NOAA Radio Outages Across Oklahoma

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) experienced a crisis of their own Sunday when their weather radios went out of service throughout Oklahoma. The outage was caused when a fiber cable was cut near Wayne, OK. Although the service was restored early Monday, Oklahoma residents were unable to hear any type of weather warnings from the radio.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Norman reported that Level II radar data remained unavailable for sites in Tulsa, OK and Fort Smith, Arkansas throughout Monday. Additionally, another outage was reported in Booneville, Mississippi on Sunday.

Although the radios were down, NWS of Norman continued to keep residents updated via their Twitter page; posting real-time updates of the outage. The account also updated followers of any weather updates.

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Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong; and usually at an inconvenient time. The radio outage came at a tough time because a large portion of the area continues to deal with widespread flooding. As of today, the effected radios have been restored.

View an updated map of all radio shortages across the country here.

What is NOAA Weather Radio?

NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from National Weather Service (NWS) offices across the country. The broadcasts include warnings, watches, forecasts, current weather observations and other hazard information, 24 hours a day. Working with the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Alert System, NOAA Weather Radio is an “all hazards” radio network, making it the single source for the most comprehensive weather and emergency information available to the public. It broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – both natural (such as tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis) and technological (such as chemical releases or oil spills). NOAA Weather Radio will also be used to broadcast AMBER alerts for missing children.

Known as the “Voice of the National Weather Service,” the NOAA Weather Radio network has more than 750 transmitters, covering nearly 90% of the 50 states, along with the adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts in the VHF public service band (between 162.400 and 162.550 megahertz (MHz)) and hence you need a special radio receiver or scanner in order to pick up the signal.

Secondary Communication

Due to the outage, NOAA weather radio listeners had to stay informed by other means. Other outlets to receive information when another outage occurs include:

  • Social Media Tools like Facebook and Twitter
    • Follow your local NOAA/NWS Twitter and Facebook accounts to receive updates for local areas.
  • NOAA website
  • NWS website
  • Local radio and television broadcast
  • Be aware of your surroundings
    • If you live or work in an area prone to tornadoes, know the physical warning signs and weather characteristics that preface a storm.

As always, be prepared for any disaster that strikes. PREDICT.PLAN.PERFORM.®

PREDICT– Understand the vulnerabilities, threats and impacts and crisis can have on your organization.

PLAN– Develop policies, processes and procedures prior to a crisis occurring.

PERFORM– Implement viable solutions, training and testing.



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