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USDA Awards more than $415,000 in Weather Radio Transmitter Grants to Bring Early Warning Broadcasts to Rural America


Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the award of more than $415,000 in grants for Weather Radio Transmitters to extend the coverage of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) early warning system to seven rural communities.

“With the tragedy of the tornadoes hitting towns in Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama and Georgia recently, we have heard national broadcasters saying everyone should have a NOAA Weather Radio,” Johanns said. “These seven grants to rural communities who do not have coverage from NOAA Weather Radio Transmitters will help save lives.”

The NWR is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting 24 hours a day from National Weather Service offices to alert people of approaching dangerous weather and other emergencies, including natural, environmental and public safety alerts. Thousands of people die or lose property annually because they did not know soon enough about hazards, disasters or emergencies.

The NWR covers all major metropolitan areas and many smaller cities and towns. The Weather Radio Transmitter grant program helps provide coverage to those rural areas that do not have NWR coverage or are poorly covered.

The grants awarded today are funded using residual funds from grant projects that were completed under budget. Today’s award brings to 91 the total number of grants awarded to electric and telecommunications cooperatives, non-profit groups and state and local governments covering 100 sites in 26 states and Puerto Rico. The recipients of the seven Weather Radio Transmitter grants are:

City of Nenana - Alaska $39,438
Consolidated Telcom - North Dakota $54,767
Custer Public Power District - Nebraska $59,600
Virginia, Dept. of Emergency Management - Halifax County $69,600
Virginia, Dept. of Emergency Management - Wythe County $48,800
Gogebic County Office of Emergency Services - Michigan $71,642
Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative-Tennessee - Wayne County $72,000

Details of the grant recipients and projects and further information on rural development programs is available on USDA’s web site at or at local USDA Rural Development offices.


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