NOAA Weather Radio Console Replacement System (CRS)

Fact Sheet

In January 1998, the National Weather Service (NWS) began a one-year process of implementing new equipment and procedures for automating NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts. The new, personal computer-based broadcasting console, known as the Console Replacement System (CRS), automates the process of reading written information for broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). Implementation of this state-of-the-art system is occurring simultaneously with a multi-year planned improvement and expansion of the NWR program.

NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio transmitters broadcasting continuous local weather information directly to the public. These local broadcasts originate from and are controlled by a neighboring NWS forecast office. NWR broadcasts National Weather Service watches, warnings, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day.

Known as the "Voice of the National Weather Service," NOAA Weather Radio is provided as a public service by the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NWR coverage includes the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

NOAA Weather Radio also broadcasts emergency and post-event information for all types of hazards -- both natural (such as severe weather, flooding, earthquakes and volcanic activity) and man-made (such as chemical releases or oil spills). Working with other Federal agencies and compatible with the Federal Communication Commission's new Emergency Alert System, NOAA Weather Radio is an "all hazards" radio network, making it the single source for the most comprehensive weather and emergency information available to the public.

The Console Replacement System (CRS)

The new Console Replacement System will automatically translate written National Weather Service forecasts and warnings into synthesized-voice recordings and schedule them for broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio.

This new automated system provides faster broadcasts of severe weather watches, warnings and emergency information over NOAA Weather Radio because multiple warnings can be both recorded and transmitted at once. This capability dramatically speeds up the broadcast of warnings during multiple severe weather events.

The automated technology will also significantly reduce the time it takes National Weather Service staff to record NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts allowing them to devote more time to critical warning services and forecast duties.

Since each transmitter operated by the NWS office also has a unique geographical coverage area, NWS staff members in the past manually recorded the forecasts and current weather information for each listening area. This was done using technology that limited programming variability and locked the messages into a repetitive sequential order. Producing and updating information in this manner was time consuming since most Weather Service forecast offices operate multiple (up to 13) different NOAA Weather Radio transmitters.

The National Weather Service began a one-year process of installing CRS in weather offices across the country in January 1998.

Benefits
CRS brings many benefits to the NOAA Weather Radio network. Specifically, the new automated broadcast system will significantly reduce the time it takes to record broadcast messages, forecasts, watches and warnings, allowing staff to devote more time to critical warning services and forecast duties.

Automating the process will make it easier for listeners to tune to NOAA Weather Radio at particular times for the information they need. Forecast offices will be able to broadcast particular forecasts and information such as marine and river forecasts or climate summaries in time slots on a more regular schedule (for example, at :06, :16, :26, :36, :46, and :56 each hour).

CRS technology will not require any changes to the receivers currently available at consumer electronics stores.


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