Hi folks. This post is about my experiences with the CANWARN training sessions this year. I purposely went to more than one of them, to get a feel for how each session is different from one and other and well, I will talk about that in this post.
To start off, each session talks about the following:
the basics of thunderstorms,
Why volunteer services such as CANWARN and SKYWARN are still relevant in this day and age of social media and abundant technology at our disposal,
the types of thunderstorms to watch for: Single cell thunderstorm, multi self under storm and super self under storm,
the rating system of tornados and why they are rated either: EF0 to EF5 in Canada,
how to report what you are witnessing,
how to keep on top of the weather,
severe weather safety, (I-E) lightning, flash flood, tornado and wind. There is a lot more but it would probably take up a lot of space.
As they do at the end of each session, they give out a door prize, whether it is a: Weather Radio, a knapsack, crank flashlight, crank radio, a water bottle and many other things over the years. However in recent years, not everyone is able to receive such a prize. So, everyone is entered into a raffle, which is drawn at the end of each session. In my own case, I actually won a Midland W-R120 Weather Radio at my first session this year. I almost declined entering because I hadn’t won anything to that point, but I did and well, you know the result.
As for the differences between each session, not much really besides the location. I did notice the prize list getting one item longer with each of the 3 sessions I attended. The first one I attended on May 7th at Environment and Climate Change Canada HQ, 4 Weather Radios were given away. The second on May 24th in Mississauga 2 Weather Radios, a Device called a blackout buddy and a crank flashlight were given away. The May 26 session in Oakville saw a Weather Radio, one blackout buddy, one crank flashlight and a knapsack being given away to 4 very lucky people. The material which was covered at all3 was about the same, but there was one item which was missed at the Toronto session, which was on how to keep on top of the potential for severe thunderstorms. It was covered at the latter 2 sessions I attended!
The other cool thing about these sessions is that a lot of videos are also show’n, with the purpose of training of course, but also because they have an element of humour in them. For example: imagine being in your vehicle and in a tornado or violent wind storm. How would you react normally? One of the videos shows a guy in his truck in such a situation, without any sort of emotion or fear in his Demeanor. Well, I guess because he was filming the for YouTube he felt he had to be rather calm cool and collected. I don’t know but if I was in a situation like that I wouldn’t be so possitive, as if to say “I’ll just wait for this tornado to go away and I’ll be on my way.” Well, he did say that there was some damage to his front mirror or something and that may have excited him somewhat. I don’t know if he actually got out and checked at the time but I imagine that he didn’t.
The other purpose of these videos is to show how foolish some people are, to risk their lives and try to either: check the damage of their vehicle, sitting on a porch during a thunderstorm, or any number of stupid things people do, for the sake of getting a weather event and themselves on YouTube. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2259251611?view=permalink&id=10153428551176612
I put this link here because it points out the potential for thunderstorms to become severe and to potentially cause injury or death. For example: in the video and during each CANWARN and likely every SKYWARN training session, we are told “if thunder roars go indoors.” I can’t tell you how many people ignore that and just go about their lives, with no thought about the potential dangers they could be facing, with lightning, damaging winds and even water, if enough rain has fallen. I think that this is because either people don’t care or the message should be sent out with every watch, warning and media report on the news. People listen to the news to stay up to date… right?
Well, I have enjoyed my 2016 CANWARN Tour and hopefully next year I can show up at even more sessions and meet more people. That’s the other reason I enjoy going to these sessions! You get to meet people who are interested in similar things to you and in some cases, you may even get a chance to met the people who bring you the weather forecasts and warnings. At the Toronto CANWARN sessions we get to go on a tour of the weather centre and even the radio room, which is where all the ham radio activity takes place. My first session was the best in that regard, I that I had a chance to meet one of the voices I heard on Weatheradio Canada back in 1988 to 1991. It was really cool to be inside where the most important information of the day comes out. I imagine that most SKYWARN sessions are held at weather offices and a tour of the weather centre and radio room are conducted there too.
Well, that’s about it for this post and if I have missed anything, I apologize. I am certainly looking forward to next year.