HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - The National Weather Service in Wakefield says their NOAA Weather Radio is working again after a construction crew accidentally cut a fiber line before Friday night's storms.
Jeff Orrock with National Weather Service says road crews were doing construction and cut a fiber line, cutting service on Weather Radio.
"The NOAA Weather Radio audio is driven by phone lines. (Friday) afternoon a phone line or phone trunk was cut at the transmitter site and so not only did our NOAA radio transmitter go down, but I think other telephone service in the immediate area around the transmitter also went down for several hours," says NWS meteorologist Bill Sammler.
Sammler went on to say, "We do have a remote system that tells us if the audio to the transmitter has been disrupted and we'll actually get a phone call here in the office within the time that that occurs and then we can begin trouble shooting because there are a number of different ways that the audio to the transmitter can go down, not the least of which is if the transmitter itself fails."
Sammler says the timing of the mistake was not good.
"It's not a good feeling because NOAA Weather Radio is one of our primary ways that we get warnings out to the public and obviously that wasn't a viable means of getting warnings to the public (Friday). In a tornado warning situation, that prevents the emergency alert system from being activated as well because we are a primary input into the emergency alert system for weather related warnings.
Fortunately everything happened at a time when there could be television coverage of what was happening. There are other means that WAVY and the other TV stations in Hampton Roads have of getting warnings out to the public. They're not dependent on NOAA Weather Radio per se, but the alert system, and in most cases the radio stations, are the ones that re-transmit our warnings via the emergency alert system. They would not have gotten that alert via NOAA Weather Radio and as a result, EAS wouldn't have been activated."
Sammler says it's unclear who actually cut the line and he does not know what, if any, disciplinary action will be taken.
Orrock advises that anyone who listens to Weather Radio should instead refer to the NWS website or stay close to their television sets as an alternative.
The following areas in Virginia are affected:
- Franklin (city)
- James City (city)
- Newport News
- Virginia Beach
The following counties in North Carolina are affected:
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