By Rex Wilgus/Monroe Journal
Monroe County recently saw the installation of a NOAA Weather transmitter and antenna, providing vital information on weather conditions 24 hours a day, based on data from the National Weather Service.
NOAA Weather Radios, which can be purchased for as little as $20 at electronics stores, feature a continuous broadcast of weather conditions and severe weather alerts.
NOAA is short for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere.
Monroe County Emergency Management Director Robert “Bunky” Goza said: “As emergency management officials, we stress the importance of having a family preparedness plan and kit, and in that kit should be a NOAA Weather Radio, which offers pertinent information. By having this transmitter placed in Monroe County, we now have 100 percent coverage [of the county] and access to potentially life-saving information.”
Goza said grant money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture covered the purchase and installation of the transmitter, antenna and backup generator, and that the Smithville telephone company was providing power and space for the rental building.
He added that labor costs were held down thanks to Monroe County Sheriff Andy Hood’s inmate labor work program.
The Gilmore Foundation, located in Amory, donated $2,000 dollars to help bring the project to fruition, said Executive Director Danny Spreitler, noting that efforts to purchase and install the equipment go 10 years.
The new antenna will reach not only Monroe County residents, but also residents of Itawamba, Lee, Pontotoc, Chickasaw, Clay, and Lowndes counties.
The broadcast range from a transmitter is typically 40 miles, depending on terrain and location.
The broadcast service is free.
Typical programming from the National Weather Service includes watches, warnings and advisories, current weather conditions, weather forecasts, as well as climate and river information, based on data collected by the National Weather Service as well as federal and state agencies. Information on non-weather-related hazards is also provided, such as AMBER alerts or Civil Emergency Messages (such as toxic spills, 911 outrages and so on).
NOAA Weather Radios that employ the S.A.M.E. technology, which cost a bit extra, can be set to automatically turn on or sound an alarm when there is an emergency for the county where one lives, a potentially life-saving feature.
The S.A.M.E. code for Monroe County is 028095.