Gardening Fast Facts: NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio is a service provided to us by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It broadcasts local weather conditions, warns us of severe storms, and issues marine and agricultural weather. There are over 560 stations around the United States (most states have several stations), and on your local station, you can receive these broadcasts 24 hours a day. The information is on tape and repeats every four to six minutes, and is updated every hour or so.

NOAA Weather Radio operates on a high frequency (162.40 MHz to 162.55 MHz) so you won't be able to tune in with your regular radio. Instead, you'll have to buy one that can receive weather band. There are also special radios that receive weather band only. These radios are small and convenient and usually have a large on-off button so you can quickly check the local forecast before you head off to work or school. The radios on the market today have a warning receiver built into them so that they automatically sound an alarm when NOAA announces an impending natural disaster or nuclear attack. To buy a weather radio, stop by your local radio/TV electronic shop (such as Radio Shack), or check out NOAA's list of places that carry residential and commercial grade receivers, and keep your umbrella handy.

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