Tornado Season...Do you have batteries for the "Over The Air" radio?

May 17, 2023 at 08:26 am by WGNS

(MURFREESBORO)  The deadly tornadoes that marched across Middle Tennessee earlier this year are a reminder that these violently rotating columns of air can touch down any place, at any time. Preparing for them is vital to keeping your family safe. And remember, when those killer storms cross our community, keep a battery powered radio nearby.

Do you have an "Over The Air Radio"?



So many people now listen to WGNS on their cellphones, Smartphones, and over the internet. When twisters strike, they not only destroy homes and devestate communities, but the storms destroy power lines, cable TV and cell phones usually go down in the impacted area.

That's why you need to have a working "over-the-air" radio. 

For 76-years, WGNS has built a reputation of getting vital information out to residents from emergency responders. Tune to AM 1450, FM 101.9 and FM 100.5.

This can not be emphasized enough, during a deadly tornado--"over the air radios" are often the only source of emergency information. Your cell phones do not work, there is no electricity in your home to run TVs, cable TV is out--the only connection is "over the air" radio.   


The new Tornado Alley

Tennessee sees a disproportionately high number of twisters each year compared to other parts of the United States. In 2021, Middle Tennessee saw 46 of the 67 tornadoes that struck the state. Historically, the most tornadoes occur between March and May and again between mid-October and November.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale, or EF Scale, is used to assign a tornado a “rating” based on estimated wind speeds and related damage. An EF-0 tornado has an estimated 65 to 85 mph winds. Wind estimates of an EF-5 tornado are over 200 mph. 

If the National Weather Service issues a tornado watch, it means be prepared. Hail and damaging wind threats are expected and multiple tornadoes could spin up. Tornado warnings, usually issued for an hour or less, mean take cover. Sustained winds could equal or exceed 58 mph, which the National Weather Service says could cause loose objects to become dangerous projectiles and could also uproot diseased trees. 

But that’s no reason to let weather predictions leave you feeling stressed. It’s also a good reason to be prepared year-round.

Know your area’s tornado risk, know the signs that conditions are right for a tornado, and practice your emergency plan for your family and pets. In other words, know whether to shelter in place or go to your identified safe place, which could mean leaving town or deciding to stay with friends or family.

Be Prepared

Before a tornado touches down, it’s a good idea to invest in a NOAA Weather Radio. A public service offered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, weather information is broadcast directly and continuously from the nearest National Weather Service office. 

Again, we emphasize having a good "over the air" radio that will connect you directly with emergency agencies that serve the storm area.

WGNS connects you with Murfreesboro or Smyrna Police Departments, and the Rutherford County Sheriffs Office. In addition Rutherford Emergency Management. 

Some communities use the Emergency Alert System, a national public warning system, to deliver warnings of imminent threats to specific areas. A severe weather threat such as a tornado warning can be sent by state and local public safety officials. If your community has sirens, become familiar with the warning tone.

Designate a SAFE ROOM

If you don’t have a safe room you can access in an emergency, the next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room or basement on the lowest level of your home, or the windowless room of a sturdy building. Prepare for your emergency stay by packing supplies you need. Click Build A Kit | for an emergency supply list. 

If your safe room is a closet, keep a space for you and possibly pets to shelter from the storm. Have the space cleared and ready. You may not have time to clear an area for you to sit as a storm hits. 

Once inside your safe place, protect yourself by covering your head and neck with your arms or a helmet and cocooning yourself with blankets. If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, do not try to outrun the twister. Take the same precautions: Cover your head. 

Simply put, preparing for severe weather means knowing what to do.

Vital Information

For the latest information on Tennessee’s recovery from the severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes, visit You may also follow,, @FEMARegion4/Twitter and

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