Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the mission of the National Weather Service?
  2. How may I reach you?
  3. Is there a telephone number I can call for weather information?
  4. What is NOAA Weather Radio?
  5. What are the NOAA Weather Radio frequencies in my area?
  6. What is the Programming Schedule for NOAA Weather Radios in my area?
  7. Where can I obtain climatological data?
  8. What is a NOWCAST?
  9. What is a Zone Forecast?
  10. What is the State Forecast?

What is the Mission of the National Weather Service?

The mission of the National Weather Service (NWS), under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and under the Department of Commerce (DOC), is to protect the life and property of our citizens from natural disasters by issuing warnings and forecasts for all manners of severe or extreme weather, and to enhance the national economy. This mission is carried out by weather offices and national centers located throughout the U.S. and its territories, along with a highly trained staff of dedicated men and women.

How may I reach you?

You can reach us via regular mail at:

National Weather Service
6201 Theiler Lane
Louisville, KY 40229


or you may email us at: w-lmk.webmaster@noaa.gov

Is there a telephone number that I can call for weather information?

From the Louisville area, you may call 502-968-2676 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday to speak to someone directly. Or, you may call our forecast recording at 502-968-6025 24 hours a day for the latest forecast for the Louisville area.

From the Lexington area, you may call 800-631-9212 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday to speak to someone directly. Or, you may call our forecast recording at 859-281-8131 24 hours a day for the latest forecast for the Lexington area.

Or, you may call our administrative number at 502-969-8842 from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday.  This line is answered by our automated system, however you still have the opportunity to speak with a meteorologist or technician if you prefer.

What is NOAA Weather Radio?

NOAA Weather Radio is a service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, broadcasting on seven VHF Band frequencies ranging from 162.400 MHz to 162.550 MHz. These frequencies are outside the normal AM or FM broadcast bands, and are therefore not found on the average home radio.

These broadcasts originate from National Weather Service Offices across the Unites States and its territories. As the Voice of the National Weather Service, more than 400 FM transmitter sites provide continuous broadcasts of the latest and up-to-date weather information.

NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts can be heard as far away as 40 miles from the antenna site. The effective range depends on many factors, particularly the terrain, the quality of the receiver, and current weather conditions.

The broadcast schedule consists of recorded messages which are repeated every three to five minutes and are routinely revised to provide the latest and up-to-date information. The broadcasts on NOAA Weather Radio are tailored to the weather needs of the people within the receiving area, and include a variety of programming subjects.

During severe weather, our forecasters may interrupt the routine weather broadcast to substitute live warning messages, in which the regularly scheduled programming will be suspended. Special receivers can also be activated, sounding an alarm indicating that important information soon follows. This alerts the user to turn the receiver up to an audible volume. Tests of the warning alarm are conducted by the National Weather Service every Wednesday between 1100 AM and Noon local time.

In extreme cases, NOAA Weather Radio will be used to alert the public of non-weather related emergencies, such as earthquakes, toxic or chemical spills, other civil emergencies, national attacks, or nuclear blasts.

What are the NOAA Weather Radio Frequencies in my area?

  • KIH41 - 162.400 MHz - Serving East Central Kentucky, originating from Louisville, with a transmitter site in Lexington (also rebroadcast from Madison County on 162.525 MHz on WWF82A, WWF82B, and WWF82C)
  • KIH43 - 162.475 MHz - Serving North Central Kentucky and South Central Indiana, originating from Louisville (also rebroadcast from Elizabethtown on 162.550 MHz on KIH43A, and from Ekron on 162.450 MHz on KZZ64)
  • KIH44 - 162.550 MHZ - Serving South Central Kentucky, originating from Jackson, with a transmitter site in Somerset
  • KIH45 - 162.400 MHZ - Serving South Central Kentucky, originating from Louisville, with a transmitter site in Bowling Green (also rebroadcast from Burkesville on 162.475 MHZ on KZZ62)
  • KZZ63 - 162.525 MHZ - Serving South Central Kentucky, originating from Louisville, with a transmitter site in Campbellsville

What is the Programming Schedule for NOAA Weather Radios in my area?

  • The Regional Weather Synopsis - Summarizes the weather for the next 12 to 24 hours across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, including Kentucky and Indiana.
  • The Local 7 Day Forecast - Valid For the NOAA Weather Radio listening area.
  • The Hourly Weather Roundup - Summarizes the current weather conditions for cities across Kentucky and surrounding states.
  • The NOWCast - A short term forecast valid for the next 1 to 6 hours. Updated as often as necessary to reflect changing weather conditions.
  • Climatic Information - Includes temperatures and rainfall, climatological normals, and accumulations.
  • River Summaries - Stage and forecast information for the Ohio River as well as other reservoir and and lake data.

INFORMATION AS NEEDED

  • Public Information Statements - Give extra value added information, such as announcements, climatological anomalies, etc.
  • Severe Weather Watches, Warnings, and Advisories - Important information regarding the location and movements of severe local storms.
  • Other Forecast Information - Including the Ultra Violet Index, Air Quality Index information, and 8 to 14 day long range outlooks.

Where can I obtain climatological data?

All climatic data is archived at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina. You may reach them at 704-271-4800, or contact them via the internet at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/. Their fees vary depending upon the services you require. Or, you may contact the Kentucky State Climatologist at Western Kentucky University, at 502-745-4555, or the Indiana State Climatologist at Purdue University at 765-494-8105.  Also, you may check our local climate page, or check with a local Regional Climate Center for additional information as well.

What is a NOWCAST?

The NOWCAST, also known as the Short Term Forecast, is the primary method of communicating plain language forecasts of short-term weather to the general public. The Short Term Forecast is valid generally for the next 1 to 6 hours. The product is written in a conversational style that flows smoothly, providing the most important weather elements at the beginning.

This product is an event driven forecast, and was designed to handle all weather conditions except severe weather. The NOW encompasses routine weather to near-severe weather into one product.

What is a zone forecast?

The Zone Forecast is likely the most used product we issue. Zone forecasts cover periods up to 168 hours and should contain sufficient detail providing a clear picture of the expected weather conditions. Kentucky is divided into 120 zones, i.e. each county in the state is its own zone. Zones with similar forecasts will be included in a single group, e.g. Western Kentucky. The zone forecast may contain as few as four groupings or so for benign weather, and up to ten groupings or more for very active or rapidly changing weather.

The zone forecast is routinely issued 2 times per day, from 2 to 4 am and from 2 to 4 pm.  However,  if conditions warrant, the zone forecast will be updated at any time to reflect changes in the weather.

What is the state forecast?

The State Forecast is routinely issued twice daily, at 500 AM and 500 PM. However it may be updated at any time to reflect changes in the weather. It is presented in tabular format, and provides the forecast maximum and minimum temperature, along with probability of precipitation and prevailing weather for the daylight hours.


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