National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Birmingham Transmitter Oneonta Transmitter Winfield Transmitter Tuscaloosa Transmitter Demopolis Transmitter Selma Transmitter Montgomery Transmitter Anniston/Mt. Cheaha Transmitter Auburn Transmitter Texasville Transmitter Memphis NWR Huntsville NWR Jackson NWR Mobile NWR Tallahassee NWR Peachtree City NWR




There are 10 weather radio transmitters located across Central Alabama that broadcast watch/warning information for the 39 counties in NWS Birmingham's county warning area.  The map below depicts the names and locations of each of the 10 transmitters. Simply click on the name of the transmitter for more detailed information.  For information regarding transmitter coverage outside of Central Alabama, click on any unhighlighted county. These links will take you to the appropriate NWS office's NWR webpage.

Click here for a statewide transmitter coverage map.

Click here for a nationwide radio station listings by state, or you may call toll free 1-888-NWRSAME.

Click Here for transmitter locations nationwide.

Central Alabama NWR Transmitters


What is NWR?

NWR is a service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce. NWR provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information directly from each Warning & Forecast Office (WFO) across the country. Weather messages are recorded and run in a cycle lasting an average of around four minutes, and are updated frequently throughout the day.

When severe weather occurs, routine broadcasting will be interrupted to provide the listener with frequent updates on severe weather warnings or statements relative to each listening area. When a severe weather warning is issued and you are within about 40 miles of a transmitter, specially equipped receivers will alert, with warning and safety information following the alert. NWR is now the fastest way to get your warnings. New technology used by the National Weather Service (NWS) enables warnings to be broadcast over NWR just a few seconds after they are issued, adding valuable lead-time to potentially life-saving warnings.

Download a color NWR brochure in .pdf format here.


How can I listen to NWR?

NWR broadcasts are made on one of seven high-band frequencies ranging from 162.400 to 162.550 MHz. These frequencies are usually not found on the average radio, but require a specially equipped receiver to pick up the broadcasts. 


Where can I buy a NWR?

NWRs can be purchased at most electronics stores nationwide. Prices will most likely vary from location to location, and will also depend on the type of radio you buy. Be sure that NWR broadcasts can be received in your area. For more information on buying an NWR, click here. 


How do I program my NWR?

NWRs are fairly simple to program.  Using Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), these numbers can be quickly entered into NWRs and the user does not have to worry about programming specific frequencies into the unit.  Though the National Weather Service cannot specifically endorse a particular NWR unit, here are the programming instructions for a number of units that you may purchase on the market (special thanks to Ted Buehner of NWS WFO Seattle for these instructional slides):

Deaf or hard of hearing? Here's a video that shows how to program a Midland 120 EZ radio, and it includes captions and signing.


Just who is that guy on NWR?

When you tune into NOAA Weather Radio, the “voice” you hear is actually computer generated speech.   This is a component of NWR called CRS, or Console Replacement System. CRS was designed to ensure the National Weather Service (NWS) will be able to meet the increasing demands of NWR programming.

The advantages to using CRS are numerous. First and foremost, CRS routes products to the affected NWR transmitter as soon as they are issued. There is no lag time after issuance, since recordings are no longer made. This is especially important during severe weather, as precious minutes will be added to each warning's "lead time." Automating these tasks also frees up NWS employees to devote more time to forecasts and operations. Also, old products are taken out of the broadcast cycle the moment they expire. Hence, the relevancy of products left in the cycle is ensured. To get to the point, why get your weather information from anyone else? NWR is the fastest way to obtain weather information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! 


Am I able to receive NWR broadcasts at my location?

NWR broadcasts can usually be heard as far away as 40 miles from a transmitter site, and at times at further distances. The effective range depends on many factors, including transmitter power, height of the antenna, terrain, quality of the receiver and atmospheric conditions. The National Weather Service Office in Calera broadcasts from 10 transmitters located throughout central Alabama. Click here to determine which transmitter(s) you should be able to receive. 


What is the programming schedule for NWR?

Programming on NWR will vary from office to office. Following is the normal programming schedule at WFO Birmingham. (The program schedule is similar for all 10 transmitters.)

  • Local and surrounding weather conditions are updated every hour.
  • Short term forecasts are broadcast when weather conditions warrant.
  • A traveler’s forecast for the Southeast United States.
  • Local forecasts for the next seven days.
  • Local climatic summaries.
  • A hazardous weather outlook is played between 5:30 & 9:30 a.m.
  • Detailed station identification messages are broadcast once every hour.
  • The current local time is given every broadcast cycle.
  • Weekly warning alarm test messages are broadcast each Wednesday, usually between 11:00 a.m. & noon, weather permitting.
  • Regular programming will be interrupted during severe weather. 

What products are alerted on NWR?

The following products are alerted using SAME codes and the 1050 Hz tone.

  • Tornado warnings
  • Severe thunderstorm warnings
  • Flash flood warnings
  • Winter weather warnings
  • Tornado watches
  • Severe thunderstorm watches
  • Flash flood watches
  • Civil emergency messages
  • Routine weekly/monthly tests

What is "SAME?"

A new radio capable of receiving NWS broadcasts gives listeners the best possible means of receiving severe weather warnings. This new generation of programmable NWR receivers has a special feature that allows listeners to choose only the watches and warnings that affect their county area and screen out any warnings issued for other counties within broadcast range.

Using digital technology known as Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), all watches and warnings issued by the NWS are preceded by unique audio codes that describe the type of warning and identify the county or counties being warned. People who own a SAME receiver can pre-select their FIPS codes to ensure they hear the specific warning information they need to make potentially life-saving decisions. Click here to find out the FIPS code for your county.

Older NWR receivers are not affected by the technology change, but the older receivers do not allow listeners to take advantage of the SAME capability to screen alerts for individual counties. 


How else can I receive NWS products?

The NWS works in partnership with media outlets across the country to disseminate the most current weather information to the public. You can obtain the latest watches and warnings from local radio and television stations.

Another low-cost method for receiving NWS information is now available on a wireless data system. Called the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN), this system presents the information directly on your home or office computer in a user-friendly graphics display. Simple mouse clicks immediately retrieve the latest weather and flood warnings, watches, forecasts, statements, observations and other data in text format, along with a sub-set of weather graphics, including the national radar summary and some satellite imagery. Over 6500 products are available. Users may set various alarms in order to be alerted to particular information. 


Receiver Recalls

For information on Weather Radio receiver recalls, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission web site and type "Weather Radios" in the search bar.

Is there a program for communicating warnings to the hearing or visually impaired?

Those who neeed assistance hearing or seeing the NOAA Weather Radio can still receive the warnings by connecting a specially designed device to it.  Some of these are strobe lights, bed shakers, and read out displays.

Additional information on NOAA Weather Radio and associated attachments can be found here: