Efforts continue to make weather warnings more accessible to those who are deaf or have partial hearing loss.
NOAA weather radios provide a variety of weather warnings and civil emergency messages for a specific area of a National Weather Service forecast office.
Such radios have been available since 1999 with adaptations for people with hearing loss, according to research published on "A Hole in the Weather Warning System" in the February 2003 Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. They have strobe lights and bed-shaker attachments to help with the alerts.
About 17 percent of Americans, or 36 million people, experience some degree of hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
The NWS office in Nashville, the Metro Office of Emergency Management and the Nashville Chapter of the American Red Cross will host a symposium Saturday where deaf and partial-hearing loss households will receive a free NOAA weather radio with a strobe light and bed shaker/pillow vibrator attachments.
A pilot project also continues between the federal government and NPR to explore an emergency communications system for those with hearing loss, located in the Gulf Coast and connected to the Public Radio Satellite System.
"The U.S. Gulf Coast, where sudden and sometimes life-threatening weather systems are prevalent, serves as an excellent testing ground for this project due to the urgent need for all residents to have access to real-time emergency information and alerts," NPR spokesman Emerson Brown said.
Twenty-five public radio stations in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas will send alerts, as needed, to about 500 volunteers, who will judge the effectiveness of the program, Brown said.
Each participating station will receive a satellite receiver and hardware to receive and distribute the emergency transmissions. Volunteers will receive a special FM receiver and a 7-inch Android computer that will receive and display the messages.
The transmissions are scheduled to take place for about three weeks in December. All stations and volunteers will keep the equipment after the pilot project is complete.
A final report on the project is expected in January 2014 to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Success will be defined by the ability to receive, transmit, interpret and act upon the messages, Brown said.
It will also be successful that a system is developed for all people to rely on battery-powered radios or other devices in emergencies when electricity, the Internet or other communication means are unavailable.
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Following severe storms that produced several tornadoes and tore a path of destruction through Jacksonville, Alabama, on Monday, residents from Florida to coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina should be on alert for severe weather on Tuesday.
Severe thunderstorms will threaten lives and property in portions of the southeastern United States into Tuesday in one of the first severe weather outbreaks of the year.
Over the first half of March, three separate and powerful nor’easters rattled the mid-Atlantic and Northeast and that number could increase to four later this week.
A second round of cold air from the “Beast from the East” sent temperatures tumbling below freezing across much of Germany over the weekend and little relief is expected through midweek.
Tropical Cyclone Eliakim has claimed the lives of at least 17 people in Madagascar as the storm produced flooding and mudslides.
Another major storm will spread wet snow and travel disruptions from parts of Tennessee and Kentucky to coastal New Hampshire and Maine as winter winds down and spring begins.
As a second storm in three days pushes east of the Rockies, severe and drenching storms will erupt across areas from the southern Plains to the Southeast to close out this weekend.