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Up-to-the-minute forecasts on "weather radio."

"When I am right, no one remembers. When I am wrong, no one forgets." That forecaster's lament aptly expresses our mistrust for the people who predict the weather. In fact, computer prediction techniques have made modern forecasts more accurate than we give them credit for--precipitation predictions have an average accuracy rate of about 85 percent. But real precision is still only possible a few hours ahead of time. Especially now, as skiers and holiday travelers take to the road, up-to-the-minute weather data can make the difference between pleasure and disaster.

The taped messages available by telephone from many state highway patrol offices can help you determine how best to get from point A to point B. Many locales also have taped weather reports. These are usually listed at the front of your telephone book under "Weather" or under United States Government, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service.

But for the most complete, detailed, and current reports, turn to NOAA's Weather Radio Network. Some 400 stations serve well over 90 percent of the nation's population, broadcasting the latest forecasts for their area 24 hours a day.

Weather for fishermen, weather for

farmers, weather for everyone else

Broadcasts consist of taped messages repeated every 5 minutes and updated regularly. In coastal areas, reports tend to the concerns of mariners, in agricultural communities to farmers. Recreational needs aren't forgotten.

In San Francisco recently, the broadcast gave a weather overview for central California, followed by a detailed forecast for the San Francisco--oakland area; then came a marine forecast for San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun bays and the Delta. A travelers' forecast covered Sierra highway routes and gave a number to call for road reports. Temperature predictions followed, then the three- to five-day forecast. The message ended with weather reports made on the last hour.

Hazardous weather gets special attention. If there's risk of a storm within the next 12 to 24 hours, a Storm Watch message is issued. When the storm or other condition that NOAA deems "life threatening" becomes imminent, a Warning is put out. (Advisory messages describe severe weather that is not life threatening.) A Warning is preceded by a signal that automatically turns on or increases the volume of weather radios with this alarm feature.

Wide range of weather radios

The weather broadcasts are made on frequencies near 162 megahertz. Some AM-FM radios receive these, but most don't. In the past few years, electronics and outdoors stores have begun to sell radios that pick up only weather stations; one of these makes a good Christmas present for anyone who spends time in the outdors.

Many of the radios are compact and light enough to be comfortable backpacking or skiing companions. Models cost $15 and up. For about $40, you can get one of the several models that will respond--even when the radio is turned off--to NOAA's severe weather warning signal.

The NOAA broadcast stations

Listed below are the NOAA weather radio locations. Each broadcasts at 162.4, 162.475 or 162.k MHz. Each has a broadcast range of 40 to 50 miles, but even within that range the placement of transmitters and topographical features like mountains and canyons can affect your reception. Those stations listed as "part time" operate only during daylight hours, except during severe weather. Alaska. Anchorage, Cordova, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Nome, Petersburg, Seward, Sitka, Valdez, Wrangell, Yakutat. Arizona. Flagstaff (part time), Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma. California. Bakersfield (part time), Coachella (part time), Eureka, Fresno, Los Angeles, Merced, Monterey, Point Arena, Redding (part time), Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara. Colorado. Alamosa (part time), Colorado Springs, Denver, Grand Junction, Greeley, Longmont, Pueblo, Sterling. Hawaii. Hilo, Honolulu, Kokee, Mount Haleakala, Waimanalo. Idaho. Boise, Lewiston (part time), Pocatello, Twin Falls. Montana. Billings, Butte, Glasgow, Great Falls, Havre (part time), Helena, Kalispell, Miles City, Missoula. Nevada. Elko, Ely, Las Vegas, Reno, Winnemucca. New Mexico. Albuquerque, Clovis, Des Moines, Farmington, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Ruidoso, Santa Fe. Oregon. Astoria, Brookings, Coos Bay, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Medford, Newport, Pendleton (part time), Portland, Roseburg, salem. Utah. Cedar City, Logan, Salt Lake City, Vernal. Washington. Neh Bay, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Wenatchee, Yakima. Wyoming. Caspar, Cheyenne, Lander, Sheridan.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Directory
Date:Dec 1, 1985
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