The amateur radio SKYWARN net based in Fort Wayne will undergo slight changes, effective Feb 1, 2017. Formerly known as the IMO SKYWARN Quadrant Two Net, it will now be referred to as the Allen County SKYWARN Net. The net will continue, however, to accept and relay reports from spotters outside Allen County, including stations in places like DeKalb and Defiance County, which were not officially part of the former quadrant net’s responsibility. Continue reading
My feet get warm easily. I have a pair of Chacos brand sandals that I wear almost every day during warm weather. But not on days that I might need to serve as a storm spotter.
If severe weather is coming our way, I usually change into a sturdy pair of ankle-supporting hunting boots I bought on sale at Cabela’s, even if I’ll be staying home during the storm.
Why? On word: debris.
After a storm passes, I might have to walk through storm debris, which can include pieces of trees and pieces of buildings. The walking surface might be uneven. Some of the debris might have sharp edges.
I choose to protect my feet from all that, a practice I learned back in the 90s when I served as an emergency medical technician and communications technician on a Disaster Medical Assistance Team. It’s how I dressed my feet every day, even in tropical weather when assisting the victims of Hurricanes Andrew and Marilyn.
My advice: If you’re a storm spotter or storm chaser, get yourself a good pair of boots to wear anytime you’re in the field, even on hot, humid days. And no matter who you are, if you ever have to take shelter in your house from a coming storm, take the most protective footwear you have with you to the basement, interior room, etc. Put them on after the storm, before you step outside to survey the damage. Your feet will be much safer.
This is an update to my post from earlier today.
In its early afternoon “Day Two Convective Outlook,” the NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) strengthened its severe weather forecast for tomorrow, Thursday, April 18. The new outlook indicates that about half of Indiana has a moderate risk of severe weather between 8 a.m. April 18 and 8 a.m. April 19. The moderate risk area includes approximately the western half of the northern Indiana NWS office’s county warning area. In IMO SKYWARN quadrant two, only Whitley County is in the moderate risk area as of this outlook. The remainder of quadrant two is in a slight risk area. See the map below.
Severe storm season could get underway in Indiana this week. Today, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued a “Day 3 Convective Outlook” that outlines an area in which the SPC believes there is a slight risk of severe storms on Wednesday, April 10. The slight risk area is indicated by yellow in the map below.
As you can see, the yellow area covers almost the entire state of Indiana. It also covers all of the counties IMO SKYWARN has designated as “quadrant two,” which is the quadrant I represent on the IMO SKYWARN board of directors.
What does this mean to you? I recommend the following:
- Go to the SPC site tomorrow and check out the “Day Two Convective Outlook” for a more specific forecast on the risk of severe weather Wednesday.
- On Wednesday, check the SPC “Day One Convective Outlook” for even more specific information and if the risk of severe weather is still present in your area, be sure to monitor NOAA Weather Radio, your favorite broadcast station and/or other sources for any watches the SPC issues.
- If you’re a spotter, spend the next couple days making sure all your gear is ready to go for the season and review your training.
How are you preparing for storm season? Add a comment below!
In the December issue of Allen County HamNews, I hinted at a possible change in reporting criteria for SKYWARN spotters. During a conference call with leaders of IMO SKYWARN, NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Michael Lewis discussed a goal for spotter reports. Lewis wants reports to be based more on weather impact than on measurements such as wind speed or hail size. For example, if the weather does damage or causes injury, Lewis wants to know about it, even if conditions do not meet traditional reporting criteria.
- Why to report
- What to report
- How to report (including telephone, ham radio, etc. and new tools like social media)
- Where to obtain the reports of others (for situational awareness)
- Skywarn Spotter Training — https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_course.php?id=23 — (a two-module course including modules on the role of the spotter and basics of convection)
- Northern Indiana NWS SKYWARN Information Web page (http://www.crh.noaa.gov/iwx/?n=nwsnorthernindianaskywarnpage)
- “Role of the SKYWARN spotter” from The COMET® Program (http://www.meted.ucar.edu/spotter_training/spotter_role/)
- “SKYWARN Spotter Convective Basics” from The COMET® Program (http://www.meted.ucar.edu/spotter_training/convective/)
- “Spotter Report Data Quality” from the NWS Warning Decision Training Branch (http://wdtb.noaa.gov/modules/spotters/player.html)
- “Storm Spotter Training” from the Des Moines, Iowa NWS office (http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dmx/presentations/spotter-training/NWS-Spotter-Training_files/v3_document.htm)
- Spotter Network (www.spotternetwork.org)
- SKYWARN Weather Spotter’s Field Guide (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/SGJune6-11.pdf)
- Education. By learning all we can about meteorology, we can assure that all our reports are valid and valuable.
- Technology. By becoming familiar with and using other technologies to supplement ham radio (e.g. tweeting photos from smart phones), we can provide a more complete service while demonstrating our ability to stay on the “cutting edge.”
- Procedures. By insisting on sounding as professional as possible when we communicate, we can build credibility among any IWT members who monitor or receive our reports.