NOAA Weather Radio

Mark Trail would never go out in Lost Forest or anywhere else without a NOAA Weather Radio


The NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) system broadcasts pre-event warnings and post-event information for all types of public hazards such as weather (hurricane, tornado, dam breach, flood), natural (earthquake, forest fires), technological (chemical release, oil spill), and national emergencies (nuclear, biological, chemical). The NOAA Weather Radio system is the most reliable, effective, single source available to the public for comprehensive weather and emergency information.

For a small investment NWR will warn you of approaching severe weather and other fast-breaking emergency situations. Weather Radios, like smoke detectors, alert people even while they’re sleeping to possibly hazardous situations.

Broadcast coverage is almost 100% in Maine. Weather Alert Radio are useful travel accessories since they receive constantly updated local weather information that NWR broadcasts around the clock.

There are many manufacturers of Weather Alert Radios, offering a variety of models, features, and prices. All Weather Alert Radios include two basic capabilities: battery back up operation and a “set it and forget it” emergency alert mode. When a warning is issued, the National Weather service broadcasts a special tone that causes all Weather Alert Radios to sound a loud ten-second alert tone. The Weather Radio is then turned on to hear the broadcast. Some of the more expensive models can be set to automatically go to the voice message when an alert is transmitted. There are also models with an alarm out jack that allow the Weather Alert Radio to be tied into some home security systems.

For a slightly higher cost, weather alert radio models are available with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME). This feature allows the user to limit weather radio alerts to only those that affect a specific area, and to choose which hazards will activate the Weather Radio alert tone. Add-on accessories are available for the deaf or hearing impaired, such as pillow vibrators, bed shakers, and strobe lights.

For about $60.00 a pair, one could have a battery operated models, with belt clips, that have both SAME and Family Radio Service (FRS) capability. FRS allows for two-way voice communication of up to ten miles between all FRS radios that are set to the same channel.

Purchase Considerations:

  • What is the range of the model? Lower priced models may not pull in stations that are further away. This may be okay if the Weather Alert Radio will be permanently located in an area with a strong signal.
  • Do you need an additional antenna to increase reception?
  • If a battery-operated model, are the batteries easily found types (AA, 9-volt)?
  • Does the model have jacks for an external antenna and AC/DC adapter?
  • Will you need to purchase additional accessories and will the model you choose accommodate them?

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