Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
National Weather Service
November 16, 2006
Southeast Tornadoes Remind Oklahomans of Need for NOAA Weather Radios
The latest round of tornadoes and severe weather in the nation?s Southeast, including Louisiana and North Carolina, should serve as a reminder to Oklahomans that a NOAA Weather Radio should be part of everyone?s preparedness plan, officials with the National Weather Service (NWS) and Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) said today.
The same storm system that earlier this week brought damaging winds to parts of Oklahoma, also delivered severe weather to the Southeast. Since Tuesday night, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms tracked through parts of several states causing deaths and numerous injuries. In some cases, victims were sleeping and likely did not have access to other weather warning sources, like television broadcasts or outdoor warning sirens.
?It?s critical that you have multiple ways to get life-saving weather warnings no matter where you are or what time of day it is,? said OEM Director Albert Ashwood. ?Tornadoes can strike in any month, and at any time of day in Oklahoma and NOAA weather radios broadcast severe weather warning and watch information as well as Emergency Alert System notifications 24 hours a day,? he added.
Weather radios are a first line of defense, explained Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS Office at Norman. ?They provide that initial warning message which lets us know to take immediate action to protect lives and property. When the warning alarm sounds on the weather radio, that?s your cue to go find additional information,? Smith said.
Weather radio technology has improved in recent years. Today, weather radios can be programmed to only provide warnings for select counties and are especially valuable when individuals are asleep and not paying attention to other weather information sources. ?If your home has a smoke detector, it should also have a NOAA Weather Radio,? Smith added
While this latest tragedy reminds us of the need for tornado warnings, at this time of year we must realize that the possibility of dangerous winter weather is also right around the corner, explained Ashwood. ?The good news is the same weather radio you depend on in the spring and fall for tornado, severe thunderstorm and flood warnings will also keep you informed when it comes to inclement winter weather,? he added.