Weather radios fail to warn about tornado outbreak - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

48 First Alert Investigation

Weather radios fail to warn about tornado outbreak

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Blame a phone line malfunction for your weather radio's failure to work.

Tests on Thursday showed it was still not working after going offline Tuesday night

Brian Burgess from the National Weather Service Huntsville said they gets the line through Verizon.

He said Verizon is in charge of getting the line repaired and AT&T, who they are renting the line from, will actually do the repairs.

Burgess said crews have been dispatched and now the NWS office is waiting to hear back on progress.

Verizon tested the line and detected the problem. 

"We're eager to get this back up and running. The next time this is needed it's ready, willing and able to transmit those warnings. We're just as anxious as everyone to get this resolved," said NWS meteorologist Brian Carcione.

The local office admitted to an old-school approach to send out warnings. However, it was a huge miss Tuesday night for Madison County residents in the path of a tornado.

Twenty-two tornado warnings in all were issued during the outbreak.

Carcione said relying on one source is not the safest approach, but a modernized backup system with multiple options is not in the congressional budget.

An Internet-based technology to transmit a voice message is one option to convert from the traditional telephone line.

"We want to try a variety of different things to determine what's the best approach, what's the most reliable approach, and for the taxpayers what's the most cost-effective approach. There are a lot of tests underway to see if there's a modern and redundant way to get the message out there," Carcione said.

There's no exact time on when the critical line will be back up and running. We encourage you to have more than one way of receiving your warnings such as our brand new 48 First Alert Weather App on your smart phone.

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