While Monday’s wintry weather slowed a few school systems down, it also caused trouble for some people who have NOAA weather radios.
Chris, the storm is winding down now but if you were using your weather radio for updates on the storm earlier today, you may have noticed the broadcasts were garbled. The culprit? Last nights glaze of ice.
Last spring we showed how NOAA weather radios can save your life when severe weather breaks out, and NOAA weather radios are still very useful this time of year for winter storms like the one we experienced Sunday into Monday.
But if you were checking your weather radio for the current conditions and forecast, the message may have been garbled beginning yesterday evening according the La Crosse National Weather Service Office.
"It looks like it ended up affecting 3 of our weather radio transmitters in Wisconsin. La Crosse, the one over near Tomah, WI and one down in Richland County northwest of the city of Richland Center," says NWS Meteorologist Todd Shea. He says the La Crosse transmitter has been switched to a back up system for the time being and will broadcast a degraded signal with low volume. And the other two transmitters will be out of service until further notice.
"They're still kind of trying to troubleshoot it but the theory is ice accumulation on some of the transmitter links based on the ice glazing that occurred yesterday and yesterday evening is causing some interference," says Shea.
He says the Wisconsin Education Communications Board is working to resolve the issues. He says these weather radio sites are fed by new radio link technology that was installed last year. This is the first time they have run into an issue with ice.
Technicians hope to have everything corrected soon. Shea says after this event they will work with the Wisconsin educational communications board to re-evaluate the new technology and see if there's a way to keep the problem elements ice free.