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Severe weather alert radios on sale Thursday

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Local 4Casters will have severe weather alert radios for sale Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Meijer on S. Groesbeck Highway in Clinton Township.

You can go to 40445 S. Groesbeck Highway to get your Midland WR120EZ NOAA Weather Radio for $29.99.

This is the final weather radio event of the season. More than 400 radios sold out at the last event.

The alerts don't stop with the weather: your weather radio can also be programmed to alert you to a serious nuclear incident (think Fermi II), a hazmat situation necessitating a large evacuation, an emergency message from the president, and Amber Alerts.

A weather radio could be your only warning if a tornado strikes in the middle of the night when you're sleeping.

Commonly asked questions:

Can I set the radio to sound its siren for warnings only issued for my county?  Yes...you no longer have to be bothered by warnings for places far away from you.  You can program the radio to sound an alarm only for warnings issued for the county or counties you want to know about.  And remember that, like an alarm clock or smoke detector, your weather radio just sits there silently until a warning is issued.

Do the radios only work here in southeast Michigan?  Absolutely not!  You can take your radio anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, and it will work as long as you program the S.A.M.E. code and transmitter frequency for the county you will be in.  The programming is easy, and the instruction manual tells you how to do this.  The United States S.A.M.E. codes and frequencies are easily found at http://nws.noaa.gov/nwr/indexnw.htm.

What will these radios warn me about?  Most people focus on tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, but the radio will also alert you when other warnings are issued, such as Winter Storm Warnings, Flood Warnings, etc.  Furthermore, your radio will also sound an alarm when other types of emergency notifications are issued, such as an evacuation notice due to a chemical spill, and even amber alerts. 

Does the radio really need a battery in order to work?  No, you can just plug it into a standard outlet.  However, not installing a battery defeats the purpose of having the radio, because if you are sleeping and the power goes out, a battery will keep the radio working.  Most people have a fresh battery in their radio AND keep it plugged into the outlet. 

Why should I buy this radio when the tornado sirens will warn me?  First of all, most people don't realize that the tornado sirens are specifically designed to warn people OUTSIDE about approaching dangerous weather.  You sometimes don't hear the sirens if the air conditioning is on and your windows are closed.  Second, the sirens don't sound for most severe thunderstorm warnings, nor for most other types of weather advisories or warnings.  Third, what happens if a tornado threatens and your local tornado siren fails?  Think this is far-fetched?  It happened in the city of Woodward, Oklahoma, when a lightning strike knocked out the town's sirens during the day, and then a tornado came roaring through in the middle of the night.  Only people with weather radios (aside from those still awake and watching TV or on their computers) received warning of the approaching tornado.

Where else can I use these radios?  While the focus is on having one of these radios in your home, you should also consider having one in other places where you would want to receive warning of approaching dangerous weather, such as at work, your child's school, and your church, mosque, or synagogue.