NWS explores ways to back up weather radios

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The NOAA weather radio transmitter in Huntsville is offline again. Last time this happened was November 29, when an EF-2 tornado passed close by the transmitter site causing a phone line to go down. This time it's the phone line again, but they're not sure what exactly the problem is. The National Weather Service is waiting for the phone company that owns the line to determine the problem and fix it.

This happens too often for the phone line to be the only way for warnings to be sent out to the weather radios. Brian Carcione with the National Weather Service in Huntsville says the line is old and difficult to maintain. Another phone line would provide a back up, but there is no funding for another line.

The last time the line went down, the NWS in Huntsville received equipment to set up a wireless connection though. That would provide a reliable back up to the current phone line, in fact the Nashville National Weather Service office uses this as their primary connection to transmitters. The connection just hasn't been set up yet. It would require the transmitter to be taken down for a few days, plus Brian says they need to prepare the equipment and crew to set it up. While the National Weather Service can set it up in their office, the phone company would need to be involved to set it up at the transmitter site.

They hope to get this done in the next 1-2 months. Until then, we encourage you to set your weather radio to one of the nearby sites:

WNG-642 out of Arab, transmitting on 162.525 MHz.
WWF-44 out of Fort Payne, transmitting on 162.500 MHz.
WNG-554 out of Winchester, TN, transmitting on 162.525 MHz.

Even when all transmitters are up you should always have multiple ways to receive information. The Live Alert 19 App is another reliable option for you to receive warnings and alerts from.