What is a Weather Radio and Why Should You Own It?

In an age where we know about all the possible phenomena that can threaten our lives, we humans have devised methods through which we can either eradicate the disaster or take precautionary measures against its effects. With the advancement of technology and various other industries, you have a warning system for everything virtually. 

For example, take a lightning detector or a smoke detector. A lightning detector is an instrument that can protect you against lightning by detecting the Electromagnetic pulse of a lightning strike. It will warn you of the approaching storm through a loud siren alarm or by its LED flashlight feature.

The smoke detector works in a very similar way. As soon as the smoke detector senses any movement of smoke through the optical detector, the fire alarm will immediately go off, warning everyone to evacuate the ablaze building. In both the analogies, people who were exposed to life-threatening predicaments were warned about the potential disaster, and they were able to protect themselves.

The fire extinguisher is an instrument which is used to douse the fire if it is minor. Similarly, various other instruments tell you about approaching disasters and even how to deal with it. Such an instrument is weather Radio. 

how does a weather radio work

What is Weather Radio?

A weather radio is a small, portable device which gives you regular weather updates and weather forecast. Weather radios usually receive signals from government-owned radio station such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States of America, the sole function of which is to give a detailed account of the weather, the flow of wind, the direction of the wind, the temperature, humidity and so on. 

Upon the reception of such information, the weather radio further broadcasts the intel to the listeners. Thus, the listeners will know all there is to know about the current and the forthcoming weather conditions. 

Apart from broadcasting weather information, a weather radio has multiple other broadcasting channels which serve the purpose of both, entertaining the listeners and giving them alerts that are unrelated to weather.

For example, if a robber is on the loose and the authorities want you to equip yourself with necessary defenses, such as keeping the doors locked up all times or not to let an uninvited guest inside your house, they will put the news on the radio to make everyone cautious. 

Such information will put you on your guard, and you would know how to defend yourself and your family when the worst is about to befall. They also offer entertainment services such as AM/FM broadcasts. Sports and other updates are also given for all the football enthusiasts. Ergo, getting weather information is not all a weather radio does. But that is not all why a weather radio is important to own. The most prominent function still awaits you.

Why Should You Own a Weather Radio

If I tell you now that weather radio gives regular weather updates and warns you about approaching Natural Calamities, now you will say, “I can get that information on my phone too”. The one thing I would like to clarify is getting weather information from the phone is not equivalent to getting it directly from a weather radio. While phones can be helpful to some extent, they should not be relied upon at all times for weather information as they have their limitations too. 

For one, the account of the weather given by the weather radio is much more elaborate and comprehensive than the one provided by your cell phone or the one you see on the internet. Secondly, the system of signal reception in both weather radio and phone is different. The signal you get on your phone will always quaver when a natural disaster surrounds you. Heavy rains and storms can mess with your phone connection. 

Moreover, the signal transmitted by phones is much short-ranged as compared to weather radios. Weather Radio’s signal transmission is much faster than your cell phones. If you consider these particulars, you will realize the good old radio is better than your cellular technology when it comes to quick transmission of information. That is one of the reasons why an old instrument like radio has not gone obsolete with the inception of services like cell phones and the internet. 

The next thing which makes a weather radio extremely important is how they can help you evade life-threatening situations. The government-owned weather stations are first to assess the gravity of the potential disaster. They have drawn out the necessary facts and figures regarding it. Thus, they know the epicenter and the aftermath of the disaster. The radio stations also give this information along with the measures that one must take to protect himself and his family. 

Therefore, you virtually know everything about the unknown that is about to come. Once you know your enemy, deflecting its attacks and protecting yourself becomes easy. Of course, you will not be able to prevent the disaster, but protect yourself against it. These weather radios come with multiple alert functions. Some models have the siren alarm feature, which will make a loud noise as soon as they receive information from the National Weather Service center.

Some have the flashlight feature with vibration, which will alert even the people with hearing impairment while there are some which perform both the features. These warning systems are most helpful in the dead of the night when everybody is fast asleep, and the only thing that is on guard to defend you is your weather radio. The loud noise will wake you up, and you would become cautious. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA weather radio is a weather network that relays information about the weather to each county of the United States by directly contacting the National Weather Service center of that area. It functions 24 hours round the clock each day of every week. 

It relays all the weather-related statistics and the possible change in the course of the weather. If your locality is about to be hit by a Natural disaster such as Storm, Tornado, Hurricane, Earthquake or Flood, etc., they will be the first to know, and there will be a wide-scale broadcast about it. You will also get to know about how you can defend yourself against the wrath of nature. 

What Kind of Weather Radio to Purchase? 

If I have convinced you that a weather radio is one of the most important commodities to own, you must be wondering, “what kind of a weather radio should I purchase?” For one, there are numerous types of weather radio available in the market. But the kind of radio that you would need to keep yourself protected is a portable weather radio. These are easy to carry and can be taken anywhere.

For example, if you are going out on a camping or a trekking trip, carrying a weather radio becomes a necessity. The weather is extremely uncertain for an individual to assess by no means of high-tech devices. This job needs to be left to the professionals. What we can do is, listen to the professionals, and the only way to listen to their thoughts is by owning a weather radio. Hence. They are your sole protector from the wrath of nature out in the wilderness.


Nowadays, people are so consumed by the amenities of cellular technology that they overlook its limitations. The cell phone is your loyal companion only to some extent. On the other hand, a radio was indisputably an essential possession in the past and will remain a necessity in the future. There is a reason why cell phones have not been able to make the radios obsolete with all the features they have to offer. You can felt this reason once you test the formidable power of a weather radio. 

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About the Author


I am Tim, a weather enthusiast who loves to watch hurricanes and all other harsh weather conditions. I studied B.Sc(Meteorology) at the University of Miami. With excellent knowledge of Weather Forecasting, Meteorology, and Environmental Science, I am currently working in San Francisco as a Meteorologist. Also, I am a member of The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. In this blog, I will write a detailed review of Weather instruments that you need for survival and other activities.