Contact: James Scarlett and Marilu Trainor
NOAA News Releases 2003
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When severe weather threatens, residents of Broadus can now receive vital information from their NOAA Weather Radio thanks to a new transmitter that was dedicated today at the Powder River County Courthouse. The transmitter, located five miles west of Broadus, will help residents stay on top of approaching storm activity with a direct link to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) in Billings, Mont. NOAA is an agency of the Department of Commerce.

NOAA Weather Radio, “the Voice of the National Weather Service,” is a live 24-hour source of weather forecasts and warnings broadcast directly from NWS offices. The NOAA Weather Radio network has more than 800 transmitters, covering all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and U.S. Pacific Territories.

"This NOAA Weather Radio transmitter helps us reach those who live, work or participate in recreation activities in southeastern Montana. The public now has direct access to the vital watches and warnings for severe winter weather, tornadoes or significant rain events. This new weather radio service will help listeners to get the most current weather information,” said Keith Meier, meteorologist-in-charge of the Billings forecast office.

Participating in the ceremony was Norm Parrent, Montana District IV Dept. of Emergency Services (Miles City), and Dave Lancaster, disaster and emergency services coordinator for Powder River County. Representing Mid-Rivers Communications was John Lutter, Network Engineering Manager, and Erin Lutts, Economic Development, Grant and Loan Writing.

The Broadus transmitter is located in the county seat of Powder River County and was installed in early May. The Powder River County Commission purchased and donated the transmitter to the NWS while the Mid-Rivers Telephone Cooperative donated tower space. The NWS is paying for the power. After testing, the NWS announced the new service and completed the commissioning process in late May. Residents in and around Broadus, including those in Powder River and Carter Counties, can tune into 162.425 MHz. for the broadcasts.

“This NOAA Weather Radio has already warned residents on several hail storms in June and early July,” said James Scarlett, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “This new weather radio service was made possible through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service grant program.”

Scarlett added, “NOAA Weather Radio allows us to send weather statements and warnings straight from the forecaster to the public in an effort to save lives and property, often saving five to 10 minutes or more.” He said he continues to receive positive feedback from residents, who say having earlier notification of impending storms and clear reception due to the new transmitter is helpful in their day-to-day activities.

Meier also noted that many ranchers and farmers have commented that they appreciate the capability to tune into weather radio broadcasts. “In some farm tractors equipped to receive the NWR signal, the farmers now have the ability to know about the upcoming storms. This is very key information when they are in the fields all day. I’ve also been told local merchants have sold out twice of available NOAA weather radios in Broadus. The word is getting around that this new service is available and people in all walks of life in this rural area want to have access to weather information,” he said.

Weather radios come in many sizes, with a variety of functions and costs. Some receivers automatically sound an alarm and turn themselves on if a severe weather warning is broadcast and can be programmed to warn for weather and civil emergencies in only your county. Most NOAA Weather Radio receivers are either battery-operated portables or AC-powered desktop models with battery backup. Some scanners, HAM radios, CB radios, short wave receivers, and AM/FM radios also are capable of receiving NOAA Weather Radio transmissions. Weather radios can be purchased at many electronics stores.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

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