What's next for weather radios? - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

What's next for weather radios?

Emergency managers are pushing for the "next" generation weather radio. 

Most recently we've been able to program weather radios based on alert types, for instance, just severe weather instead of being woken up in the middle of the night for an advisory that won't impact your location. But a new and improved weather radio could take it a step further.

"They are issuing warnings now based on a polygon instead of a countywide area," said Madison County EMA Director John "Rusty" Russell. 

But weather radios aren't up to speed to handle the polygon based warnings, which would do away with county codes and instead use GPS-type capabilities. 

"It's more accurate...You know where you are related to the storm," Russell said. "If you're watching TV and using that polygon."

Russell said developing a new and improved weather radio with geographical sensors would benefit everyone. 

"You don't want to hear it in the middle of the night if the storm is not near you," Russell said. "Then what happens if the storm does come near you. The complacency is what I'm concerned about."

Going from an analog signal to digital, Russell says, would provide more confidence in the system we rely on when it matters most. 

"The weather radios that you depend on when you're sleeping at home at night.. they only do county wide warnings...we're trying to fix that," Russell said.  

The weather radios we have now are not broken. They will still alert you to a dangerous storm. 

Russell is in talks with the National Weather Service with this on-going project, but funding is part of the hold up. 

Emergency managers explain how important it would be to have support from weather radio makers in developing the system overhaul. 

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