NOAA Weather Radio broadcast returning ahead of severe storm season

The Cullman County EMA and NOAA recently announced that the NOAA Weather Radio broadcast is once again available to residents of Cullman County. (National Weather Service)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the  “big gun” of the United States when it comes to tracking, predicting and preparing for severe weather and severe weather warnings. Its National Weather Service is responsible for issuing watches, warnings and alerts throughout the country. An emergency radio broadcast is available to all individuals for free, through a NOAA weather radio. For some time, that broadcast has been unavailable to Cullman residents, but Cullman County EMA and NOAA recently announced that the NOAA Weather Radio broadcast is once again available to local residents.

Cullman County EMA Director Tim Sartin said he is pleased with the renewal of the broadcast because the alerts can potentially save lives and at the very least, prevent potential harm. While the broadcast does share weather information on a typical day, sharing forecasts, climate information and current weather conditions, in the case of any severe weather, normal programming will automatically be interrupted by a severe weather warning. And, if a weather radio is connected to a power source but turned off, the radio will still alert the owner and announce the warning.

“It’s a free service; the only charge involved is the weather radio itself,” said Sartin. “You will get all the alerts of local tornado, flood and thunderstorm warnings and watches. Any major weather event the National Weather Service puts out, they broadcast over that frequency as well.”

Severe weather alerts are paramount and can save precious time in the moments before a potentially catastrophic severe weather event. During storm season, preparation is key, according to Sartin.

“I always suggest that people get a weather radio that can be operated without a plug-in outlet; battery and solar powered radios are an excellent option for homes and storm shelters,” he said.  “I also suggest for those that may head to a storm shelter to have a go-bag with the essentials like important documents, phone numbers and emergency medications – is there a medication that if you don’t have access to for six hours that you’ll need to go to the hospital? Making a plan for pets is important, too. Where will your pets go in the event of severe weather? It’s always better to have a plan.”

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