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NOAA weather radio outages reported in multiple Middle TN counties

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Posted at 7:41 AM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 19:13:53-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Make sure you have multiple ways to get weather information today. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says three weather radio transmitters are malfunctioning right now. If a watch or warning is issued in these areas, weather radios may not go off.

The following counties are served by these transmitters:

  • Clarksville: Christian, Todd counties in Kentucky. Montgomery, Robertson and Stewart counties in Tennessee.
  • Hickman (in Smith County): Cannon, DeKalb, Jackson, Putnam, Smith, Trousdale and Wilson.
  • Lobelville (in Perry County): Benton, Decatur, Henderson, Hickman, Humphreys, Lewis and Wayne

"We never want our weather radio transmitters to go down, but it is just like anything else, it can have equipment issues," said Krissy Hurley, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in NAshville.

Technicians thought they had the right part to fix all three transmitters, but it didn't work. Now, workers are scrambling to find another solution. They hope it can be repaired before the potential severe weather moves in.

In the meantime, here's what you need to do. First, check to see if you can tune into another frequency on your weather radio. "You just go up and down, go through the channels and see what best reception you have," said Hurley.

Even if that works, Hurley says you still need to find back-up ways to receive alerts -- just in case. "A bulk of it is going to come when it’s nighttime, dark outside, you could be sleeping. The number one thing we suggest is have a way to get warning notifications that will wake you up," she said.

A lot of younger Tennesseans are turning to weather apps, and even Twitter accounts like @MontCoSevereWx for hyper local updates. "Just keep people informed, that’s basically the main goal with what we do," said Nick Koloski, who runs the account that serves the Montgomery County area.

In addition to tweeting out watches, warnings and radar images, Koloski is also a trained weather spotter that partners with the National Weather Service in Nashville. "If there’s wind damage or a radar signature, I’ll go out and check it out just to make sure there isn’t any damage or if there is damage, report that back to the National Weather Service as well," he said.

No matter how you get your warning, whether it's an outdoor siren, ping on your phone, tuning into NewsChannel 5 or listening to that familiar automated voice on your weather radio, the important part is you listen.

You can also download the Storm Shield App, which is free in your phone's app store. Make sure to make the push alerts turned on.

Storm 5 Alert: Damaging winds, flooding and tornadoes possible today through early Thursday