Warning and Alert System/Weather Bulletins

These systems have been established to provide you with critical information during a crisis.


The Emergency Alert System (“EAS”)

Most people are familiar with the Emergency Alert System because of test broadcasts that interrupt their favorite radio station programming or TV show with jarring tones and the announcement "This is a test."

While those interruptions can be inconvenient, they are important and can carry lifesaving warnings about hazardous conditions in the local broadcast area.

EAS is designed to allow government authorities to notify the public of impending emergencies via voluntary cooperation of the broadcast media. The federal government requires broadcast stations to carry announcements by the president during times of national emergency, but all other EAS functions are voluntary, carried out as part of the industry’s public service effects.

In New Hampshire EAS is operated by the State Emergency Communications Committee, which is made up of representatives of the broadcast industry and public safety agencies, including the New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Management (BEM). Veteran New Hampshire broadcaster Ed Brouder chairs the committee.

The system has three origination points: BEM Communications, New Hampshire State Police Communications and the National Weather Service Office in Gray, Maine. All three origination points transmit test messages, but the National Weather Service is the most frequent user of the system for actual alerts.

From the origination points, the EAS signal is carried via microwave to Mt. Washington, the Veterans Administration Hospital in Manchester, Mt. Kearsarge in Merrimack Country and Highland Hill in Cheshire County.

From the microwave relays, the signal is carried to seven primary stations: WHOM in Portland, Maine; WOKQ in Dover, WMUR-TV in Manchester, WGIR-FM in Manchester, WKNE-FM in Keene, WHDQ-FM in Claremont and WLNH-FM in Laconia. Other stations and cable TV systems monitor one of the primary stations and rebroadcast the signal from it. In all, five TV stations and 84 radio stations, and all of the state’s cable TV franchises, will broadcast a statewide message.

Many broadcast stations and all cable TV systems today are automated and designed for unattended operation. EAS is designed to operate using automated equipment. Those tones that start and end each message are designed to get the attention of human listeners, but also to trigger EAS receivers and relay the message

NOAA All Hazards Radio – These small and relatively inexpensive radio receivers monitor the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (“NOAA”) network of transmitters 24-hours a day.


Summer Weather Bulletins

Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Conditions are favorable for the development or approach of severe thunderstorms.

Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio stations for possible warnings.

Tornado Watch - Conditions are favorable for the development or approach of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio stations for possible warnings.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning - A severe thunderstorm (a storm with winds in excess of 58 miles per hour or with 3/4" or larger hail, or both) is indicated by Doppler radar or reported by a trained Skywarn spotter. Take cover immediately in a sturdy building. Stay away from doors, windows, and water faucets. Do not use the telephone or appliances unless it is a life-threatening emergency. Listen to a battery powered radio tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio stations to keep informed.

Tornado Warning - A tornado or mature funnel cloud has been detected by Doppler radar or has been reported by a trained Skywarn spotter. Take cover immediately in a sturdy building. Go to the lowest floor, preferably into a small windowless room and crouch under a sturdy desk or table. Stay away from doors, windows, and water faucets. Do not use the telephone or appliances unless it is a life-threatening emergency. Listen to a battery powered radio tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio stations to keep informed.

Flood Watches and Warnings - A Flood or Flash Flood (inundation of water within hours) Watch means you should keep aware of local conditions, especially if you are near a flood prone area, river, creek or stream. A Flood Warning means flooding is imminent. If rising water nears, you should immediately evacuate to higher ground. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roadways or underpasses. Listen to a battery powered radio tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio stations to keep informed.


Winter Weather Bulletins

Winter Storm Watch - A major snow and/or ice storm is developing and may arrive within 24 to 48 hours.

Winter Weather Advisory - Up to 6 inches of snow, light blowing snow, light sleet, and/or light freezing rain is possible over a 12-hour period.

Winter Storm Warning - 6 or more inches of snow or significant ice accumulation is expected.

Ice Storm Warning - Significant amounts of freezing rain will create 1/4" or more of ice on outdoor surfaces.

Blizzard Warning - Snow with sustained winds of 35 miles per hour is occurring now or can be expected soon.

Local Winter Travel Bulletins - Travelers Advisory - Roads are snow and/or ice covered, and hazardous driving conditions are possible with traffic moving at reduced speed. Drivers are urged to use caution and allow for an extended drive time.

Hazardous driving conditions have been confirmed with heavy snow or ice, drifting snow, and limited visibility. Traffic is moving at reduced speeds with major highways being maintained in fair condition, but local roads may be impassable. Motorists are urged that if they must drive, use extreme care and allow for a significant drive time.

Extremely hazardous driving conditions exist on major highways with heavy snow or ice, severe drifting, and very poor visibility. The majority of local roads are impassable. Traffic is stalling in some areas, and the storm is expected to continue or worsen. The entire road system may become completely unusable. Citizens are urged to cancel any travel plans and stay off the roads completely.