NOAA 2000-211
Contact: Keli Tarp


The recent tornadoes in Georgia proved when severe weather strikes, especially during the night, a NOAA Weather Radio can save your life. Today, one community announced a new program to make NOAA Weather Radio ownership more common among its residents.

"Operation Warn," an initiative to make available 100,000 specially-priced NOAA Weather Radios to Oklahoma City area residents by the end of 2002, was announced today by project coordinators from the Oklahoma City Emergency Management, Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency Management and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service.

"Following the nighttime tornadoes in Georgia earlier this week, and in Oklahoma last May, people credited the advanced warning received from their NOAA Weather Radios with saving their lives," said Dennis McCarthy, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service Norman, Okla. Forecast Office, which provides warnings and forecasts for central and western Oklahoma and part of north Texas.

The NWS released statistics this week showing three nighttime tornadoes since 1998 have claimed nearly 100 lives. According to the NWS, between 85 to 95 percent of Americans can receive NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts, however only 5 to 10 percent actually own a NOAA Weather Radio.

According to McCarthy, "NOAA Weather Radios with alarms are the surest way to protect your family. We encourage everyone to equip their homes, schools, businesses and public places with this life-saving device. We want to make NOAA Weather Radios as common as smoke detectors," he said.

NOAA Weather Radios with new digital technology called Specific Area Message Encoding and battery back-up system can provide early warning of severe weather in the immediate area, especially during the night, alerting residents to turn to commercial televisions and radios for more information.

Continuous weather information, including life-saving messages such as severe weather watches and warnings, is broadcast directly to the national network's special radio receivers 24 hours a day. SAME technology allows the NOAA Weather Radio to receive a tone alarm signal, triggering a built-in alarm to sound and the radio to turn itself on, providing listeners with severe weather announcements for the county where they live.