Week of Severe Weather Should Remind Oklahomans of Need for a NOAA Weather Radio

News Release

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

National Weather Service

May 14, 2010

Contact: Michelann Ooten, OEM; 405-521-2481 office, 405-205-1879 mobile

Rick Smith, NWS Norman; 405-325-3395

Week of Severe Weather Should Remind Oklahomans of Need for a NOAA Weather Radio

The latest round of tornadoes and severe weather should serve as a reminder to Oklahomans that a NOAA All Hazards Weather Alert 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.

Since Monday, Oklahoma has been pummeled with deadly tornadoes, straight line winds, and baseball and softball sized hail.  Forecasts through the weekend call for steady rainfall and possible flooding especially in the southeast.

“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 at any time of day in Oklahoma and NOAA weather radios broadcast severe weather warning and watch information 24 hours a day,” he added.

Weather radios, with their ability to provide Emergency Alert System notifications including hazardous materials releases, earthquakes and AMBER alerts, mark 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. Moreover, because weather radios include a battery back-up system, you are guaranteed continuous notification during power outages.

Early warning is critical to protecting lives. Relying on outdoor warning sirens is not an adequate plan since they may not be heard inside homes and businesses or at night when everyone is sleeping.

“Just as your home has a smoke detector, it should also have a NOAA Weather Radio,” Smith added