NOAA 03-R288
Contact: Pat Slattery
NOAA News Releases 2003
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather Radio triggered the process that led to the safe return of a kidnaped teenager in Kentucky on Thursday. In Kentucky, NOAA Weather Radio activates Amber Alerts broadcast through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to television stations. In this case, the alert rebroadcast on television resulted in the teen kidnap victim being freed less than two hours after abduction. It was Kentucky’s first use of the Amber Alert system. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

State emergency management officials called the National Weather Service Office at 9 a.m. to relay the Amber Alert information and abductor descriptions. NWS officials issued a NOAA Weather Radio Amber Alert through the EAS that warned Louisville television stations which rebroadcast the information and led to the safe return of the kidnaped 16-year-old girl from Shelbyville, Ky. The alert provided detailed descriptions of the girl and the two suspects, including their physical characteristics, and a description of their clothes and vehicle, as well as a possible license plate number.

According to news reports, the abductors saw the Amber Alert that included their descriptions on television which led them to free the girl. The alert was lifted at 11:15 a.m., about 30 minutes after the girl was freed by her captors and walked to a house to report she was the person being sought in the alert.

“NOAA Weather Radio has always provided warnings of approaching dangerous weather; this is a good example of a new capability and how this system can save lives through Amber Alerts and other types of warnings,” said National Weather Service Central Region Director Dennis McCarthy in his Kansas City office.

Kentucky State Police Spokeswoman Lt. Lisa Rudzinksi was quoted by the Louisville Courier Journal as saying, “We are very pleased with the first (Amber Alert) activation ... We really can’t do this much faster. We did it as fast as capabilities allowed.”

Additional information about NOAA Weather Radio may be found on the Internet at

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 U.S. Department of Commerce.