I know no one visits this bog for posts like this one. But, as pointed out previously, right now getting myself and my people though our current troubles is where my head is at. So, please humor me. I do think owning and using a weather radio is a good idea.
Laying in bed last night I could hear little bits of a storm going on outside and then I heard a couple pretty good wind gusts. Curious of how strong the winds were, I reached for my iPad, popped open the weather app, and was informed the current wind speeds were 11MPH. Nope. You can’t hear an 11MPH wind from inside my apartment. So, I checked the other weather app on my iPad and it said: wind 11MPH. Lovely. Got out of bed, but didn’t feel like going outside, so I dug my weather radio out of a dresser drawer, extended the antenna, popped it on, and was informed the current wind speeds are 15-18 MPH with gusts up to 40MPH. That’s more like it. It explains why I had just heard a couple wind gusts that I’d place in the mid 20MPH range.
Not only is weather radio more accurate than the weather app on your phone, it is simple to operate, and isn’t subject to the myriad of things that can go wrong with apps and phones. For example: I’ve had my cellphone coverage drop off with the approach of strong storm cells, where weather radio can broadcast right though that sort of thing. It’s also not uncommon to find small dead spots in cell coverage when traveling in rural or wilderness areas, but in most cases you can still have access to weather radio. Some weather radios also come with a emergency standby feature that will chime and then give you an update of what’s going on if there’s a weather related emergency in your area. And yeah, your cell phone can have the same emergency features. I’ve found weather radio’s version to be more reliable, accurate, and helpful. It’s also harder to knock a low power FM station offline than it is cell service and apps.
In the United State weather radio is run by NOAA and is used to broadcast not only current weather information and forecasts, but also any emergency weather and other governmental emergency info. Mexico, Canada, and the 🇺🇸 use the same Very high frequency FM transmission range (162.400 – 162.550 MHz), so if you’re near a border you can get info from both sides with the same receiver.
Weather radios come in a bunch of different flavors, but can be broken down into two categories stationary and portable. I’ve always found the portable ones like Kaito pictured (also picks up AM/FM) or the Midland RA36451, which is tiny and has an alert feature, suit my needs. Both radios are in the $20 range. I’ve used the Midland for a couple decades and highly recommend it. I don’t have any experience with the “home base” stationary receivers.
I do hope people start getting interested in weather radio and actually using them. Weather radio works great and provides not only valuable, but potentially lifesaving information.