Methods and equipment to improve awareness of weather emergencies.
NOAA weather radio with SAME technology. These can be purchased for approximately $60 each. The weather radio can be programmed to respond to severe weather alerts for specific counties. These receivers include a battery backup system for use during a power failure. The Kalamazoo area NOAA transmitter broadcasts on 162.475MHz. The SAME code for Kalamazoo County is 026077.
EMWIN or Emergency Managers Weather Information Network, is a weather data stream that is broadcast to the public via internet, satellite, or radio. The data is translated by a computer to text based watches and warnings. Several types of alarms can be triggered by the computer. The EMWIN radio transmitter for this area is on 150.500MHz and is located in Battle Creek, Michigan. Internet and satellite broadcasts are sent at a higher data rate than the radio circuit. The radio circuit is very useful for areas that do not have dedicated internet or satellite access. Several EMWIN software packages are available for around $50. INTERWARN www.interwarn.com will support internet, satellite, and/or radio with the appropriate hardware. There is no monthly charge for this service. http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/emwin/index.htm
Weatherbug www.weatherbug.com is a free, internet based weather warning system that can run in the background of your computer. This program is useful if you have dedicated internet access. The warnings may be slower to arrive than from EMWIN or NOAA weather radio.
VHF scanners are available in the $75-$100 price range. They are useful to receive SKYWARN severe weather nets via amateur radio. Trained ham radio weather spotters observe and report threatening weather conditions to the National Weather Service over amateur radio networks. The Kalamazoo area Skywarn repeater is on 147.000MHz. Local fire department radio channels are sometimes worth listening to for weather information.
IWIN http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/mi/mi.html is a web-based source for accurate weather information. http:/nk8x.net is another site.
The emergency email network can email severe weather alerts. Their url is http://www.emergencyemail.org/
Local television stations often put their weather radar online.
Broadcast AM/FM stations will transmit Emergency Alert System messages when severe weather is reported. The primary EAS station for this area is WKFR on 103.3MHz FM.
The Kalamazoo County Weather Warning system is a public safety based system to warn local governments of severe weather. The approximate cost of hardware to receive this broadcast is $600.
There are various radar display programs available for purchase. GRLevelX, and Stormlab are popular.
There are more weather warning systems including high cost subscription services. This list is representative of tools available at a reasonable cost.
The more “tools” you have available, the less likely you are to be without sufficient weather information. More information can be found online at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/grr/index.php or my site at www.nk8x.net .