NOAA 2002-060
Contact: Jordan St. John
NOAA News Releases 2002
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Program Will Expand Life Saving System Coverage in Rural and Remote Areas

The NOAA Weather Radio emergency alert effort got a big boost May 13 as President George W. Bush signed into law the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. A portion of the bill authorizes the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a grant program that will increase weather warning coverage in remote and rural areas by reimbursing 75 percent of the cost of NOAA Weather Radio transmitters.

"This is an important step in the continuing effort to bring this potentially life saving system, NOAA Weather Radio, within the reach of more of our citizens," said Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., U.S. Navy (ret.), the undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

Provided as a public service by the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from NOAA's National Weather Service. The system provides official warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day.

"This coordinated program by local communities, USDA and NOAA is a great example of effective government partnerships working for our citizens," said National Weather Service Director Brig. Gen. Jack Kelly USAF (ret.). "Through the USDA's Rural Utilities Service NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter Grant Program, we are seeing urgently needed transmitters going in around the country."

"This expansion significantly increases our ability to reach the community directly with vital warnings. When you don't have a radio or TV turned on, having a seven band NOAA Weather Radio with an alarm helps you protect your family, yourself and your property," added Kelly.

Working with the Federal Communication 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. NOAA Weather Radio also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards - both natural (such as earthquake and volcano activity) and environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills). The network has more than 670 transmitters in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories.

For more information about NOAA and NOAA Weather Radio please visit and For additional information on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its programs visit