WEATHER_RADIO_LISTENERS_NEWSLETTER_ISSUE_12_August_23rd_2014Welcome to the 12th issue of the Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter. In this issue, we have many of the same exciting articles you have come to know and love throughout the last 11 issues of the newsletter. There will also be a few new things thrown in there, for good measure. Please read on and enjoy.
Hello, this is your friendly author welcoming you to the 12th issue of the Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter. I hope you’re having a great summer and all is well. Thank you all for helping me keep this newsletter alive. Your contributions are equally as important as my own so keep them coming and I may put them in a future issue.
Speaking of contributions, I should fess up to a mistake I made in the credits at the end of the last issue. I credited somebody as Kyle Stout. Actually, it was a combination of Daryl Stout and Kyle Storminater, who have contributed to the last 2 issues. I’m very sorry about that and it will not happen again. Okay, now that we have that out-of-the-way let’s get on to some other stuff in this issue. Shall we?
Since this issue is coming out in August there has been at least 1 Hurricane that has occurred. That was of course, hurricane Arthur which disrupted most July 4 weekend activities. I will have more to say about it later in this issue, from Environment Canada and others.
Also, as I have mentioned in past issues I have a blog. I use it to promote the newsletter and my other interests. In a recent post I mentioned some of the differences between NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada as I see it. Here is the link to it.
http://wp.me/p47Auw-4r via @wordpressd.com
I have also been sending to most new additions to the mailing list a link to a post that was published after the last issue was released.
Recently I have sent out a mass blast with a new email address and this will be the main address for all things related to the newsletter. However, there are those who are used to my other email addresses too, who may wish to contribute and that’s okay. This new address is mainly for distributing the newsletter and it will be the go to email address for new members of the mailing list.
One more thing that goes along with the new email address is a new Twitter account. It was created especially for those of you who are on the mailing list and who have yet to join. The handle is WxrNewsletter and I encourage all who are reading this to follow this account if you are on Twitter. I will tweet from time to time and I also encourage people to tweet anything Weather Radio related to this account. I have been considering a section for the newsletter with Twitter in mind. That’s about all I can say about that for now. It’s up to you and whether it gets off the ground or not. I hope you enjoy this issue and future issues of the newsletter. I don’t do this myself, as is stated by the thank you’s at the end of each issue. I feel that everyone should be given some sort of recognition for what they contribute and you are all just as important to this as myself and Dennis, my Co-editor.
– FROM THE MIDLAND RADIO NEWSLETTER – Weather Radio Awareness
Weather Radio Programming Events Sweep Across the Nation
Every year, Midland collaborates with local TV stations to bring communities across the nation access to weather radios. As part of these events, news stations host community wide weather programming days. The events are free to attend and open to the public. You can bring any brand of weather radio to be tuned up and programmed by representatives who are familiar with several brands and types of weather radios. Events are offered as a service to the public to help ensure all are protected by NOAA weather alert radios. To find a weather programming event near you, please visit the MidlandUSA Facebook Page or check with your local emergency manager.
A Solution for Every Home – Choose the Right Weather Radio for Your Needs It’s easy to choose the right weather radio once you understand the differences between a weather alert radio and a weather band radio. After that it’s just a matter of choosing the type that best fits your lifestyle. Many require a combination of two or three different types to protect themselves both outdoors and indoors. For others, a desktop weather alert radio will suffice. Both standalone Weather Radios and Weather Band Radios have been discussed in the newsletter in past issues. For more information, check out the first 4 issues, in particular.
As the author of this newsletter, I feel strongly that every home in North America should have not just the essentials such as: smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but a Weather Radio can save your life in the event of dangerous weather. Yes, both NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada have had technical problems and will more than likely continue to have them in the future. However, when they are both working they are a valuable tool to keep up with the weather, when both landlines and cell phones go down, alongside ham radio.
I imagine that those of us in Ontario, who were hit by tornados in the past month or so probably don’t have a Weather Radio.
In the case of the Angus Ontario tornado on June 17, I will grant that nobody was killed but there may have been some minor injuries, along with about 100 buildings either destroyed or damaged. I still think that those who endured Mother Nature’s wrath that day, should have had a Weather Alert Radio. After all, Collingwood XMJ316 does in fact provide the forecast and warning information for the area. For more information on this and all other Canadian tornadoes throughout history, check this link out.
This page is constantly updated to the most current tornado events in Canada.
THE SIMPSONS 25TH ANNIVERSARY
This year is the 25th anniversary of the TV show The Simpsons. Since they have inserted weather into some episodes as a plot device, I have decided to spotlight the relevant episodes in the last issue of the newsletter and the next 2 as well. Besides the fact that I am a huge fan of the show, I think it is good to talk about each of these episodes because, while it is satirical in nature it
discusses something that: people, animals and inanimate objects have to deal with every day of their lives.
Homer is lazily enjoying his latest mid-afternoon nap outside, when the winds begin to pick up. Lisa consults her weather instruments and a question-and-answer book and finds out a hurricane will soon strike Springfield. Lisa wakes Homer up and tells him “I think a hurricane is coming!” “Homer says there’s no record of a hurricane ever hitting Springfield.” Lisa informs him that “the records only go back to 1978 when the hall of records was mysteriously blown away.” Homer hears Santa’s Little Helper (the family dog) whining and he clues in to the reality of what is coming. Kent Brockman says on Channel 6 news “the weather service has warned us to brace ourselves for the onslaught of Hurricane Barbara.” He comments on the coming storm by saying “and if you think naming a destructive storm after a woman is sexist you obviously have never seen the gals grabbing for items at a clearance sale.”
Panicked residents quickly gather supplies and food at the Kwik-E-Mart, as Apu informs everyone “we’ll be letting you into the store. Remain calm. You will all have a chance to be gouged.” He says this as the panic citizens of Springfield plant to beat Apu up and take whatever they can find.
On the other hand, Ned Flanders remains calm as the main storm approaches, having fitted his home with a large tent like guard to keep it hunkered down. As the bad weather hits, the Simpsons do their best at family bonding in the basement, by playing with a Rubik’s cube. When the eye of the hurricane hits Homer mistakenly gives the all clear but his family tell him it is only the eye. He suddenly says “I don’t remember a bowling alley being there “and screams as the storm kicks back in. Marge prays to God to spare the Simpsons home. When the hurricane finally passes, everyone is relieved that it caused absolutely no damage to their home, or seemingly anyone else’s.
Unfortunately for the Flanders family, they weren’t so lucky. Their house is the only one that has been totally destroyed, “it’s all gone. Everything gone-diddilly-on.”. However, Ned is relieved that his family escaped serious injury. Unfortunately that is of little solace since he does not have homeowner’s insurance because he considered insurance a form of gambling. The Flanders family is forced to move into the church basement. There, he watches news accounts of the storm’s aftermath, and is further discouraged when footage is shown of his own store The Leftorium, being cleaned out by looters. He is seeking answers from God as to why this happened to him. Also, Maude and Rev. Lovejoy attempt to reassure Ned things will work out fine. He tries to search the Bible for the answer, but all he gets is a paper cut. He tries asking God directly why he’s being punished when he’s done everything the bible said (even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff) but doesn’t get an answer.
In an attempt to show their community spirit and friendship, Marge commissions everyone in Springfield to rebuild the Flanders’ home. The job is completed in record time, and Ned is overjoyed – that is, until he inspects their workmanship, which turns out to be (at best) shoddy; for example, some of the floor is made of dirt because they ran out of floorboards, the toilet is in the kitchen and the door to the main bedroom is only large enough to accommodate a cat at best. The makeshift house soon crumbles, and Ned, who knows that everyone tried their best, tries containing his anger, but his temper explodes. He angrily speaks his mind about everyone’s efforts, then rants on about specific residents, such as Bart Simpson and Krusty The Clown, ending his tirade by calling Homer “the worst human being I have ever met.” Homer states, “Hey, I got off pretty easy.”
At this time, Ned fears he has lost his mind and is on the verge of a mental breakdown, He checks himself into the Calmwood Mental Hospital to seek therapy. There, he is treated by his childhood psychiatrist, Dr. Foster, who reminds Ned that – because his beatnik parents did not believe in discipline – he was a rambunctious, out-of-control child in need of psychiatric counseling. The therapy that was used is called the University of Minnesota Spankalogical Protocol, which involved eight months of continuous spanking. Although it reformed Ned from his bratty behavior, it rendered him unable to express any anger at all and resulted in his trademark nonsensical jabbering at moments when he was particularly close to losing his temper. This caused Ned to unknowingly repress his anger, until it built up inside him and erupted in his tirade of insults at the townspeople. Dr. Foster, now having seen that his earlier therapy was inappropriate, enlists Homer to help Ned learn to appropriately express his emotions, as Homer is the person who Flanders harbors the most resentful feelings towards, as Homer does the same towards Flanders. After several flubbed tries with pre-written cards by the doctors, Homer tries his own approach by saying Ned is afraid to be human, because humans hate things but he likes everything. Ned denies this before getting worked up over what he hates about the post office, then casually saying he hates his parents; suddenly, he feels like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders.
Shortly thereafter, Ned is released from Calmwood, and tells everyone he’ll try harder at expressing his feelings and letting them know when he is upset, such as when he’s really angry, “I’m gonna run you down with my car.” Everything then returns to normal and Ned winks.
The episode is not so much about a weather event as such but is meant to show how Ned Flanders ticks. If you know his character he is a very religious man who is the neighbour of Homer Simpson and is seen to be a real nice guy and kind of a pushover. However, this episode shows Ned getting enraged by people and explains why he does his “nonsensical jabbering.” However, I included it here for the weather event involved as the plot device for this episode. This episode could also be a comment on how the weather can be a life-changing experience, in more ways than one. See above.
I will be spotlighting other previous weather events in the show in the next issue of the newsletter, because despite the show being an adult animation satirical show, it does discuss weighty and relevant issues which affect all of us every day, including the weather.
For the complete background and totals from Hurricane Barbara, here is the link.
THE WATCHDOG REPORT
If you hear anything that doesn’t sound right on your local Weather Radio transmitter, there are various ways to report a problem that depend on where you live. If you live in The United States, you can call 1-888-697-7263. You can email NOAA at email@example.com, or on the web at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr. If you live in Canada, you can call 1-877-789-7733. You can email the Meteorological Service of Canada at ECWeather-Meteo@ec.gc.ca, or email the National Weatheradio Canada Team at Wxradio@ec.gc.ca. You can also go on the web at http://www.ec.gc.ca/weatheradio. Also, you can report it on the NOAA Weather Radio Weatheradio Canada Facebook page and the Yahoo Weatheradio Chat Group. You will find links to the Yahoo group later in the newsletter.
Thursday May 1th at 2:10 A.M, St Catharines, Ont VAD320 has gone into watchdog mode, due to a power problem. . It was restored around 3:13 P.M. the same day.
From Phil Anderson
I was driving through Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan May 3 and heard a repeating glitch in the automation on CHZ175… After the station ID plays there is some kind of tone and the station ID and next weather condition segment both start for a second or so. There is a tone again, and then
this dual-start stutter repeats for about 10-15 seconds over and over before it finally goes back to normal. I heard it happen around 11 AM and again around 5 PM, so I assume it’s been going on for some time.
Thursday May 22nd it was reported that the Normandale VFI621 WXR had gone into watchdog mode. It came back either the same day or on the 23rd. It also may have gone off the air during the severe weather outbreak the previous day. We aren’t sure what happened.
Sunday June 8th, Toronto XMJ225 162.400 MHz just went off the air abruptly at 12:59 A.M. 🙂
It was restored bit by bit at 3:13 P.M. on Monday June 9th.
A power control unit had to be replaced.
Peter Staples – Dissemination Specialist for Ontario Region
The author wrote a post about surviving this outage in his blog the following Wednesday.
http://wp.me/p47Auw-49 via @wordpress.com
Wednesday July 2nd, Toronto XMJ225 had developed a configuration problem. All the hourly’s were stuck together in one bin for 8:00 P.M. except for the current marine report in English. It was for 9:00 P.M! It had gone into watchdog mode at 12:57 P.M. on July 3rd, after many hours of short cycling. It was restored around 12:30 P.M. on Friday July 4th.
During Hurricane Arthur Weatheradio Canada in the Maritimes had gone into watchdog mode but nobody has reported it except for people on the NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada Facebook group. I’m just putting that out there!
July 6th at 9:57 P.M. ET, it was reported on Facebook at “Regina Weather Radio (XLM537) has been out most of the day. Same issues it seems as earlier this year – There is carrier broadcasting, but the automation isn’t playing anything.”
On July 7th at 1:45 P.M, Toronto XMJ225 suddenly went off the air, again. “It appears to be a power outage at CN Tower. Now just have to wait until power is restored. That was the original thought. The next day we find out that “there was a system failure (control unit). We are having a tech out to fix it today.”
Peter Staples – Dissemination – Ontario Region | Diffusion – Région de l’Ontario It wasn’t restored until 2:04 P.M. on July 8th.
On Wednesday July 16th at 11:13 P.M, Weatheradio Canada in all of Ontario had gone into watchdog mode. It began to be restored at around 8:11 A.M. and it was completed at 9:29 A.M, when the recreational forecast was updated and all current data was loaded into the system, on Thursday July 17th.
On Monday July 20th it was reported that Collingwood XMJ316 went off the air, due to a transmitter outage. It was restored on Thursday at 11:30 A.M. “The connection from the XMU to transmitter was faulty and had to be swapped.”
Peter Staples – Dissemination – Ontario Region | Diffusion – Région de l’Ontario What also delayed it was site access procedures.
On Tuesday July 22nd it was reported by Ward Kennedy that the EC Alert Me is down. “The last alert I got was at 12:54 A.M. I am getting the Canwarn start net pages but the regional warnings are not working. I have checked with a few people and the same with them.” This was dew possibly to a system update which had occurred that day. This problem seems to have been resolved.
In this issue going forward, you get a chance to sound off on a particular Weather Alert Radio you have bought over the years. If you want to contribute your own review of any Weather Radio Receiver you own, just send it to the author and it will appear in a future issue. We will accept anything weather it’s a marine radio, scanner, crank radio, or just a standalone Weather Radio. However, we won’t allow any reviews on your amateur radio transceiver because not everyone receiving this newsletter is a licensed ham at this time, but most people that go out on the lake during the warmer months may have a marine radio on their boat or in their possession and may also have their Restricted Operators Certificate (Maritime), in order to legally transmit on the VHF marine band.
Disclaimer: The following are reviews of various Weather Alert Radios that are strictly those of the people writing them and not necessarily of the author unless noted.
REVIEW OF THE W-R300 WEATHER ALERT RADIO
In this issue, we have a review of a Weather Radio, which we haven’t done for a while. This time it is the W-R300 desktop Weather Radio from Midland. It has been mentioned earlier in previous issues but let’s go into detail. Shall we?
This radio is public alert certified and of course, has many great features such as: Specific Area Message Encoding, up to 23 county codes can be programmed, it allows for: single, multiple codes and allows for all counties to be alerted, you can customize alerts to what you would like to hear. For example: if you live in an area which does not get tropical storms or hurricanes you can disable the watches and warnings with the defeat siren option, you can adjust the volume of the alarm for both watches/ warnings and the alarm clock, you can have the alarm clock wake you up with beeps or with the AM/FM radio, you can test the alert siren, you can have alerts go off with either siren or siren and voice, (with siren the alarm will sound for 5 minutes and with voice, the siren will sound for 8 seconds and the broadcast will play for 5 minutes) and of course, you can hear all 7 NOAA Weather Radio and or Weatheradio Canada channels on it. It also has a clock and calendar with the default being January 1, 2002. It requires 4 AA batteries for emergency backup in case of a power outage. It also includes an AC adapter to plug into the wall. The W-R300 is a real workhorse when multiple watches and warnings are issued for areas in and around my local area. It will be sad to see it go, when it is replaced. However, I have been told that it will continue to be a mainstay model for a while longer.
WEEKLY/MONTHLY SAME/1050 TONE ALERT TEST REPORT
The following are reports from listeners on the weekly (rwt), monthly (rmt) SAME tests sent to each site in Canada. However, it is not complete so we need you to send your reports to the author as well as Wxradio@ec.gc.ca. Remember, the 1050Hz Tone test and SAME Required Monthly Test is performed on the first Wednesday of each month just before noon local time. The SAME Required Weekly Test is performed every Wednesday around 11:50 local time.
Date Call Sign Tx Frequency (MHz) Name alphanumeric or basic tone alert test alarm time
Wednesday May 7th, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz. (RWT) 11:53 AM, (RMT) 11:57 AM, (1050 TONE) 11:59 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM, (RMT) 11:59 AM, (1050 TONE) 11:59 PM local.
Wednesday May 14th, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz. (RWT) 11:52 A.M. local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM local.
Wednesday May 21th, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM local.
Wednesday May 28th, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM local, Ottawa (VBE719 162.550 MHz) (RWT) 11:54 A.M Local .
Wednesday June 4th, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM, (RMT) 11:57 AM, (1050 Hz. tone) 11:59 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM, (RMT) 12:01 PM, (1050 Hz. tone) 12:02 PM local.
Wednesday June 11th, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 A.M. local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:56 A.M. local.
Saturday June 14th, Normandale (VFI621 162.450 MHz) (RWT) 11:45 P.M. local.
Wednesday June 18th, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM local.
Wednesday June 25, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:55 AM local.
Wednesday July 2nd 2014, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM, (RMT) 11:57 AM, (1050 Hz. tone alert) 11:59 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM, (RMT) 11:59 AM, (1050 Hz. tone alert) 11:59 AM local.
Wednesday July 9th, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM local.
Wednesday July 16th, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM local.
Wednesday July 23rd, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM local. 🙂
Wednesday July 30, St Catharines (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 A.M. local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 A.M. local.
THE CANWARN/SKYWARN REPORT
CANWARN (CANadian Weather Amateur Radio Network) is a volunteer organization of amateur radio operators who report severe weather and damage reports to Environment Canada when they see it. Weather reports from amateur radio operators help confirm on the ground what satellites and radars see in the atmosphere. The information gathered from CANWARN is also used to update and fine tune weather warnings, fill in gaps in current observing networks and is also valuable in forensic storm analysis. When Environment Canada issues severe weather watches or warnings, they may alert the CANWARN volunteer Net Controllers in the affected areas. The volunteer Net Controllers contact other CANWARN members on the amateur radio, tell them a watch or warning has been issued and ask them to report signs of approaching severe weather. In the US SKYWARN is the American counterpart to CANWARN in Canada and the purpose for it is exactly the same. For this section of the newsletter, we will explore how different CANWARN and SKYWARN groups operate in their local region. There is some SKYWARN information from meteorologists in this issue and some tips on how to report severe weather for both CANWARN and SKYWARN. We may not agree with everything that is written here, but it is important to hear from others to see how different groups operate throughout North America.
From Geoff Coulson – Warning Preparedness Meteorologist for Environment Canada in Ontario
Folks, another very successful CANWARN training season has now come to a close. Well over a thousand came out for the training with hundreds of those coming out for the first time. There are now just fewer than 6000 members in the CANWARN database from all over Ontario. The month of June was an active one for severe storms in Ontario with tornadoes, heavy rain and damaging winds occurring in different parts of the province. CANWARN members were active during all of these events providing helpful reports to the staff in the Weather Centre.
As promised during the training sessions for those of you in Ontario, please find a helpful list of websites and books that will reinforce the material we covered during the training. In addition, you will also find a handy one-page reporting tip sheet on how to report and what to report.
As many of you will remember during the training we mentioned the importance of good quality observations of rainfall and snowfall. The following information is regarding the CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow) network. For those interested, this would provide you a way to take precipitation measurements on a regular basis and those values would be available to the forecasters. The following information was provided by Rick Fleetwood, a colleague of mine who has been involved in this program in Atlantic Canada. Are you interested in measuring and reporting daily on precipitation in your area and being able to look at your reports and others on an interactive Google map? Do you want to participate in citizen science and provide valuable precipitation reports to meteorologists, hydrologists, emergency managers, farmers and others who require high quality real time precipitation information? If so CoCoRaHS Canada may be of interest to you. CoCoRaHS (Community Colloborative Rain, Hail and Snow) network is now active in Ontario and looking for volunteers with an interest in the weather to measure and report daily on precipitation amounts at locations across the province. For more information about the program, how to view reports and join the network, check out the CoCoRaHS Canada info page: http://www.cocorahs.org/Content.aspx?page=about-cocorahs-canada. If you decide to join you can place an order (at a special 50% discount) for the low cost equipment required by contacting CoCoRaHS Canada: http://shopcocorahs.ca/
On a final note, I hope everyone has a great summer and thank you again for your participation in the CANWARN program.
Regards, Geoff Coulson – Warning Preparedness Meteorologist | Météorologue de Sensibilisation
aux Alertes – Ontario Region Client Services | Service à la clientèle, Région de l’Ontario
Environment Canada | Environnement Canada / Government of Canada | Gouvernement du
Canada 4905 Dufferin St | 4905 rue Dufferin Toronto, ON M3H 5T4
Geoff.Coulson@ec.gc.ca Telephone | Téléphone 416-739-4466 Facsimile | Télécopieur 416-739-
Website | Site Web http://www.weather.gc.ca
From The Author – Typical CANWARN or SKYWARN Training Session
What would a typical CANWARN or SKYWARN training session be like? This is a post taken from the author’s blog. There is a link to the blog at the end of the newsletter.
I have just attended my 12th session in 6 years. This post is intended to give those who haven’t attended either a CANWARN or a SKYWARN session some insight as to what you will be trained to watch for as a weather spotter. The session consists of a lecture from a Warning Preparedness Meteorologist and a Ham Radio Coordinator for the area. The Meteorologist does 95 percent of the session, while the Ham Radio Coordinator does the Amateur Radio component. I will get more into that later.
When you are being trained or refreshed, you will be learning or relearning about the cloud formations, from wall to shelf clouds. You will also learn about all the different types of thunderstorms from single-cell to supercells. They even discuss hail and lightning and how to protect yourself from both dangers. Hint: when thunder roars go in doors. I have always believed that from when I was little and I don’t want to be tangling with something as dangerous as lightning.
The other component of this is the Amateur Radio side. There is always a contingent of attendees each year to a CANWARN or SKYWARN session. The Amateur Radio Coordinator for the area gives a briefing on how to report severe weather. They may also mention the repeaters in the area, which are used for either CANWARN or SKYWARN nets.
Of course, another part to this is Weather Radio and a mention of either the National Weather Service website or Environment Canada’s weather website. I love the Weather Radio portion of it because it is my favourite part of what Environment Canada and NOAA does. It has saved my life on occasion and has made me feel at ease, when severe weather is on the horizon.
That is just some of what you will learn when you go to your first training session for either CANWARN or SKYWARN. Every year and every area’s sessions are different and may not be the same as I have experienced but it is always interesting. You get to meet people who are like minded and you may even get a tour of the Weather Office, if the session is held in its headquarters. I have been to the Environment Canada sessions every year since I started in 2008 and I have met a few of the meteorologists whom I have either heard on the radio or on TV over the years. It is always nice to meet people who have given you important life saving information over the years and to share stories with them. I could go into some but I don’t want this post to go on too long.
Anyway, if you are going to either your first CANWARN or SKYWARN session you should have some idea of what you may be in for when attending.
Amateur Radio Operations during Hurricane Arthur
Arthur formed off the coast of Florida on July 1st and later became the first hurricane of the 2014 season. Arthur proceeded to reach category 2 status and made landfall along the Outer Banks of North Carolina during the night of July 3rd. The storm was then declared post-tropical on the morning of July 5th and made landfall in western Nova Scotia later that morning. CANWARN was activated on July 5th with reports being sent directly to the Canadian Hurricane Centre via Echolink and email. In addition to CANWARN, the VoIP Hurricane Net was active on Echolink as was the Hurricane Watch Net on HF. WX4NHC also had staff on duty to receive reports and relay them to the Canadian Hurricane Centre. In fact messages were exchanged via the Hurricane Watch Net website chat feature between forecasters at the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth Nova Scotia and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami Florida. A first using this means of communication. The storm caused over 200,000 power outages in the Maritimes and washed out several roads in New Brunswick. Winds peaked at 139 km/h in Nova Scotia and over 150 mm of rain were dumped on parts of New Brunswick. This early-season storm was a powerful one especially for the time of year as we now focus our attention back to the tropics in preparation for the next tropical cyclone that may affect eastern Canada.
From the July 10, 2014 ARRL Letter:
Hurricane Watch Net Shuts Down after 21 Hours of Activation for First 2014 Atlantic Hurricane The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) wrapped up operations around midday on July 5 for Hurricane Arthur — by then a tropical cyclone — headed out over the Canadian Maritimes. The HWN initially activated for Arthur on Thursday, July 3, as the storm threatened to make landfall along North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The net moved to 40 meters (7.268 MHz), after propagation was lost on its primary 14.325 MHz frequency. The first activation lasted 18 hours. The HWN activated again
on Saturday, July 5, at 1100 UTC, as Hurricane Arthur, still a Category 1 storm, worked its way up the Eastern Seaboard headed for Canada.
“This storm seemed to be mainly a heavy rain and strong wind event, unlike the Category 1 landfall of Sandy in 2012. Thankfully, Arthur weakened to a tropical storm a few hours prior to [our] activating and was downgraded further to a post-tropical cyclone at 1200 UTC,” said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. “Reports from CANWARN indicated nearly 84,000 lost power in Nova Scotia and nearly 59,000 in New Brunswick.” CANWARN — the (CANadian Weather Amateur Radio Network — is Canada’s equivalent of the SKYWARN program in the US. The storm also generated heavy rain and high wind in Down East Maine, blowing down trees and limbs leaving thousands of homes in the dark. The net stood down at 1400 UTC.
“We were able to link the National Hurricane Center and the Canadian Hurricane Center together by means of our Internet back channel,” Graves noted. “This link not only allows direct communication between forecasters at each center but also the forecasters with our net control operators.”
Although the number of reporting stations was low for this initial activation of the 2014 Hurricane Season, Graves said the HWN was “grateful for all reports that came in.” Net Notes from the Hurricane net: KD1CY-Rob, Director of Net Operations, gave an overview of impacts from Hurricane Arthur and net activation info from activations for both Eastern North Carolina and Nova Scotia/New Brunswick Canada. He also reported on impacts from Arthur in Southeast New England with tropical storm force conditions on Nantucket and portions of Cape Cod and flash flooding in the Greater New Bedford, MA area. He also went through an overview of a couple severe weather outbreaks that affected the NWS Taunton coverage area. KJ4JPE-Janice, and KJ4EJH-John gave an overview of SKYWARN Operations during Hurricane Arthur from NWS Newport, North Carolina and the Newport, NC SKYWARN program. Many downed trees and wires and power outages and flooding issues but minor structural damage to the area. VE1AKT-Al from CANWARN New Brunswick reported that they had survived Arthur with major tree and structural damage in his area of Fredericton New Brunswick. VE1MBR-Bob Robichaud from the Canadian Hurricane Center gave his report on Arthur’s impacts on New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with several hundred thousand without power after the storm’s passage and wind gusts to hurricane force in their region along with heavy rainfall in New Brunswick.
WW4RX-Steve reported in the text box that their local Martin County Skywarn had a basic and advanced SKYWARN Training session; 45 in attendance.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net
The following is from CANWARN Atlantic after Hurricane Arthur had weekend to a post tropical storm.
Greetings all, Well as you probably know by now, I loss power before our 1700 hour report. I started to set up my generator when I received a call of a tree down across my driveway, sidewalk, front lawn and fire hydrant in front of the house in Amherst. I got the generator going to keep our fridge on at the cabin, then called Bob VE1MBR to let him know that I had loss power and was heading to town. Between no power and no internet I thought we should close the net and he agreed. I packed up the chain saw and went to town to clean up the mess. Power came back this morning but the internet just came on here 8pm. Thanks to all our spotters who helped out yesterday with reports and to our US friend’s state side including National Hurricane Centre, Hurricane Watch Net and the VoIP Hurricane Net for their assistance during the storm. Special thanks to Rob KD1CY for his help during this time.
I would like to see more talks between Net Controllers here and stateside as one could help out the other in times just like this. Hopefully we can get together on this. If any CANWARN member has any notes, questions, concerns or information on how to improve this net, please do not hesitate to let me know. We are still learning. Here is the list of spotters that participated.
Jim VE1JBL, Brad VE1ZX, Mason VE1MUT, Eric VE1JW, Patrick VE9ES, Scott VE1CHL, Paul VE1MPM, Brian VE1RCF, George VY2GM, Bob VE1MBR, Peter VE1PJW, Lavato VE1LAV, Bob VE1DR, Rob KD1CY, Mike VE1XDT, Shane VE1SMC, Bob VE1CZ, Rick VE9RWS, Nigel VE1NPS, Greg VE9ATQ and Martin VE1KLR. There were 43 messages passed over 6 hours before the power went out. Thanks also to reports from non members throughout the day. Recap below of Arthur from Environment Canada
73 Jim Langille VE1JBL Net Manager CANWARN Atlantic
WOCN31 CWHX 061932 CCA INTERMEDIATE TROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION STATEMENTS CORRECTED BY THE CANADIAN HURRICANE CENTRE OF ENVIRONMENT CANADA AT 4:32 PM ADT SUNDAY 6 JULY 2014
INTERMEDIATE TROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION STATEMENT FOR: NOVA SCOTIA PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND NEW BRUNSWICK. FOR POST-TROPICAL STORM ARTHUR.
*** CORRECTIONS: CHARLOTTETOWN ‘PEI’ IN SUMMARY TABLE, NOT ‘NS’. ALSO MODIFIED WORDING REGARDING RAIN-RELATED FLOODING IN NEW BRUNSWICK AND ADDED SOME NEW DATA. ***
THIS IS A SPECIAL METEOROLOGICAL SUMMARY FOR POST-TROPICAL STORM ARTHUR. THIS IS THE FINAL STATEMENT BY THE CANADIAN HURRICANE CENTRE ON THIS STORM.
INTERMEDIATE TROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION STATEMENT ENDED FOR: NEWFOUNDLAND QUEBEC MARITIME.
ALTHOUGH THE LINGERING EFFECTS OF ARTHUR ARE STILL OCCURRING OVER PARTS OF THESE REGIONS, THIS BULLETIN IS SERVING AS A SUMMARY REPORT FOR THE PRIMARY AFFECTED AREAS AROUND THE MARITIME PROVINCES.
==DISCUSSION== *** METEOROLOGICAL SUMMARY OF THE EVENT ***.
HURRICANE ARTHUR TRANSFORMED INTO A POTENT POST-TROPICAL STORM OVER THE MARITIME PROVINCES ON SATURDAY JULY 5 2014 CAUSING SIGNIFICANT TREE DAMAGE AND REPORTS OF FLOODING IN MANY AREAS. THE TRANSFORMATION WAS A RESULT OF THE MERGING OF THE HURRICANE WITH A COLD FRONT – SIMILAR TO HURRICANE IGOR IN NEWFOUNDLAND IN 2010 – BUT OBVIOUSLY FARTHER WEST AND NOT AS SEVERE. THIS EVENT AS WELL AS OTHERS LIKE IGOR HIGHLIGHT THAT WHEN A HURRICANE BECOMES A POST-TROPICAL STORM IT IS NOT ALWAYS A ‘DOWNGRADE’. IN FACT, WHEN THESE STORMS UNDERGO THE TRANSFORMATION TO POST-TROPICAL STATUS, THE AREA OF HIGH WINDS (AND RAIN) EXPANDS SIGNIFICANTLY EVEN THOUGH THE HIGHEST WINDS AND HEAVIEST RAINFALL INTENSITY IN THE STORM MAY DECREASE A BIT. AS A RESULT A WIDER AREA IS AFFECTED AND THE STORM’S TOTAL ENERGY ACTUALLY INCREASES IN MANY CASES. IN THE CASE OF ARTHUR THE HIGHEST WINDS AT THE END OF ITS HURRICANE STATUS WERE ABOUT 120 KM/H AND DURING THE HOURS AFTER WE DECLARED IT POST-TROPICAL THE HIGHEST WINDS WERE STILL AROUND 110 KM/H (WHICH WE SAW IN THE FORM OF GUSTS OVER LAND). VIGOROUS HURRICANE TRANSFORMATIONS LIKE THIS HAVE STRONG WINDS NOT ONLY TO THE RIGHT OF WHERE THE STORM CENTRE (LOWEST PRESSURE) TRACKS BUT ALSO SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT OF THE TRACK AS WE SAW DURING THIS STORM AND OTHERS SUCH AS IGOR OVER NEWFOUNDLAND IN 2010. THESE LEFT-OF-TRACK WINDS ARE USUALLY FROM THE NORTH, NORTHWEST OR WEST AND ARE WHAT WE REFER TO IN METEOROLOGY AS A “STING JET”. IT WAS THIS SO-CALLED “STING JET” THAT CAUSED THE HIGH WINDS AT FREDERICTON, ACROSS PARTS OF THE WESTERN HALF OF NOVA SCOTIA AND SPECIFICALLY THE ANNAPOLIS VALLEY. WE EMPHASIZED THESE WINDS IN THE FORECAST BULLETINS AND DURING MEDIA INTERVIEWS. THIS IS NOT A NEW PHENOMENON – BUT IS A TERM NOT OFTEN REFERRED-TO IN TRADITIONAL WEATHER FORECASTS.
WHAT WAS EXCEPTIONAL ABOUT THIS STORM WAS THE EXTENT OF THIS WIND FEATURE TO THE LEFT (NORTHWEST) OF THE STORM TRACK – IN FREDERICTON – AND THE PEAK STRENGTH OF IT OVER THE ANNAPOLIS VALLEY WITH THE EXTREME GUST OF 138 KM/H AT THE GREENWOOD D.N.D. BASE. ALSO OF NOTE WITH THESE TYPES OF STORMS IS THAT THERE CAN BE VERY LITTLE RAIN AND EVEN SUNSHINE ON THE RIGHTHAND SIDE (USUALLY SOUTH) OF THE STORM CENTRE/TRACK. RAINFALL IS TYPICALLY VERY HEAVY NORTH (LEFT) OF THE STORM TRACK WHERE THE COLD FRONT ACTS AS A CONDUIT FOR THE MOISTURE FROM THE HURRICANE. THE GASPÉ REGION OF QUEBEC AND THE MAGDELAN ISLANDS WERE AFFECTED WITH HIGH WINDS AS WELL WITH GUSTS FROM 80 TO NEAR 100 KM/H. DAMAGE WAS PARTICULARLY BAD IN CARLETON-SUR-MER, QUEBEC ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE BAY OF CHALEUR NEAR DALHOUSIE, NEW BRUNSWICK. THIS MAY HAVE BEEN A RESULT OF TERRAIN-INDUCED ENHANCEMENT OF THE WINDS. NEWFOUNDLAND IS STILL BEING AFFECTED AT THE TIME THIS BULLETIN WAS ISSUED. THE OFFICIAL STATUS OF ARTHUR AT LANDFALL WAS A NEAR-HURRICANE-STRENGTH POST- TROPICAL STORM WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OF 60 KNOTS (110 KM/H). THE LANDFALL LOCATION OF THE CENTRE WAS IN THE VICINITY OF PORT MAITLAND / METEGHAN IN WESTERN NOVA SCOTIA. THE CENTRAL PRESSURE AT LANDFALL WAS 980 MB (28.94″). LISTING OF KNOWN TOP
WIND SPEEDS: MAXIMUM GUSTS (KM/H): ———————————————
GREENWOOD, NS 138 BRIER ISLAND, NS 128 FIVE ISLANDS, NS 127 * YARMOUTH, NS 111
LUNENBURG, NS 108 CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI 105 FREDERICTON, NB 100 LISTING OF KNOWN TOP
RAINFALL AMOUNTS: TOTAL RAINFALL (MM): ——————————————— GAGETOWN
RWN, NB 150 ** ST. STEPHEN, NB 143 NOONAN, NB 140 MILLVILLE, NB 127 MIRAMICHI, NB 122 MUCH LESS RAINFALL IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND AND NOVA SCOTIA. YARMOUTH HAD 52 MM AND WESTERN PEI HAD 27 MM (NORTH CAPE). GASPÉ RECORDED 67 MM. * VOLUNTEER WEATHER OBSERVER. ** HIGHEST REPORT FROM A NETWORK OF TOWERS AT GAEGETOWND.N.D. OFFSHORE WAVES: BUOY 44024 5.4 M BUOY 44258 6.9 M (MOUTH HALIFAX HARBOUR)BUOY 44150 9.0 M END/FOGARTY
The Future of Weather Forecasting – Expect More and Better Quality Predictions!
(Note: The following article is from Phil Chadwick, who is a retired meteorologist from Environment Canada. I found it interesting and I hope you do too.)
In 1976 as a young meteorologist I was told to “find something else you like to do besides forecasting as this will all be done by the computer within 10 years.” I thought that this was an unfair and adversarial statement. I regarded the computer as a useful tool to do better work – and I still do. Time passed. I spent 37 years providing forecasts and training. My specialty was severe weather and the human skill sets of pattern recognition and problem solving were vital to analyze and diagnose those problems. Safety and security was the mission and the human was required to provide those products. Numerical weather prediction (NWP) was also in its infancy in the 1970’s. NWP is a collection of mathematical models of the atmosphere that use the current weather and other environmental initial conditions to predict the future weather – numerically. At the start, a keen meteorologist could easily outperform the NWP if one chooses to be competitive instead of cooperative about it. Much has changed. The primitive equations based on physics are still at the core of all NWP but they are not so primitive anymore. Thanks to increases in computing power over the years, the approximations that are necessary to solve these weather prediction equations have been greatly reduced. Huge advances in satellite technology have much improved the determination of initial conditions. Computing power has doubled about every two years through the miniaturization of the computer chip. The density of transistors and integrated circuits on the chip has doubled every couple of years – until recently. This was Moore’s Law named after Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel Corporation. Moore described this trend in 1965 and it has proven to be accurate partly because those are the Intel targets they aim their research and development toward. However, miniaturization has maxed out and Moore’s Law can’t be sustained -for a variety of reasons. Currently, computer chips are “water cooled” by bringing water right next to the chip; air
cooling is no longer sufficient to keep the temperature down to allow chip operations. A chip that “loses” its cooling melts within seconds in modern large supercomputers. Meteorological services around the globe all use “supercomputers” now. The performance of meteorological services is closely tied to their computing power. There are several performance indicators used to assess this supercomputing capacity. The most common and historical quantity is a value called Rmax, which is a measure of the raw computing performance when executing
specific, standardized software (called benchmarks). The Rmax values shown in the graph below are provided in Gflops, or billions of floating point operations/second. With the advent of faster and more powerful supercomputers, they are now often reported in Tflops, or 1012 floating point operations/second, or even in Pflops, or 1015 floating point operations/second. For continuity and ease of comparison, the Rmax values in the graph below are all represented in Gflops.
Comparison of Supercomputing capacity for Environment Canada, the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Prediction (ECMWF, in United Kingdom) and the National Centres for Environmental Prediction (NCEP, in US) from 1993 to 2014. The vertical axis represents Rmax values (in Gflops) plotted on a logarithmic scale for each Centre. One (1) Gflops is equivalent to 1 billion, or 109, floating operations per second. Relative maxima on individual curves correspond to snapshots taken when upgrades have been installed and the legacy system has not yet been removed. Supercomputing resources have grown at a phenomenal rate since 1993. For EC, the supercomputer power has grown from an Rmax value of 20 Gflops in 1993 to 425,000 Gflops in 2014 – a factor slightly over 21,000. The 2011 IBM upgrade installed for Environment Canada (EC) is a remarkable jump in supercomputing capacity compared to the computing capacity of the previous system.
NWP has made full and prudent use of this increased computing power. Early models had to approximate many of the complexities of the ocean-earth-atmosphere system in order to produce a product in a timely fashion. Those approximations have been gradually and largely reduced over the years. Increased resolution in time and space has allowed for much more precision in the modeling of the complex systems which define our weather. The advent of numerous and much better weather and environmental satellites that constantly probe the atmosphere, have allowed a much improved determination of initial atmospheric and other environmental conditions, most especially over the oceans.
What has changed in almost forty years of NWP? The changes in NWP have been much more dramatic than the evolution of humans in the same time period.
1. Large increases in supercomputing capacity allow much more sophisticated data assimilation techniques to achieve a better representation of the initial environmental conditions.
2. More sophisticated prediction models using more accurate depictions of the physical processes involved both in the atmosphere and in the layers where atmosphere interacts with the underlying surface, and fewer approximations are also paramount to better simulation of the real world processes.
3. And probably the most important, the launch and operational implementation of a large array of weather and environmental satellites that occurred on a worldwide scale over the last couple of decades. Much better and more diversified sensors aboard these satellites now probe the atmosphere constantly, and several millions of these satellite observations now find their way into modern NWP systems. The result is a much more accurate depiction of initial conditions required to make predictions, most especially over oceans. Every day, several billions of satellite data information pieces make their way to major weather centres where they are data based and processed. Every 6 hours, several tens of millions of atmospheric profiles for several parameters are generated from these datasets and ingested in data assimilation systems, hence leading to much better representations of the initial conditions of the environment. This is a huge change compared to the old days (until the mid 1980’s) where a few tens of weather ships scattered over the oceans where the only data sources for the provision of 3D initial conditions over the oceanic areas. It is not too surprising that NWP forecasts in the old days were suffering from major flaws when even the atmospheric initial conditions were ill-defined. Considering that 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans, satellites now provide valuable data over important regions where data was largely missing.
The accompanying graph shows the trend in NWP Forecast Quality since its inception in 1958. The Quality Score (110-S1) along the left axis is sensitive to the forecast placement of the high and low pressure areas and the associated pressure gradients between them. The Quality Score does not explicitly measure the accuracy of the placement of the associated weather. That is a much more technical verification process but for simplicity, the placement of forecast pressure patterns is very closely related to the weather. A Quality score of 100 would be a perfect match of the pressure centres and their associated gradients between what was predicted and what was later observed. The different coloured lines are for different prediction lead times. As would be expected, the Quality Scores are lower for predictions further into the future. The above graph covers the prediction periods with up to five days (120 hours) of lead time. The graph below depicts the same information but for predictions out to ten days. The labels at the top of each column are the names of the supercomputer systems used during the respective time periods. The CYBER 76 was the tool I used (sparingly) when I joined the Atmospheric Environment Service in 1976. The IBM P5 provided the information I consulted extensively when I retired in 2011. NWP is a very complicated process but the trends are clear. The Quality Scores of the predictions are generally on the upswing. The large improvements achieved in the Forecast Quality between 2001 and 2003 are largely due to both better data assimilation techniques, and the injection of satellite data from new sensors. More satellites are scheduled to be launched and our analysis of the initial conditions of the earth-atmosphere system is destined to continue to improve. Currently the four day (96 hour) forecast is as skillful as the three day (72 hour) forecast produced a decade ago. The trend has been that NWP adds about 24 hours of predictability every decade.
The questions remains how long this trend can continue until the “butterfly effect” swamps improvements in meteorology. In chaos theory the butterfly is the unknown, small and seemingly insignificant flutter in the initial conditions of the atmosphere. These unmeasured flutters do not register into the initial conditions and cause the patterns to evolve along a different path of weather from that predicted by the NWP. Ensemble forecasts (BF – February 2014) allows one to gauge the sensitivity of the evolution of the current atmosphere to those small unknowns. All is not lost if one uses these Ensembles and treat the weather as a range of probabilities versus a single, deterministic certainty. Probability of Precipitation (BF – April 2014) is a familiar example of the use of probability in forecasting.
Have Humans Evolved as Quickly as Computer Processing in the Last 40 Years?
The human meteorologist is now, hopefully much more highly trained! Training and education are the foundations required to provide any quality service. During my initial meteorological training, I was instructed on how to use Venn Diagrams to aid in my forecasts – yes, Venn diagrams! Satellite data was just coming on-line in the late 1970’s and I quickly realized that weather did not arrive in the intersections of overlapping circles. The actual weather was much more complicated than that. The new satellite patterns were so complicated that at first they seemed undecipherable.
The satellite became my tool of choice to augment the NWP data of the day. I developed powerful techniques to interpret the lines and swirls revealed in the satellite imagery. The satellite imagery was like a book describing the actual state of the current earth-atmosphere system. One just had to develop and learn the vocabulary. The conceptual models based on those atmospheric signatures allowed me to interact positively with the NWP guidance. Comparisons between the satellite atmosphere and the NWP revealed when and where the NWP was missing something. The human could then step in to make the required fixes and everyone was happy. The NWP continued to improve dramatically during my career but there was still plenty of room for improvement using my human friendly conceptual models. This was especially true during the big events when the atmospheric systems diverged dramatically from the climate normal’s. Those were the forecasts that could really contribute to our mission of safety and security – when the weather you experienced was wildly different from the weather you expected or the climate.
Does anyone remember the Ice Storm of ’98? The research completed over the years, has been designed to empower meteorologists to fully use their human pattern recognition and problem solving skills. Much of this material has been published under the brand of “The Satellite Palette”. I regarded these approaches to the weather in the same way that I approached my canvases when I painted. Science may be regarded as an art and vice versa. These conceptual models and a wealth of other environmental training can be found for free through the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) and the following link – https://www.meted.ucar.edu/ .
The Next 40 Years? The meteorologist-machine blend remains the future of weather forecasting. The goals of both are to provide superior predictions upon which clients will base their decisions and take appropriate actions. Neither the meteorologist nor the machines are perfect but together they can produce something of real value. The very best is achieved when the strengths of the human and the machine are creatively combined. There is still room for well trained meteorologist to add significant value to the forecast – contrary to the challenging statement I met as a young and keen meteorologist. The role of the forecaster for the next 40 years will also evolve to provide more specialized services, consultation, and services not yet imagined. Meteorologists will help clients make the best use of weather information for their needs. Supercomputers will never talk to clients and users. Forecasters will. The requirements of modern society for accurate and timely messages of significant weather should be expanding as fast as our capabilities to provide that highly detailed information. Improved methods to communicate all of the information are certainly required unless you take you own meteorologist with you all of the time – not a bad idea. Weather icons, although attractive, do not convey much if any information (maybe include a sampling of icons here – sample http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/weather-icons-9504363.jpg). Weather related insurance costs in Canada have exceeded one billion dollars since 2007 and this figure is destined to continue soaring. The wise use of weather information and taking action to mitigate weather and climate threats is the best and perhaps only way to bring those costs down.
Everyone may talk about the weather but meteorologists, highly specialized researchers and computer scientists are actually doing something about it. My good friend Jean-Guy Desmarais, also retired from Environment Canada, shares this vision and provided some of the important information and graphs included in this article. The future of weather forecasting is very exciting.
If you like this article, there is more like this in Phil’s blog. philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
As for SKYWARN training schedules, you can go to either of the following sites: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/skywarn/ http://skywarn.org/ https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_course.php?id# http://spotterguides.us/ There are many links for you to look at on these sites.
SPOTTER REPORTING TIPS – How to Report
Amateur Radio Network (if applicable) – Amateur Radio Condition
Condition Codes: Code Green – Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Code Yellow – Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Tornado Watch
Code Red – Tornado Warning in Ontario by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter with hashtag #onstorm
If you are CANWARN trained you should give the following information to the weather office in order to help them ground truth: Your name, CANWARN ID, contact number, – Where – you are located and the approximate location of what you are reporting, – Describe what you are witnessing/what you witnessed, the time of occurrence of the event and duration, its movement
(where the phenomenon came from and where it is going).
In the spring/summer severe weather season, please report the following:
Hail (use coins to describe its size…dime, nickel, quarter, loonie for larger hail…golf ball etc.),
Heavy rain that has resulted in local flooding, Damaging winds (damage from tree branches down to more significant tree or structural damage), Large scale rotation in a thunderstorm such as: Wall Cloud – Funnel Cloud, Waterspout and Tornado, Dense fog – visibility less than 1 km
Note: if you are unsure of the rotation or presence of a wall cloud or funnel cloud…watch the area for a few minutes if it is safe to do so to verify the situation.
For the fall/winter, please report the following: Dense fog (visibility less than 1 km), Any occurrence of freezing rain or freezing drizzle, Heavily accumulating snow (2 or more cm/hr), Whiteout conditions in snow/blowing snow (visibility near zero), Rapid freezing of water on road surfaces.
For SKYWARN spotters, you should report: Tornadoes or funnel clouds (be very wary of look-alikes; watch for rotation) waterspouts, Wall clouds, especially if they are rotating
Hail (Be specific with regard to size; however, YOU SHOULD NOT report MARBLE size) Winds (40 mph or greater; specify whether they are estimated or recorded), large branches downed (specify the diameter of the branch), Trees/power lines downed, Structural damage to buildings such as roof, windows, etc. Rainfall (1 inch or greater in an hour) (NOT a 1″/hr. rate for 10 minutes), 2 inches or greater storm total, Flooding — Streams/Rivers — also, when nearing bankful — Coastal — Street (Road Closures/Washouts, Cars Stuck due to flood waters. Minimum of 6″ of water covering an entire roadway or lane of a major route/highway).
For Winter Weather you should report: Precipitation type change (rain to sleet/freezing rain/snow, when the change has “taken hold”), Thunder when it is accompanied by snow, 1/4″ radial ice accretion (from twig outward; not circumference), New Snowfall from the First 2 inches; every 2-3 inches thereafter, 1 inch per hour or greater. If it is less than 2 inches total, give the final total only Give final total: no partial reports please) Report any snow/sleet/freezing rain if not in NWS forecast. Please consult your local Amateur Radio club or CANWARN or SKYWARN group for their: email address, Twitter account or Facebook pages.
Where to Purchase Weather Radios
Weather Radios can be purchased at various electronics stores that specialize in radios and other equipment such as:
BML Communications at http://www.bml.ca/,
CB World at http://www.werecb.com/,
Universal Radio at http://www.universal-radio.com/,
Durham Radio at http://www.durhamradio.com/,
Radio World at http://www.radioworld.ca/,
Burnaby Radio at http://www.burnabyradio.com/,
Ambient Weather at http://www.ambientweather.com/
Weather Radio Store at http://www.Weatherradiostore.com/, and many more retailers throughout North America. When planning to purchase your first Weather Radio, it is highly recommended to look for the Public Alert identification logo.
Weather Information on the Internet
Suggested weather sites to visit as follows; In Canada visit http://www.weather.gc.ca/
Want to get your weather in the US? Go to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
Weatheradio Canada webpage at http://www.ec.gc.ca/weatheradio
NOAA Weather Radio webpage at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.
DX Info Centre at http://www.dxinfocentre.com/
Note: to hear what Weather Radio sounds like before buying your first receiver, visit YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/,
The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards Newsletter is published four times a year. There is some seasonal information to notify recipients of additional weather information available to them that they may not know about (most of which can be found on the NOAA Watch web site http://www.noaawatch.gov/ ). At this site you can also subscribe to various weather feeds. The rest of the newsletter remains relatively unchanged due to outreach requirements. The current newsletter is available at the NOAA Weather Radio website http://www.weather.gov/nwr/news.htm. At this time, there is no newsletter mailing list to subscribe. If you have additional questions, please feel free to e-mail email@example.com, here is the link to the answers website; http://findanswers.noaa.gov/noaa.answers/consumer/search.asp.
Yahoo Weatheradio Chatgroup, at http://tech.Groups.yahoo.com/group/weatheradio/,
NOAA and Weatheradio Canada group on Facebook,
WXtoIMG at http://www.wxtoim.com/downloads/,
Digital Atmosphere at http://www.weathergraphics.com/da/
NWS Taunton Amateur Radio SKYWARN Station home page at http://www.wx1box.org
The Maritime Amateur (Ham Radio for Maritimers by Maritimers) http://www.maritimeamateur.ca
VoIP Hurricane Prep Net – Saturday 9pm Atlantic Time / http://www.voipwx.net/
Phil Chadwick’s blog at philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
Weather Radio manufacturers
There are many reliable manufacturers and retailers of Weather Radios sold in Canada and the USA. Below is a list of the recommended models currently for sale. Note: This list of suggested weather radios is strictly for informational purposes, and not as an endorsement of any specific model or manufacturer.
Midland Radio Corporation http://www.Midlandradio.com W-r300, W-r100B, W-R120, HH54VP, HH54VP2, ER102, Nautico 3 and W-R11 are all manufactured by Midland and sold in North America.
Oregon Scientific http://www2oregonscientific.com W-R601, W-R203 and W-R602 are currently sold in North America.
Uniden Corporation http://www.Uniden.com BC75XLT, BC95XLT, BC125AT, BC346XT, BCT15X, BCD996XT, HomePatrol, BC436HP, BC536HP and BCD396XT are currently sold in North America.
Sangean USA http://www.Sangean.com CL100, DT400, and PRD9W are manufactured by Sangean and currently sold in North America.
Reecom Electronics Inc http://www.reecominc.com R-1630 and R-1650 are manufactured by Reecom and currently sold in North America.
Kaito Electronics Inc http://www.kaitousa.com/. KA500, KA101 and KA600 are currently sold in North America.
Alert Works http://www.alert-works.com/ Alert Works desktop model EAR-10 is currently sold in North America.
If you have any comments or suggestions, or if you wish to submit an article, please email the author Gord at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We also encourage you to visit http://www.qrz.com/db/va3wxa and you can also follow him on Twitter @WxrNewsletter @BlindGordie or @VA3WXA. Also, check out his blog at http://blindgordieblog.wordpress.com
You can also contact him on Skype and his Skype name is blindgordie.
Thank you to All Contributors
As usual, I would like to give special thanks to those who made contributions to this 12th issue as follows: Max Crawford, Ward Kennedy, Joey Shynne, Daryl Stout, Bob Robichaud, Denis Paquette, Dennis T. Paganin (our faithful web master and Co-Editor), Jim Langille, Rob Masedo, Peter Staples, Phil Anderson, Malcolm Kendal, Midland Radio Corporation, The Midland Radio Newsletter, Gregory Zwicker, Phil Chadwick, Geoff Coulson and Marc Fitkin for their help and contributions to the newsletter.
Sincerely, Gord The Old Reliable. VA3WXA