Overview of NOAA Weather Radio


NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 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, thus are not found on the average home radio.

These broadcasts originate from National Weather Service (NWS) offices across the Unites States. As the Voice of the National Weather Service, transmitter (antenna) sites provide continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information. Broadcasts can be heard as far away as 40 miles from the antenna site. However, the effective range depends on several factors, including terrain, quality of the receiver, and current weather conditions.

NOAA Weather Radio provides dependable and timely weather information at your fingertips. From day-to-day weather forecasts to warnings of potentially dangerous storms, NWR is always available, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The broadcast is done by automated computer-generated voice with broadcast cycles repeated every several minutes depending on the amount of information on air at any one time.  

During severe weather or other potentially hazardous events, the regularly scheduled programming may be interrupted to substitute severe weather (including warnings, watches, etc.) or other hazardous informational messages. Special NWR receivers can be activated, sounding an alarm indicating that important information soon follows. In these situations, listeners should monitor their radios closely. Tests of the warning alarm are normally conducted by NWS Louisville every
Tuesday between 6:00 and 7:00 PM local time and every Wednesday between 11:00 AM and Noon local time.

The NWR is also considered All-Hazards Weather Radio, and can be used to alert the public of non-weather related emergencies, such as earthquakes, toxic or chemical spills, national attacks, nuclear blasts, and even Amber alerts.

Many local retailers or electronics stores sell NOAA Weather Radios.

Normal programming schedule for NWS Louisville's NOAA Weather Radio

  • Local 7 Day Forecast - Valid For the NOAA Weather Radio listening area.
  • Hourly Weather Roundup - Summarizes current weather conditions for certain cities across Kentucky and nearby locations.
  • Short Term Forecast - Forecast valid for the next 0 to 6 hours. Issued as needed to reflect changing weather conditions and enhance the local forecast.
  • Climatic Information - Includes temperatures and rainfall, climatological normals, and accumulations.
  • River Summaries - Stage and forecast information for the Ohio River as well as other river, reservoir, and lake data.

Other programming information as needed

  • Public Information Statements - Provide value added information, such as announcements, climatological anomalies, etc.
  • Severe Weather Watches, Warnings, and Statements - Vital information regarding the location and movements of severe thunderstorms, including wind damage, large hail, and/or tornadoes.
  • Flood/Flash Flood Watches, Warnings, Advisories, and Statements - Vital information regarding the location and movement of heavy rain and flash flood producing thunderstorms and weather systems.
  • Winter Weather Watches, Warnings, and Advisories - Important information regarding potential hazardous winter weather.
  • Non-Precipitation Warnings and Advisories - Important information regarding potentially hazardous weather conditions not associated with precipitation, such as wind chill, heat, non-thunderstorm high winds, fog, frost, and freezes. 

Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME)

NWRs containing the Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME) allows listeners to obtain only the tone-alerted warnings, watches, and other information which they desire to receive. They simply program in the code of the county(s) they want to receive tone-alerted information for. Otherwise, SAME radios broadcast the exact same information as non-SAME radios.

These receivers are available at local electronics stores in your area. If you have purchased a weather radio with the SAME capability and desire to program it for specific counties in your NWR listening area, you will need the proper county codes (FIPS). Also included is a listing of event codes used by the National Weather Service to designate specific weather events. More information can be found on our SAME webpage.

NWR Broadcasts in the NWS Louisville county warning area

NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter Sites in Central Kentucky and South-Central Indiana

  • KIH41 - 162.400 MHz - Serving East Central Kentucky, originating from Louisville, with a transmitter site in Lexington (rebroadcast from Madison County on 162.525 MHz)
  • KIH43 - 162.475 MHz - Serving North Central Kentucky and South Central Indiana, originating from Louisville (rebroadcast from Elizabethtown on 162.550 MHz)
  • 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
  • KZZ61 - 162.475 MHz - Serving parts of Hancock, Ohio, and surrounding counties with a transmitter near Whitesville
  • KZZ62 - 162.475 MHz - Serving Cumberland and parts of surrounding counties with a transmitter near Forest Cottage/Burkesville
  • KZZ63 - 162.525 MHz - Serving Taylor and parts of surrounding counties with a transmitter near Campbellsville
  • KZZ64 - 162.450 MHz - Serving Meade and parts of surrounding counties with a transmitter near Ekron

Computer-generated voice

Computer-generated voice software automates the process of manually reading/recording written information for broadcast over NWR. NWR automatically translates written NWS forecasts, warnings, and observations into synthesized-voice messages and schedules them for broadcast. This automated system provides faster broadcasts of vital information during hazardous weather situations versus having to take the time to manually record the broadcasts. In addition, the software can automatically generate messages for multiple warnings simultaneously, which is very important during complex weather situations. This allows NWS staff members the ability to devote more time to other forecast and warning duties. Computer software also allows hourly weather conditions to be broadcast at the same time every hour.

Back to Weather Radio Technology


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.