NOAA Weather Radio signal down, affecting boaters

Virginia Beach, Va. – A lot of people rely on NOAA Weather Radios to alert them during severe weather. But some folks also depend on them everyday, especially boaters.

NewsChannel 3 told you that the NOAA Weather Radio System, that serves most of Hampton Roads, is off the air for the next three to six weeks. That’s because water entered a transmission line at the National Weather Service tower in Driver recently. The water froze, busting the line.

“We rely on it for our daily business to take people out offshore,” said Captain Wes Feller who works Rudee Tours in Virginia Beach. He says getting weather information from his NOAA Weather Radio is vital to his business to make sure conditions are safe before heading offshore.

“We won’t cancel [a tour] due to the rain. We’re all enclosed boats. But wind, when it comes to the wind, we’re not going to go out if it’s going to be rough and unenjoyable for people,” said Feller.

Some boaters we talked to say they mainly use apps on their phones to get weather information. But when they are miles and miles offshore, their phones become useless. That’s when the weather radio comes in handy.

“Out 10 miles is about all the service we get. So outside of that, you know, we got to rely on the tools we have onboard,” said Feller.

The National Weather Service Office in Wakefield says some boaters may be able to pick up information from other transmitters off the Eastern Shore or North Carolina. However, for others, depending on their location offshore, they may not be able to get those signals.

“Generally offshore like that, you won’t get their signals, so we rely on this one,” said Feller.

The National Weather Service Office in Wakefield plans to install new cables and a new antenna over the next several weeks at their tower site in Driver.  While you will not be able to receive weather alerts on your weather radio for sometime, you can still receive that information on your phone or by logging on to weather.gov/wakefield.

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