(COLUMBUS, OHIO) – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio transmitter in Columbus (KIG-86), operating on a frequency of 162.550 megahertz, is currently out of service after being struck by lightning as a result of the severe storms on Monday. This outage may affect residents in the Central Ohio region who rely on NOAA weather radios for severe weather alerts and warnings.
“Severe weather can trigger outages and damage at any time, that’s why it is so important to have multiple contact methods to receive emergency warnings,” said Jeffrey J. Young, Director of Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “Although residents will still receive Tornado Warnings through the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEAS) when in an actual warning area, they can also sign up through ALERT Franklin County to receive other severe weather alerts and emergency information at alertfranklincounty.org.”
The lightning strike on Monday is believed to have been captured in this video: https://bit.ly/2FjJnhn. A photo of the transmitter is attached.
“We’ve had one or two lightning hits before that took out the surge suppresser, which is supposed to take the hit, but this was bigger and stronger than those,” said John Grembowksi, Jr., Communications Systems Manager for the Columbus Department of Public Safety.
Grembowski said he is working to assess whether the strike damaged just the antenna and surge suppresser, or the transmitter itself. That finding will determine the repairs needed and the timeline for getting the transmitter back online. The City of Columbus and National Weather Service will expedite any repairs to get the transmitter back in service as quickly as possible.
For more information on NOAA weather radio coverage areas in Ohio, please see the coverage maps at: https://www.weather.gov/nwr/ohio. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.