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NOAA WEATHER RADIO 2025: THE FIFTY YEAR MILESTONE

TextBRUCE JONES - METEOROLOGIST

In January of 1975 President Gerald Ford signed the paperwork designating NOAA Weather Radio “America’s official federal warning system”. Almost fifty years later, the 24/7/365 transmitters of the world’s premier radio alert system are still serving millions of Americans.

Although 2025 will mark an official “silver anniversary” milestone, America’s weather radio network goes back more than seventy years. The first weather radio transmitter went on the air in 1951, providing weather information to pilots flying in and out of LaGuardia Field in New York. During the 1960’s and early 70’s these transmitters (fewer than 75) became public weather forecasting and alerting stations, and five years after President Ford’s designation, the NOAA Weather Radio Network grew to more than 300 transmitters.

Today the network’s 1,033 transmitters send signals to 94% of the US population in all fifty states and five US territories. That means more than 300 million people are capable of hearing NOAA Weather Radio and utilizing its instantaneous alerts to save their lives and protect their property - but only if they have a weather radio!

As a meteorologist I have spent the majority of my life imploring people to get one of these inexpensive gizmos and put it to use. My passion for weather radio is based upon both heartbreaking and heartwarming stories from people who did not have a weather radio and suffered loss and mourning, and those who credit their lives to the alert they heard via their little radio.

Amazingly, the average human does not always do what they know is best for them. Whether it’s more exercise, healthier eating, or being prepared for severe weather, 75% of people prefer to procrastinate or do nothing. As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador I urge you to spread the word about NOAA Weather Radio and encourage more people to protect themselves and their families. Here are some talking points you can use:

·    Everyone needs multiple ways to get warnings in case something fails. It happens a lot!

·     Weather radio is a direct alert from your local National Weather Service office. It’s the only direct-source alert system. Everything else (including your phone) is secondary.

·     Public Alert-certified radios are designed to make sure you wake up, and to alert the blind, deaf, and hard-of-hearing.

·     That outdoor siren in your neighborhood is there to warn you only when you are standing outside. Inside your house, rely on NOAA Weather Radio.

·     Streaming on Hulu, Disney+, Netflix? Playing a video game or watching an old DVD? Better have a weather radio to alert you. The TV won’t.

    Thank you for reading this post, and for taking this safety message with you. Now, please do you part.  Share it whenever and wherever you can because NOAA Weather Radio Saves Lives!