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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release May 28, 1998
                          VICE PRESIDENT GORE 
              Launches New Public Service Announcements 
        To Highlight New Alarm To Broadcast Emergency Messages

Washington, DC --Vice President Gore launched two public service announcements (PSAs) today that will highlight the National Weather Services' effort to inform the public about severe weather in their area.

In the PSAs -- played today for the first time at a press conference at the National Hurricane Center in Miami -- the Vice President explains that the National Weather Service will use the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio receiver to sound an alarm when it broadcasts emergency messages. That step comes in response to the Vice President's call to make emergency broadcasts of severe weather conditions accessible to more Americans.

"All across America, families are being hit by severe weather that is devastating their homes and their lives," Vice President Gore said. "That's why I've recorded two PSAs about this special alarm on the NOAA Weather Radio receiver -- another way to help families protect their homes and their loved ones from severe storms."

Following a tornado that killed over 20 people in a rural Alabama church on Palm Sunday in 1994, the Vice President set two goals: (1) to make NOAA Weather Radios as common as smoke detectors in American homes and public gathering places; and (2) to extend the coverage provided by the NOAA Weather Radio transmitter network to 95 percent of the country.

NOAA Weather Radio, the "Voice of the National Weather Service," broadcasts official warnings and hazard information and local forecasts 24 hours a day over a growing national network of over 460 transmitters. Routine forecast information is updated every one to three hours, and NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts are repeated about every five minutes.

Since the Vice President's announcement in 1994, the National Weather Service has been actively promoting public-private partnerships to provide resources needed to extend NOAA Weather Radio coverage. Over 70 new weather radio transmitters have been installed since 1994 through grassroots partnerships, combining the resources of private enterprises; associations; and federal, state, and local agencies.