Emergency officials want you to invest in a NOAA Weather Radio to keep informed.
'Weather radio' is sort of a misnomer, because the warning device alerts the public to all kinds of life-threatening emergencies.
"NOAA weather radio is basically known as alerting the public to severe weather. Again it's an important warning system to alert the public when there is severe thunderstorms or tornadoes or other severe weather that may be approaching."
Lori Getter, with Wisconsin Emergency Management, says in addition to severe weather, the alerts now include wildfires, 911 phone outages, evacuations, hazmat spills, power outages, and major road closures. But, with all the choices, which radio is right for you?
"Basically you want to first make sure it has back-up batteries just in case the power goes out. The newer models, you can program it for the specific county or counties that you want to get information from. Before people used to complain because their NOAA weather radio would go off when there is severe weather seven counties away."
Getter says you can also program the radio to receive alerts for limited types of events, and bypass others. She notes the importance of portability for the outdoor person. Getter says with help from a Federal Homeland Security grant, schools throughout the state already have NOAA radios, which cost between 40 and 60 dollars. Dane County recently offered them to the public at cost, and sold out almost immediately. They've since ordered thousands more, which are currently available to residents. Other counties are looking into doing the same thing.
Non-Weather Emergency Messages is a partnership between the National Weather Service, Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and Wisconsin Emergency Management.
Governor Doyle has proclaimed May 14, 2008 as NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards Day.