Monday, October 31, 2011

New weather radio installed in Clearwater County

By Don Gardner, Clearwater County Emergency Management Coordinator

After five years of working with the National Weather Service, Clearwater County now has a NOAA weather broadcasting station on Norton Knob. This station will broadcast official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is an "All Hazards" radio network, making it your source for comprehensive weather and emergency information.

In conjunction with federal, state, and local emergency managers and other public officials, NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – including natural (such as blizzards and high winds), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages). NWR requires a special radio receiver or scanner capable of picking up the signal.

Clearwater County’s broadcasts are found in the VHF public service band at NWR Channel 5 or 162.500 MHz. If you purchase a weather radio with same capability, you can receive the alerts that are for Clearwater County. Following the radio’s manual you, can program you radio to Clearwater County’s code of 016035.

In addition to the radio broadcast, we have other tools to help you know what the weather is doing in Clearwater County. Clearwater County’s Office of Emergency Management has installed four weather data gathering stations. You can find links to these stations on the County’s web site at Just click on the “Check the Weather” link.

A number of people participated in bringing this project together. I want to thank Neal Johnson for providing and improving the Norton Knob location, making the NOAA broadcast station installation possible. I also want to thank all those who allowed us to place a weather station at their location and for the assistance from the Clearwater County IT Office.

The first Nationwide EAS Test on November 9

Although the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is frequently used by state and local governments to send weather alerts and other emergency notifications, there has never been a national activation of the system.

On Wednesday, November 9, at approximately Pacific time, Clearwater County will participate in a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. It will be heard on the weather radios, local radio, and seen on local, cable, and satellite TV. This test will last for approximately three minutes then return listeners and viewers back to regularly scheduled programming.

The National EAS is a public alert and warning system that enables the President of the United States to address the American public during extreme emergencies. As the federal, state, and local governments prepare for and test their capabilities, this event serves as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves, their families, communities, and businesses.  You can download Clearwater County’s “Family Readiness Plan” at

EAS participants provide a critical public service to the nation as the resilient backbone of alert and warning when all other means of communication are unavailable. This EAS test plays a key role in ensuring our nation is prepared for all hazards and that the public is able to receive critical and vital information, should it ever be needed.

If you have any questions feel free to contact Don Gardner at the Emergency Management Office. 208-476-4064.

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