As weather disasters increase, Cantwell and Cruz introduce bills to modernize the state…
In 2022, the United States Experienced 18 weather and climate-related disasters, each with damage exceeding $1 billionResulting in the deaths of nearly 500 people and damage worth $171.5 billion
Bell will expand the National Weather Service’s radio alert coverage to 98-99% of the United States
Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio Modernization Act and the National Weather Service Communications Improvement Act, They are two national weather bills aimed at modernizing the country’s weather communications and radio service as the country faces increasing climate disasters.
“With extreme weather events, wildfires and climate-related emergencies on the rise across the country, communities need reliable, real-time alerts to keep their families safe and their homes safe.” Senator Cantwell said. “These bipartisan bills would upgrade the National Weather Service’s transmission technology, expand radio alert coverage in rural communities, and reform weather radio stations across the country, including 17 stations in Washington state.”
“When severe storms destroy communications systems in Texas and other states, Americans need a reliable hazard communications system to tell them how to stay safe. These bills would modernize NOAA’s weather radio so we have fully operational early warning systems Reliable and able to reach Texans with the information they need during disasters. Senator Cruz said.
NOAA’s Weather Radio Modernization Act would:
- Upgrades to legacy weather radio technology are needed to provide reliable and continuous weather and emergency alerts.
- Expand radio coverage to include rural areas that do not currently have access to the National Weather Radio Alert System.
- Increase National Weather Radio coverage to reach 98-99% of the US population.
- Modernize the National Weather Radio infrastructure and reduce reliance on copper wire transmissions – which are increasingly unreliable because copper is affected by extreme temperature changes and severe weather.
It would be the National Weather Service Communications Improvement Act:
- Improving the National Weather Service’s internal instant messaging system.
- Implementing a modern cloud system to accommodate more users and faster service.
As many states continue to battle severe weather – many communities have faced weather radio outages, including earlier this year when National Weather Service weather radio transmitters in Nashville and Knoxville failed and were unable to send critical weather alerts to Population during storms. In 2022, the United States experienced 18 weather and climate-related disasters each exceeding $1 billion in damage, resulting in nearly 500 deaths and $171.5 billion in damage.
NOAA’s National Weather Service operates a nationwide network of public radio stations that broadcast weather warnings, forecasts, and emergency information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NOAA’s Weather Radio includes more than 1,000 transmitters, covering all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the U.S. Pacific Territories. Broadcasts include warnings, watches, and forecasts for natural disasters such as storms, fires, earthquakes, avalanches, and even environmental hazards such as chemical or oil spills. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), more than 400 National Weather Service transmitters will need to be replaced in the next five years.
Senator Cantwell is an advocate for climate and weather technology, allocating $3.3 billion in NOAA investments in the Inflation Reduction Act to help communities prepare for and adapt to climate change, advance the science needed to understand changing weather and climate patterns and invest in advanced computer technologies . Which are critical for extreme weather forecasting and emergency response. Last year, Senator Cantwell introduced the Fire Ready Nation Act to create a Fire Weather Services program within NOAA – allowing participation in wildfire response activities and providing funding for science and technology to predict the weather conditions that cause and spread wildfires, as well as weather products. Needed on the ground to inform and protect first responders during a fire. The bill was approved out of committee in May 2022.