Tech Talk: Do You Need a Weather Radio?


As of 4/20/2024, there have been 35 tornados in Ohio in 2024.


On February 22, 2024, AT&T had a massive cellular service outage.  It lasted about 13 hrs.  Those affected did not have any cell service.  While it is a rare event this incident showed many people how much they depend on their cell phone for important information.

On March 14, 2024, an EF-3 tornado killed 3 and severely damaged an area in Logan County.  An EF-1 tornado did major (but limited) damage in Delaware County.  In Delaware County, there were widespread power and cable service outages.  On April 17, 2024, an EF-1 tornado damaged the far southeast portions of Delaware County in Harlem Township.

If the cellular service outage and the tornadic events had happened simultaneously, how would you have been informed of weather conditions?  If you lived close to emergency sirens and were outside you would have known to seek shelter. But would you have known the path or the timing of the storms?

An inexpensive weather radio would have alerted you of the threat.  It would have provided the critical information you needed to make decisions regarding your safety.  It would have told you the path and timing of the approaching storms.  The weather radio does not need cable, Wi-Fi, cell service, or the internet to do its job.  With its battery backup, it doesn’t need electricity.  Unlike your AM/FM radio, you don’t need to hear ads or sports scores… you just get the information you need when you need it most. 

The weather radio can be configured to only get alerts for the geographic areas (county) you need or want.  You can eliminate alerts for events you don’t want to be alerted for such as hurricanes. 

There are many weather radio models available.  I can’t endorse one model over another but here’s a popular model on Amazon.

Midland – WR120B – NOAA Emergency Weather Alert Radio – S.A.M.E. Localized Programming, Trilingual Display, 60+ Emergency Alerts, & Alarm Clock

Once your weather radio is configured (a menu-driven that is easy to follow) you will usually get a test alert weekly (around 11 AM on Wednesdays).  If you aren’t getting the weather alert or the radio isn’t clear, try moving it to a different location.

Finally, it is best to have more than one source of critical information about things such as severe weather.  Use your smartphone for alerts.  When outside you may be close to an emergency siren.  Turn on a local TV or radio station.  But when you’re home your most important (and first) alert could be from your weather radio.

Stay safe.

Jarren Ringle is a member of SourcePoint and a volunteer instructor. SourcePointers come to Jarren for tutelage on their tablets, laptops, and the most popular of all devices – cell phones. He teaches various technology classes throughout the year including one-on-one sessions and group classes. Jarren also volunteers at the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. With many years of project management experience in various technology fields, he enjoys helping others with technology.

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