The National Weather Service is in the holiday spirit this afternoon, and it found the geekiest way possible to wish you a merry Christmas and remind you of the best gift you can give someone this year.
Often called a "smoke detector for the weather," the NOAA Weather Radio network is one of the most important safety features available to the public today. Almost every populated spot in the United States is covered by at least one station transmitted by hundreds of antennas across the country. Modern weather radios are automated, containing a feature that allows them to receive and read a unique six-digit code (through "S.A.M.E." technology) that's assigned to each county and parish in the country. With this technology, much like smoke detectors are designed to go off when they detect smoke, specially-equipped weather radios can sound an alarm only when your county goes under a severe weather alert.
When a watch, warning, or advisory is issued for your location by the National Weather Service, this information is transmitted over NOAA Weather Radio stations in the area. When you hear that annoying, screeching tone in the Emergency Alert System, embedded within that tone is an audio trigger that tells your weather radio whether the alert is for one of the counties you programmed into the device. If so, your radio will switch on and sound a loud tone, followed by an audio feed of the radio station that lets you hear the text of the alert read by their computerized voice, Tom.
These radios are crucial for people who live in tornado-prone areas, especially in the south, where tornadoes are common overnight when people are sleeping and wouldn't otherwise have a way to receive a warning until it's too late.
When set up properly, weather radios work wonders and have saved lives. S.A.M.E.-enabled weather radios are produced by several manufacturers and you can find them online and in pretty much any convenience or box store, including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Target.
Oh, and in the video above, Tom says "just be glad I don't sing." Well, he does. If you want to hear Tom sing "Deck the Halls," here's a video they made a couple of years ago.
Fa. La la. La. ...... La. La. ..... La. La la.