GREENSBORO, N.C. --
A viewer recently emailed WFMY News 2 Chief Meteorologist Grant Gilmore and said that they were looking to
purchase a Weather Radio as a gift and wanted to know what
kind he recommended.
Below is a response from Grant to anyone who is considering purchasing a weather radio:
First off I will say right off the bat that I recommend ANY
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio
and giving it as a gift is a great way to give something that could
potentially save somebody's life.
The first thing you'll want to make sure of when purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio is that it is actually a "NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards"
Weather Radio. I've seen some knock off 'Weather Radios' that advertise
as giving weather conditions, but don't actually alert you when the
National Weather Service issues weather alerts. The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR)
is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous
weather information from the nearest National Weather Service Office.
For us in the Piedmont Triad that could be Raleigh, NC, Greenville, SC or Blacksburg, VA.
The great thing about NWR is that it broadcasts warning and post-event
information for all types of hazards including natural events such as
earthquakes, environmental accidents and public safety issues. There
are seven frequencies that are consistent throughout all 50 states ,
adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the
U.S. Pacific Territories transmitted from 1,000 transmitters. So, once
you own a NOAA Weather Radio you can receive alert information anywhere
in the U.S.
So, what NOAA Weather Radio do you purchase? Ultimately it is up to
you and how you think you will get the most out of it. Buy something
that you think you (or who you are buying for) will use. So often people
buy a NOAA Weather Radio and it just ends up sitting in the corner...
collecting dust. A dusty, unplugged NOAA Weather Radio cannot and will
not save your life. The reason many people end up storing the radio in
the corner is because it alerts for every single weather alert seemingly
within a 100 mile radius. This occurs when you purchase one of the more
economical radios. They are still effective, but they simply scan the
seven frequencies for alerts. So, anytime there is an alert on anyone of
the those frequencies you'll get it.
Enter S.A.M.E. Technology:
S.A.M.E. stands for Specific Area Message Encoding
and if you have a Weather Radio equipped with this technology it will
allow you to program the alerts to only sound for your area. I highly
recommend paying the extra money for a radio that has the S.A.M.E.
technology because this ensures that you only receive the alerts for
your area. These radios require a little programming, but most radios
come with good instruction manuals for how to program them. Here is a
list of S.A.M.E. codes for North Carolina.
In addition to the basic Hazards Alert function, different radios
come equipped with an array of additional features such as, power
cranks, solar power panels, AM/FM Radios, cell phone charges, etc... The
more add on's usually means the more $$ that you will end up paying. But
again, buy something that you'll use!!
WHAT TO BUY:
You can purchase a basic Midland NOAA Weather Radio at your local
corner drug store. I know Walgreens and CVS usually have them. The basic
Midland NOAA Weather Radio will usually cost around $20.
If you want to go for the S.A.M.E Technology of the Midland NOAA
Weather radio it runs for around $50, but I have seen it on sale for as
low as $35.
I also recently came across this Sangean's compact Table-Top S.A.M.E.
Weather Alert Radio. It's a little more expensive, but looks like it
might be worth it. This version costs around $70.
If you search online you can find radios at places like Radio Shack,
Cabela's, Bass Pro Shop, Walmart and other outdoor/electronic stores.
You can also find some good radios online at the Red Cross store. You
will find a good assortment of radios online, but remember to keep an
eye out for the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards and if you prefer the
I'm always interested to hear what type of radio people purchase and
what they think of it after it has been used. So, let me know!
If you have any questions about weather radios please don't hesitate to ask. Send Grant an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on facebook or twitter.