August 22, 2019

As America’s official warning service, an all-hazards weather radio is an emergency alert device that warns when you are in a life-threatening emergency, whether it’s natural or man-made. When programmed to your county location and set to monitor your designated weather radio transmitter, a weather radio acts as a silent sentinel, constantly monitoring the broadcast from your local forecast office. For weather-related emergencies like tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, and hurricane storm surge warnings, there is no faster way to receive them, as they come to you the moment they are issued.

Types of Events that Alert Your All -Hazards Weather Radio

types of all hazard alerts wildfire hurricane and lightening


In addition, your all-hazards radio will also instantly warn you for a variety of non-weather emergencies declared by your city, county, state, or federal emergency manager. Here is a partial list of (mainly) non-weather alerts that will automatically activate a weather radio, and their example scenarios:

    • Boil Water Warning: water supply is possibly contaminated. Boil water before using.

    • Civil Danger Warning: Major accident, or military/terrorist attack is underway or imminent.

    • Civil Emergency Message: Large local event (widespread power outage, widespread icy roads).

    • Local Area Emergency: Smaller-scale event that may not be immediately dangerous, but could become so (threat of icy roads, scheduled utility outage).

    • High Wind Warning: Straight-line winds of greater than hurricane force are expected (73 MPH+).

    • Extreme Wind Warning: Straight-line winds of greater than 115 MPH are expected.

    • Evacuation Immediate: Mandatory evacuation due to wildfire, hurricane, flooding, or imminent danger due to gas, chemical, or radioactive substance.

    • Shelter-in-Place Warning: Do not evacuate your area, but instead shelter inside your current location.

    • Tsunami Warning: Tsunami expected at or near your location. If by the ocean, move to higher ground.

    • Wildfire Warning: Grass or forest fire approaching.

    • Fire Warning: Natural cover, industrial or building fire affecting the area.

    • Nuclear Power Plant Warning: Significant event occurring, or possible, at a nuclear power facility.

  • “Unrecognized” Warning, Watch or Emergency: Newer messages such as Storm Surge Watch, Storm Surge Warning, and Snow Squall Warning have recently been added, and more could come in the future.

Until you upgrade to the latest model emergency weather radio, your radio will display these as “unrecognized” messages, but will sound the alert tone and audibly broadcast their information in the same manner as all other alerts. Newer radios will be able to display the messages as “Storm Surge Warning”, etc. In the meantime, you will receive the message in its entirety, but it will display as “unrecognized”.

Some of these warnings may be more relevant to you than others. Midland's desktop weather radios feature editable alerts, so you can silence or disable a variety of alerts that you would no longer like to hear. However, there are critical alerts that you cannot disable like the tornado warning alert, for example.

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