Weather Radios in SW Mo Lose Signal Before Severe Weather Ramp Up

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- When a tower fell in Fordland last week it took one life with it. Now, Quay Kendrick, with the Springfield branch of the National Weather Service is doing his best to ensure the loss of that tower doesn't endanger anyone else. 

You see, that tower was the source of emergency weather alerts to all of the NOAA weather radios in Greene, Webster, and Ozark Counties. It also covered parts of Douglas, Wright, Laclede, Polk, Dallas, Taney Stone and Lawrence counties.

"It was a pretty good size hole in our coverage," Kendrick says.

In an attempt to fill that gap, the National Weather Service did what it could and began broadcasting from a tower near its Springfield office. 

"It's not designed for this particular application,” Kendrick says. “It's only 300 watts. The transmitter is rated at 1000 and that's what we pumped out at Fordland but here at 300 watts."

And if the wattage is low so is the number of homes capable of receiving the makeshift tower's emergency broadcast.

"Unfortunately anyone outside about a 10 to 12-mile radius of the airport is out of coverage. So, we're very concerned about maintaining our mission of protecting life and property," Kendrick explains.

So now, after having lost signal to about two-thirds of the tower’s coverage area Kendrick and other Weather Service techs are testing what signal they have left. 

"We're driving out to see how far out we can get,” he says. "If you're in a valley. You may not be getting as much of a coverage."

Kendrick suggests doing what you can if you even suspect you'll have a weak signal heading into severe weather season. 

"Cell phones are an option,” he says. “Weather dot gov slash SGF will get you information."

NOAA suggests other alert alternatives such as staying tuned to a local news station that may deliver weather updates. Other options are to simply keep your ears peeled for sirens or stay in contact with a neighbor who may have greater access to weather alerts. 

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