MADISON, Wis. -- This summer’s storm season is on the way to becoming a record-setting year for tornadoes in Wisconsin with a reported 30 sightings, well above the state’s average of 21 tornadoes per year. Buying a NOAA Weather Radio now would be an investment in your family’s safety, whenever severe weather threatens.
NOAA Weather Radios broadcast National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts and severe weather warnings and watches 24-hours a day on the radio network of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the parent agency of NWS. During life-threatening weather conditions, the NOAA Weather Radios send out a special alarm tone to signal a watch or warning, at any time of the day or night and whether or not you were listening to the broadcast, to alert you and your family to take appropriate safety measures.
Early warning is critical because weather can turn deadly very fast. So far this summer, a tornado caused one death in Wisconsin. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of one of Wisconsin’s deadliest tornadoes, the Barneveld Tornado that killed nine people and injured 200 on June 8, 1984.
The alert signal from a NOAA Weather Radio acts as an alarm to make you aware of severe weather and is followed by the advisory. Here’s what to listen for:
- Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms and possible warnings.
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to know when warnings are issued.
- Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Seek shelter IMMEDIATELY!!!
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
Every home should have a NOAA Weather Radio, just as all homes should have one or more smoke detectors. The radios cost between $30 to $70 at most stores that sell electronic devices. When purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio, make sure it has seven channels, a warning alert feature and battery backup. Special models and attachments can also be purchased for the hearing and visually impaired.
In addition, some of the higher-priced radios have Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology that lets listeners pre-select the alerts they want to receive, based on the county where they live. NOAA Weather Radios also come in a variety of sizes and that are portable which are perfect for the summer cabin or boat.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.