Right now, as you read this, the National Weather Service is broadcasting the latest weather conditions and forecasts for your area, commercial-free, 24 hours a day via NOAA Weather Radio. At the same time, there are thousands of similar stations coast to coast working tirelessly to keep the rest of the nation updated on their upcoming weather conditions as well. I make sure I spend some time each day listening to these broadcasts, yet at the same time I wonder how many people do too. In listening to NOAA Weather Radio, I have begun to develop a deep appreciation for this valuable service I feel that too many people often ignore.
I think the only time people do tune in is when severe weather threatens their area. I live in South Florida myself, an area familiar with thunderstorms, tornadoes and of course, hurricanes. When such weather strikes, I can be sure there will be advisories and warnings in active circulation on the weather radio airwaves.
When threatening weather approaches, there’s no doubt that people will purchase a weather radio while shopping for emergency supplies. Once the storm passes, the radios most likely end up hidden in storage or sitting on the shelf collecting dust, and that’s a shame. Even during calmer weather it’s still worth tuning in for current weather conditions and temperatures. Here in Florida, there’s information on tides, sunrise and sunset times, observations of marine conditions and even the water levels of Lake Okeechobee. In the evening hours there are reports on the times of the highest and lowest temperatures of the day as well as record temperatures from the years past. It’s interesting listening.
I remember when weather radio had human announcers sounding like they were talking through a CB radio but those days are gone. Nowadays computers do the talking through text-to-speech synthesis. I’m grateful the technology has evolved to the point where it’s possible to understand what the synthesized voices are saying.
These days it’s easy to be overly critical and spiteful of all the government does, but the services provided by NOAA are truly valuable and deserve greater appreciation.