respiratory conditions. NOAA Weather Radios broadcast air quality alerts, enabling us to monitor and respond to changing air quality conditions. These alerts provide guidance on limiting outdoor activities and taking necessary precautions to protect our health when air quality deteriorates.

Fire Weather Watches and Warnings

In regions susceptible to wildfires, the combination of dry weather and strong winds can create hazardous fire conditions. NOAA Weather Radios disseminate fire weather watches and warnings, keeping us informed about the risk of wildfires in our area. These alerts remind us to be vigilant, practice fire safety measures, and cooperate with local authorities during fire-related emergencies.

Avalanche Watches and Warnings

In mountainous regions, avalanches pose a significant threat to both residents and travelers. Through NOAA Weather Radios, avalanche watches and warnings are broadcasted, alerting us about the potential dangers associated with snow slides. These alerts help us make informed decisions when planning outdoor activities in avalanche-prone areas.

Winter Weather Advisories

Whether it’s heavy snowfall, freezing rain, or sleet, winter weather advisories provide valuable information about potential hazards during winter storms. NOAA Weather Radios deliver winter weather advisories, ensuring we are aware of the expected weather conditions and can take necessary precautions to stay safe and minimize disruptions.

Dense Fog Advisories

Dense fog can drastically reduce visibility, leading to hazardous driving conditions and potential accidents. NOAA Weather Radios issue dense fog advisories, notifying us about areas experiencing reduced visibility due to fog. These alerts remind us to exercise caution and adjust our travel plans to ensure our safety on the roads.

Coastal Advisories

For coastal communities, understanding the condition of the sea and coastal areas is crucial for safe and enjoyable activities. NOAA Weather Radios disseminate coastal advisories that provide information about beach hazards, rip currents, or marine events that could affect coastal regions. These advisories enable us to make informed decisions and take necessary precautions when planning activities in and around the water.

Public Information Statements

Public information statements offer general weather-related information that may not fall under emergency or non-emergency alerts. These statements provide updates on weather phenomena, recent climatic events, or changes in forecasting techniques. NOAA Weather Radios ensure that we receive these informative statements, broadening our knowledge about various weather-related topics.

Marine Weather Statements

For those living near or venturing out to the open water, marine weather statements are invaluable sources of information. NOAA Weather Radios broadcast marine weather statements, providing details about weather conditions in lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. These statements help mariners make informed decisions regarding their boating and fishing activities, ensuring their safety on the water.

River Flood Warnings

In addition to flood watches and warnings, NOAA Weather Radios also issue river flood warnings specific to bodies of water in our area. These warnings inform us about the expected or ongoing flooding in rivers, allowing residents in flood-prone areas to take necessary precautions and protect their property.

Specific Geographic Area Alerts

Local Watches and Warnings

NOAA Weather Radios provide targeted alerts for our specific local area. These local watches and warnings are tailored to our geographical location, making them highly relevant and important for our immediate surroundings. By receiving these alerts, we can be prepared for any potential weather threats, ensuring our safety and well-being.

County Watches and Warnings

County-level watches and warnings offer a broader scope of information, encompassing multiple towns and communities within a county. NOAA Weather Radios broadcast these county alerts, allowing us to stay informed about weather conditions that may impact a larger geographic area. Whether it’s widespread flooding or severe thunderstorms, county watches and warnings help us understand the potential risks within our county.

State Watches and Warnings

For broader weather information at the state level, NOAA Weather Radios also issue watches and warnings for the entire state. These alerts provide valuable insight into weather patterns and potential threats that might affect multiple regions within a state. By receiving state-level alerts, we can have a comprehensive understanding of the weather conditions across our state, enabling us to make well-informed decisions.

Regional Watches and Warnings

Regional watches and warnings offer weather information for larger geographical areas, such as multi-state regions or specific geographic zones. NOAA Weather Radios broadcast these alerts, ensuring that communities within a region receive relevant and timely information about potential weather hazards. Regional watches and warnings help us understand the broader impact of weather systems and prepare accordingly.

National Watches and Warnings

NOAA Weather Radios serve as a connection to national weather alerts, ensuring we stay updated on weather conditions across the entire country. National watches and warnings provide comprehensive information about weather threats that may impact multiple states or the entire nation. By receiving these alerts, we can stay informed about significant weather events on a national scale.

International Watches and Warnings

Weather systems and emergencies can often transcend national boundaries. NOAA Weather Radios also provide international watches and warnings, allowing us to be aware of potentially impactful weather phenomena occurring in neighboring countries or regions around the world. International watches and warnings foster global communication and collaboration in addressing weather-related challenges.

Border Watches and Warnings

For areas near national borders, border watches and warnings become particularly relevant. NOAA Weather Radios broadcast alerts specific to border regions, ensuring that residents on both sides of the border receive critical information about potential weather threats. These alerts promote cooperation and coordination between neighboring countries in addressing weather-related emergencies.

Coastal Watches and Warnings

With a vast coastline, the United States experiences various weather-related hazards along its shores. NOAA Weather Radios issue coastal watches and warnings, providing valuable information about weather conditions impacting coastal areas. From hurricanes to rip currents, these alerts allow coastal communities to take necessary precautions and ensure their safety near the water.

Mountain Watches and Warnings

Mountainous regions present unique weather challenges, including rapidly changing weather conditions and severe storms. NOAA Weather Radios offer mountain watches and warnings, informing residents about potential weather hazards specific to their mountainous surroundings. From avalanches to high wind events, these alerts enable mountain communities to be prepared and respond effectively to any weather-related emergencies.

Inland Watches and Warnings

Even away from coastlines and mountains, inland regions can face their share of weather-related challenges. NOAA Weather Radios issue inland watches and warnings, covering areas that may not be directly exposed to coastal or mountainous weather patterns. These alerts provide inland communities with valuable information about severe weather threats, ensuring that residents can make informed decisions and take necessary precautions.

Event Updates

Storm Updates

During severe storms, up-to-date information is crucial for our safety and well-being. NOAA Weather Radios provide real-time storm updates, ensuring we are aware of significant developments and potential hazards associated with ongoing weather systems. These updates enable us to make informed decisions, take necessary shelter, or evacuate when required.

Severe Weather Updates

Not all storms are created equal, and NOAA Weather Radios make sure we receive specific updates on severe weather conditions. These updates provide detailed information on severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, and other hazardous weather events. By receiving these alerts, we can assess the severity of the weather and take appropriate actions to stay safe.

Emergency Management Updates

Emergency management updates play a vital role in coordinating response efforts during weather-related emergencies. NOAA Weather Radios relay these updates, allowing us to stay informed about local or regional emergency management decisions, evacuation orders, and resource allocation. Being aware of these updates enables us to cooperate effectively with emergency officials and follow their instructions for our safety.

Road Conditions Updates

Severe weather can greatly impact road conditions, making travel hazardous or even impossible. NOAA Weather Radios provide road conditions updates, informing us about closures, accidents, and other factors affecting travel on major roadways. By staying informed about road conditions, we can adjust our plans, avoid unnecessary travel, or find alternative routes to ensure our safety on the roads.

Evacuation Updates

In situations that require immediate evacuation, such as hurricanes or wildfires, NOAA Weather Radios broadcast evacuation updates. These updates provide essential information about evacuation routes, shelters, and any changes in evacuation orders. By receiving these alerts, we can act promptly and effectively to protect ourselves and our loved ones during potentially life-threatening situations.

Shelter Updates

During emergencies, knowing the location and availability of shelters can be crucial for our safety. NOAA Weather Radios deliver shelter updates, informing us about open shelters, their capacities, and any specific requirements or instructions. These updates enable us to make informed decisions about seeking shelter and finding the nearest available option during emergencies.

Power Outage Updates

Severe weather events can often lead to power outages, leaving us without electricity for extended periods. NOAA Weather Radios provide updates on power outages, keeping us informed about the restoration efforts and estimated timelines for power to be restored. By receiving these updates, we can plan accordingly, conserve resources, and take necessary measures to stay comfortable and safe during power outages.

Damage Reports

Understanding the extent of damage caused by severe weather is essential for recovery and relief efforts. NOAA Weather Radios deliver damage reports, providing information about the impact of weather-related emergencies such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or floods. By receiving these reports, communities and authorities can assess the situation, allocate resources effectively, and initiate appropriate response measures.

Weather Forecast Updates

Accurate and up-to-date weather forecasts play a critical role in our daily lives and decision-making. NOAA Weather Radios keep us informed about the latest weather forecast updates, providing details on expected weather conditions over the next few hours, days, or even weeks. By receiving these updates, we can plan our activities, make necessary preparations, and adapt to the expected weather patterns.

Event Cancellations and Reschedules

Severe weather events often lead to the cancellation or rescheduling of various events and activities. NOAA Weather Radios notify us about event cancellations or reschedules due to weather-related emergencies. By receiving these alerts, we can adjust our plans and avoid unnecessary risks or inconvenience associated with attending events that have been affected by severe weather.

Safety Tips and Preparedness

Evacuation Procedures

Knowing how to evacuate safely during emergencies is paramount to our well-being. NOAA Weather Radios provide essential information and guidance on evacuation procedures, including evacuation routes, assembly points, and what to bring in case of evacuation. By following these instructions, we can ensure a smooth and safe evacuation experience during critical situations.

Emergency Supplies Checklist

Being prepared for weather-related emergencies requires having essential supplies readily available. NOAA Weather Radios offer emergency supplies checklists, guiding us on the items we should have stocked in our emergency kits. These checklists typically include items such as non-perishable food, water, first aid kits, flashlights, batteries, and other necessary supplies. By following these checklists, we can ensure we have the resources needed to sustain ourselves during and after emergencies.

Emergency Contacts List

During emergencies, having a readily accessible list of important contacts is crucial. NOAA Weather Radios provide emergency contacts lists, which typically include local emergency management agencies, hospitals, police departments, and other vital organizations. By keeping this list readily available, we can quickly reach out to the appropriate authorities and resources when needed.

Emergency Plans

Having a well-thought-out emergency plan is essential for our safety and the safety of our loved ones. NOAA Weather Radios offer guidance on creating emergency plans, providing steps to develop a comprehensive strategy to address various weather-related emergencies. These plans typically include communication protocols, evacuation routes, meeting points, and contingency measures. By following these guidelines, we can ensure we are well-prepared and ready to respond effectively during emergencies.

First Aid Tips

Basic first aid knowledge can be lifesaving during emergencies when professional medical help is not immediately available. NOAA Weather Radios provide first aid tips and guidance, equipping us with essential knowledge on how to handle common injuries or medical conditions that may arise during weather-related emergencies. By familiarizing ourselves with these tips, we can provide vital assistance to ourselves and others when needed.

Sheltering Guidelines

When seeking shelter during emergencies, knowing how to stay safe and comfortable is essential. NOAA Weather Radios deliver sheltering guidelines, providing us with information on what to bring, how to set up a safe shelter space, and any specific considerations for certain weather events. By following these guidelines, we can optimize our experience in shelters and ensure our well-being during challenging situations.

Safety During Severe Weather

Understanding how to stay safe during severe weather events can make a significant difference in our well-being. NOAA Weather Radios offer safety tips specific to severe weather conditions, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, or hurricanes. These tips include seeking shelter, avoiding exposure to lightning, staying away from windows, and taking other necessary precautions to protect ourselves from potential dangers associated with severe weather.

Communication Strategies

Effective communication is essential during emergencies to ensure the safety of everyone involved. NOAA Weather Radios provide communication strategies, offering guidance on establishing effective communication channels with family members, neighbors, and emergency responders. These strategies help us coordinate actions, share information, and stay connected during weather-related emergencies.

Family Emergency Communication Plan

Having a comprehensive family emergency communication plan can be invaluable during emergencies, ensuring everyone knows what to do and where to go. NOAA Weather Radios offer guidance on creating a family emergency communication plan, helping us establish designated meeting points, communication protocols, and emergency contact information. By following these guidelines, we can ensure that our loved ones are accounted for and that we can reconnect in case of separation during emergencies.

Building Survival Kits

In addition to personal emergency kits, NOAA Weather Radios provide guidance on building survival kits specifically for our homes or workplaces. These survival kits include essential supplies like food, water, medications, and tools, ensuring that we have enough resources to sustain ourselves for an extended period when access to outside assistance might be limited or delayed. By following these recommendations, we can enhance our resilience and readiness during emergencies.

Radio Testing and Weekly Alert

Required Weekly Test (RWT)

To ensure the functionality and reliability of NOAA Weather Radios, a weekly test known as the Required Weekly Test (RWT) is conducted. This test allows for the verification of the system’s effectiveness and serves as an opportunity to keep communities informed about the availability of weather radio services. By conducting the RWT, NOAA Weather Radios ensure that they are functioning properly and ready to deliver important alerts when needed.

Monthly Test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) collaborates with NOAA Weather Radios to provide comprehensive emergency communication. As part of this collaboration, the Monthly Test of the Emergency Alert System is conducted to evaluate the performance of both systems. By conducting this test, NOAA Weather Radios ensure seamless integration with the EAS, guaranteeing the effective dissemination of emergency alerts to the public.

Other NOAA Services

Weather Forecasts

In addition to emergency alerts, NOAA Weather Radios provide up-to-date weather forecasts. These forecasts offer valuable information about temperature, precipitation, wind speeds, and other weather conditions. By receiving these forecasts, we can plan our activities, adjust our clothing or gear accordingly, and make informed decisions based on the expected weather patterns.

Tide Predictions

For coastal regions, understanding tidal patterns is highly important for activities such as boating, fishing, or beachgoing. NOAA Weather Radios provide tide predictions, informing us about the expected high and low tides. By knowing these predictions, we can plan our activities near the water, ensuring both safety and enjoyment.

Solar Forecasts

Solar forecasts are particularly relevant for solar energy users, such as homeowners with solar panels or solar power plants. NOAA Weather Radios offer solar forecasts, providing information about expected sunlight duration and intensity. By receiving these forecasts, solar energy users can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their systems, making informed decisions regarding energy consumption.

Space Weather Information

Space weather refers to the conditions in space that can impact Earth and its technological systems, such as satellites and power grids. NOAA Weather Radios provide space weather information, alerting us about solar flares, geomagnetic storms, or other space-related events that may affect our daily lives. By staying informed about space weather, we can take necessary precautions to protect vulnerable technological infrastructures and mitigate any potential disruptions.

Climate Data and Information

NOAA Weather Radios also serve as a valuable source of climate data and information. These radios provide updates on long-term climate trends, historical weather patterns, and climate change-related research. By receiving this information, we can gain a better understanding of the climate and its impact on our environment, enabling us to make informed decisions about our lifestyles and the future.

Weather Satellite Imagery

Utilizing advanced technology, NOAA Weather Radios have access to weather satellite imagery. These radios deliver real-time or near-real-time satellite imagery, allowing us to visualize weather systems, cloud cover, and other atmospheric conditions. By receiving this imagery, we can develop a better understanding of the weather and make informed decisions based on the visual representation of current conditions.

Marine Forecasts

For boaters, fishermen, and other mariners, accurate marine forecasts are crucial for safe navigation and planning. NOAA Weather Radios provide marine forecasts, offering information about wind speeds, wave heights, and weather conditions specific to lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. By receiving these forecasts, mariners can make informed decisions about their activities on the water and ensure their safety.

River Forecasts

NOAA Weather Radios offer river forecasts, which are particularly relevant for communities located near rivers and waterways. These forecasts provide information about expected water levels, flow rates, and potential flooding. By receiving these forecasts, riverfront communities can make necessary preparations, evacuate if needed, and minimize the risks associated with riverine flooding.

Wildfire Information

Regions prone to wildfires heavily rely on NOAA Weather Radios for wildfire information. These radios provide updates on ongoing wildfires, wildfire risks, and fire behavior analysis. By receiving this information, residents and emergency responders can stay informed about wildfire activity, coordinate response efforts, and make informed decisions regarding evacuation or containment strategies.

Air Quality Index

Air quality is a crucial factor in maintaining good health, and NOAA Weather Radios offer the Air Quality Index (AQI). This index provides information about air quality conditions, including levels of pollutants such as particulate matter, ozone, and carbon monoxide. By receiving the AQI, we can adjust our outdoor activities, particularly for individuals with respiratory conditions or other sensitivities to poor air quality.

Storm Surge Information

Coastal areas facing the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms need specific information on storm surge potential. NOAA Weather Radios provide storm surge information, informing residents about the expected height and impact of storm surges during these weather events. By receiving this information, coastal communities can make appropriate preparations, evacuate if necessary, and reduce the risks associated with storm surges.


NOAA Weather Radios play an indispensable role in keeping us informed and safe during a wide range of weather-related emergencies. By broadcasting emergency alerts, non-emergency information, and event updates, these radios ensure that we receive timely and accurate information to make informed decisions. Additionally, NOAA Weather Radios provide valuable safety tips and preparedness guidance, enabling us to be proactive in preparing for emergencies. The efficiency of the NOAA Weather Radio system is evident in the countless lives saved and the preparedness of communities across the United States. As more individuals and communities utilize these radios, we enhance our collective ability to respond to weather-related emergencies and build a more resilient nation.