NWS Birmingham: Temporary antenna installed for NOAA weather radio alerts

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The National Weather Service in Birmingham has installed a temporary antenna atop Red Mountain, allowing the NOAA weather radio to broadcast on a limited basis ahead of the threat of severe weather next week.The original transmitter recently experienced an outage, which prevented NWS Birmingham from sending weather radio alerts. Officials originally planned to have the transmitter replaced by May 3, but a storm system bringing the potential for severe weather across central Alabama on Monday and Tuesday of next week forced them to expedite their work plans."NWS technicians have successfully installed a temporary fix to the Birmingham transmitter," a spokesman for the weather service said in a news release. "While not returning to full power and coverage, we hope that this fix will provide coverage to a good number of radios that may not have been able to receive a sufficient signal from a backup transmitter. There are technical issues as to the type and length of cable, as well as the height of the tower that will limit our capabilities until the permanent replacement can be installed. We are still hoping to have that happen on or about May 3rd."The temporary antenna is said to be closer to the ground and operating a lower power, which means the coverage and quality of the reception on weather radios is likely to be reduced. NWS Birmingham will conduct tone alert tests for the local NOAA weather radio transmitter on the following dates and times:Thursday, 6 p.m.Friday, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.Saturday, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.Regularly scheduled weekly tests for all other central Alabama transmitters will be conducted Saturday at 11 a.m.The testing in Birmingham will allow those who depend on the NOAA weather radio alerts to determine if they will receive the warning messages. Officials say if you receive the test messages on the Birmingham frequency of 162.550 mhz, your radio should work properly in the event a warning is issued. If you don't receive the test messages, it is recommended that you use one of the following backup weather radio transmitters:Tuscaloosa:{} Broadcast frequency 162.400 mhzOneonta:{} Broadcast frequency 162.425 mhzAnniston:{} Broadcast frequency 162.475 mhzCullman:{} Broadcast frequency 162.450 mhz NWS Birmingham said that not all backup transmitters will tone for your specific county so it's extremely important to stay weather aware in the coming days. Download the ABC 33/40 Weather apps, including the James Spann 24/7 app, to receive important updates and alerts on your mobile devices.For more information on backup transmitters in your county, click here.As a final reminder, NWS Birmingham says certain weather radios will beep constantly if a weekly test doesn't occur, at minimum, every 10 days. The last weekly test occurred on Apr. 19, meaning if the transmitter is not operational by Apr. 29 or Apr. 30, some radios will continue to beep until a weekly test can be conducted.