What is NOAA Weather Radio?
NOAA Weather Radio Frequencies
The “weather band”, or frequency range from 162.400 MHz through 162.550 MHz, is where you’ll find the NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts. NOAA weather radio stations do require a special weather radio receiver and cannot be found on the standard AM/FM dial. Broadcast frequencies (MHz) include 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525, and 162.550. A Nationwide NOAA Weather Radio station listing is available online.
Resource: WxObservation’s Weather Radio Reviews
Many of today’s best NOAA weather radios will provide an alert during an emergency, often sounding an alarm. Additionally, there is a specific digital signal, called SAME for Specific Area Message Encoding that allows you to program your SAME-enabled weather radio to receive weather alerts specific to your geographical area. Here are instructions from the National Weather Service on how to program a noaa weather radio.
Many digital billboard companies as well as highway message boards also now use the SAME technology codes to reproduce the warnings on their digital boards to further warn local citizens of both weather related and non-weather related warnings and alerts.
NOAA Radio Online
Many have inquired to find out if you can find NOAA radio online somewhere to listen to. Yes, there are places that stream some of the frequencies, but they aren’t always available or reliable. In addition, it can be hard to find a NOAA radio stream from a specific area. Here are a couple websites that offer streams so that you can listen live. There are also local websites that stream local NOAA frequencies, but there are too many of them to list here.
NOAA Weather Radio App
There are NOAA Weather Radio apps for your smart phone, and yes, they do make them for both IOS and Android. Note, these are published by 3rd party individuals and not sanctioned NOAA products. The offer streams of actual NOAA broadcasts, push weather alerts, and animated radar maps. However, I have the same issues with the apps that I do with the streams online, they aren’t reliable and you can’t consistently get broadcasts for all areas of the country.
I do not recommend trying to rely on the NOAA radio online streams when there is bad weather! When the power goes out or your cell coverage is degraded by the storm, you could lose connection. The best way to ensure uninterrupted coverage to NOAA weather radio is through an actual radio that contains backup batteries or a hand crank for times of power loss.
Standard Weather Broadcasts
When there are no warnings, watches, or special safety alerts to broadcast, what does NOAA Weather Radio do? NWR standard broadcasts include an hourly weather observation report. This observation consists of current weather conditions including temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, the dew point, and current sky conditions.
In closing, it’s important to note that weather radios are relatively inexpensive, even when enabled with SAME technology. Additionally, the broadcasts cycle every few minutes 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are free. There are no subscriptions required, so they are accessible to almost anyone. Although they might not be used by all of us often, it is a good idea to look into having one around in case of an emergency. Who knows, someday the safety of your family might depend on a NOAA weather radio. Weather radio apps and online streams are fun to listen to and can be helpful during a storm, but please don’t rely solely upon them for your safety. There is no replacement for a real, physical weather radio with batteries for a backup power source.