Last piece of weather radio system in place in WisconsinMore than 40 years after the first weather radio station went on the air in Wisconsin, the all-hazards NOAA radio system is complete now that a station near Spooner went on the air June 1.
By: By Mike Simonson/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
More than 40 years after the first weather radio station went on the air in Wisconsin, the all-hazards NOAA radio system is complete now that a station near Spooner went on the air June 1.
That station KZZ79 was moved from Webster to Spooner to cover dead spots on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation and Hayward area. It will also serve parts of Burnett, Polk, Washburn, Sawyer, Douglas, and Bayfield Counties.
The Webster/Siren area will now be served by the NOAA weather station transmitting from Pine City in Minnesota.
Wisconsin Educational Communications Board northwestern technical manager Steve Bauder says they have 27 stations covering 95% of Wisconsin’s population.
“This was the last of this phase. We don’t have any concrete plans for further improvements. This completes the areas that were identified but we’re open, always open, to needs.”
National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Carol Christenson in Duluth oversees the northwestern Wisconsin region. She says weather radios can be a lifesaver in the isolation of the northwoods where cell phone signals and sirens aren’t always available.
“You may not be anywhere near an outdoor siren. The best way to get the information is via weather radio because it comes straight from the National Weather Service and it will alert you.”
Even with automated National Weather Service announcements over AM and FM radio stations, Christenson says this all-hazards radio network is needed.
“Absolutely there’s a need for a weather radio in every house because the weather radio can be put in standby mode and when a warning is issued, it will automatically turn on with an alarm, hopefully get your attention, because something important is about to be relayed to you.”
Christenson has worked at the Duluth NWS bureau since 1987. She says during her tenure, Wisconsin made this weather radio warning system a priority, a matter of public safety.
NOAA weather radios cost about $20.
Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard locally on 91.3 KUWS-FM and online at www.wpr.org.