WLEN Radio is proud to host the National Weather Service NOAA Weather Radio that services both Lenawee and Monroe Counties. Lenawee County Emergency Services Coordinator Curtis Parsons has compiled some facts and frequently asked questions.
On October 24th, 2003, the National Weather Service installed a transmitter at the WLEN Radio tower facility that will provide coverage for all of Lenawee County. This transmitter will provide local weather forecasts 24 hours a day. The most important feature of this new service is that it allows residents to receive alerts from the NWS for severe weather watches, warnings, and emergency messages from local officials in case of a local non-weather related incident such as a chemical spill. Further, anyone who purchases a NOAA Weather Radio receiver with certain features can put their receiver in a "standby" or "alert" mode which means that the unit is silent and will only activate when a watch, warning, or emergency affects Lenawee County.
What frequency does the Lenawee County transmitter broadcast on? The transmitter operates on one of the standard NOAA frequencies---162.450 mHz.
Where can I purchase a radio receiver and what features should I look for? Several local electronic and department stores sell NOAA radios. Prices range from $40 to $100. When looking into a unit, make sure that it is equipped with SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) and has an "alert" mode. These features allow you to hear only alerts for Lenawee County. The receiver should also have an AC power supply with battery backup in case electricity is lost.
What is a FIPS code? A FIPS code (sometimes called a SAME code) is used to program the receiver you purchase to alert only to Lenawee County messages. Each unit should come with directions on how to enter the correct FIPS code. Lenawee County's FIPS code is 026091.
How do I know my receiver works in the "alert" mode? The National Weather Service sends out a test message once a week. These always take place on Wednesday between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. If potential severe weather exists at that time, the test will be delayed.
What if my receiver cannot pick up the transmitter's signal? You should be able to receive the signal from the transmitter anywhere in Lenawee County. Sometimes, in a commercial or office building, you will need to place the unit near a window or connect it to an external antenna. Units made by different companies have been found to vary in reception quality. You may need to return your unit and purchase a different receiver.
For more information concerning NOAA Weather Radio, visit their website by clicking here.