|Virtual Office Tour - NOAA Weather Radio|
One of the chief means of product dissemination in use by the NWS today is the one you are using right now, the Internet. Once you reach our homepage, your are just a few clicks of the mouse away from every one of the products that are issued by this office. Of course, everyone does not have access to the Internet, for example boaters out on the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, unless your are sitting in front of your computer, you will not get immediate notification of watches and warnings.
Even though it has been around for a while, NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) remains one of the best ways to get NWS watches and warnings instantaneously. The units, like the one pictured below, are mobile and can be set to alert you to severe weather using an alarm.
Just a few years ago, NWS personnel had to print a hardcopy of the products and then go to a special sound proof room to manually record all of our products onto tapes. This resulted in a delay between the issuance time of products, and the time they were played on NWR. In addition, the tapes often broke. This tape cartridge system was then replaced by digital consoles. This alleviated the tape breaking problem and improved audio quality, but still required a person to "rip and read" all of the products. In the late 1990s, the digital consoles were replaced by the appropriately named Console Replacement System (CRS). HMT Jim Bolden is pictured below using the CRS, which is located right in the operations area. CRS instantly translates text products into a computer-generated voice. This allows people to get the watches and warnings as soon as they are issued by our forecasters.
Until recently, the computer-generated voice did not sound very much like a person. However, in September 2002, the voice was upgraded to one of much higher quality.
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