The Skywarn networks take many different
forms in different parts of the country. Typically, trained
volunteer spotters report into a local operations center, and
these reports are relayed to the National Weather Service. Reports
are delivered to this local center by many means including Amateur
falls under the careful watch of the Cleveland National Weather
Service, who is responsible for a 30 county area covering northern
Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Each county has an established
Skywarn program involving amateur radio operators who act as
spotters for reporting critical weather information to the
National Weather Service.
In the event
the NWS issues a watch or warning for our county, you are advised
to listen to the 147.12 repeater. This repeater serves Stark
County for emergency purposes, and is used for all Skywarn nets.
Here you will be able to obtain current weather information, and
relay relevant information to net control, using your skills as a
spotter. In the event the 147.12 repeaters is down or deemed
unusable, all Skywarn operations will switch to the back-up
repeater which is the 147.18 repeater owned and operated by the
Massillon Amateur Radio Club.
County serves under the direction of our Emergency Coordinator,
Terry Russ, N8ATZ, with assistance
our Skywarn Coordinator Mike Lackney - KB8MIB our Assistant EC
for Skywarn Operations. If you have any
questions about the Skywarn Program here in Stark County or if you
have any comments, we invite your call.
& Stark Co ARES Activate During Tornado Touchdown
Stark County Skywarn activated as they normally do on Sunday,
April 28th when the National Weather Service projected
a severe weather front would quickly pass through the area. Little
did we know it would become a full blown disaster when the storm
spawned an F-2 tornado that cut a five-mile-long path of
destruction along several area neighborhoods, blowing over trees,
destroying trees and knocking out power to thousands of homes,
several businesses and a local high school.
David Beltz, WD8AYE, Stark County ARES Emergency Coordinator
quickly activated an ARES net on the 147.12 repeater and summoned
volunteers for what was to become a full week of activities for
Amateurs were dispatched to the county Emergency Operations
Center, area hospitals and the county 911 center. Township fire
officials also requested assistance when it became clear that a
multi-agency effort would soon commence. The 911 centers phone
lines quickly became jammed with concerned callers and at one
point Amateur Radio was utilized to dispatch public safety forces
to several serious incidents that resulted from the storms fury.
Amateur operations also involved the Western Stark County
Chapter of the American Red Cross when a relief center was
established at John Knox Presbyterian Church in Jackson Township.
Operations shifted on Monday morning as amateurs active with
the Red Cross sent Disaster Assessment Teams into the effected
areas to determine the extent of the damage. Amateurs also rode
with Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVís) providing
meals and assistance to both area residents hit hardest by the
storm and clean-up crews. Operations continued throughout the week
until Thursday afternoon.
Stark County ARES Assistant EC Terry Russ, N8ATZ indicated this
was the worst disaster to hit this area on record and involved
more than 50 local amateurs.
Township officials also praised amateurs efforts during this
crisis and are already revising their local disaster plans to
increase the involvement of amateur radio operators.
History of Northeast Ohio Skywarn
Weather Service developed the Skywarn program out of a need for
quick, reliable information to augment the remote sensing tools
they already had in place. Through the training of civilians, they
achieved part of their goal. Spotters used telephones to relay
reports of severe weather to their regional NWS Office. However, a
problem arose during large outbreaks of severe weather. When many
spotters tried to call in at the same time, the telephones were
always busy. As a result, the information didn't come in as
quickly as desired.
The idea of
using amateur radio to relay the reports came into play. It was a
great idea at first, reports came in as quickly as they could be
radioed in. However, as Skywarn gained rapid popularity with hams,
it became less efficient, and relationships among those involved
deteriorated. Suddenly, it seemed as though it was a status symbol
to have been heard on the local weather net. A clear need for
structure, organization became apparent. This led to the
development of controlled nets for amateur radio Skywarn.
this need for structure and organization was deepened by the
modernization of the National Weather Service. The strategy was to
consolidate the regional NWS Offices, as well as their warning
areas. In northern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania, NWS Offices
in Toledo, Mansfield, Akron-Canton, Youngstown and Erie were
closed. Most of the County Warning Areas (CWA's) of these offices
were combined into the current, large CWA that is now served by
NWS Cleveland. The combining of these CWA's threw a huge wrench
into the Skywarn machine. However, instead of complaining about
it, a solution was started to solve the problem.
was the solution to the problem. Through the generosity of the
Six-Meter Amateur Repeater Team, the use of a wide-area repeater
on the six-meter amateur band was donated to the NWS Cleveland
Skywarn program as the primary means to connect the old weather
offices' CWA's. This worked sufficiently until the popularity of
the Backbone increased. This resulted in a clear need for
increased structure and organization.
continues to gain popularity and evolve in structure, remember
that NWS Cleveland Skywarn serves thirty primary counties and an
additional sixty-one counties containing over fifteen million
people across four states. There are numerous local and district
level groups within this area, each with a different set of
Stark County, we are part of District 4, South Central which
is comprised of Ashland, Wayne, Holmes, Summit and Stark Counties.
Each county holds its own local weather net in the event of a NWS
issued "Watch" or "Warning". Ours is of course
held on the 147.12 repeater. We report to a "District
Net". District Nets act as data collection points for local
nets. They collect the most significant information from their
local nets via their local liaison stations. The district nets
also provide warning and watch information as well as other
information from the NWS and other public safety agencies back to
the local nets. In some cases, the district net and local net are
one in the same.
traffic reaches the point where it is ready to be passed on the
Backbone, Cleveland Weather Skywarn takes over and determines how
the information gets to the forecasters. Cleveland Weather Skywarn
operates the Backbone and staffs the NWS radio station.
is the final data collection point, serving the district nets. It
collects the mot significant data from the district nets. This
information is then passed on to the weather forecasters, who use
the information in issuing and verifying warnings and preparing
This is a
brief explanation of how Northeast Ohio Skywarn operates, but it
still depends on accurate, well trained spotters in order to be a
success. You are encouraged to become part of this important
effort. Contact your local coordinators if you would like
are 30 counties under the jurisdiction of the Cleveland National
Weather Service Forecast Office. Click
here to see a map showing the county warning area and the 2
meter frequency of each counties' local Skywarn net. Weather
traffic is then passed between the district net and the Cleveland
National Weather Service on a wide area 6 meter repeater on 52.68
Trained Severe Storm
Amateur Radio Spotters are located throughout Northeastern Ohio
but many areas are still seriously understaffed. The map below
shows in green stars where the heaviest concentration of spotters
are located. Please review the map below and consider joining this
important program if you live in one of the sparsely populated
HERE to view the map.
Do You Have Something To Report Directly To
The National Weather Service ?
County Skywarn Opens 2004 Season
N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator
(Apr 1, 2004) -- Wednesday, March 24th Stark County ARES
officially opened the 2004 severe weather season by participating
in Severe Weather Awareness Week. Each year local amateurs
involved in the Skywarn Spotter program provide countless hours of
community service by providing severe weather spotter reports to
the National Weather Service. During this week amateurs are
involved in several exercises concerning the Skywarn Program.
On the morning of the 24th local communities
tested their early warning sirens in conjunction with the Stark
County Emergency Operations Center. Amateur radio operators also
tested their response by checking into a Simulated Weather Net on
our 147.12 ARES Repeater.
Net Control Lori Miller - KC8ONY logged in 37
local check-ins with an additional 10 from the Alliance Radio Club
Weather Net. In general warning sirens were heard throughout the
county with important reports received from amateurs near all area
hospitals and several from local businesses. Results of the net
were forwared to new Stark County EMA Director Richard Alatorre
who was very pleased with the results. Emergency Coordinator David
Beltz - WD8AYE thanks everyone who took time from their day to
participate in the drill especially net control Lori Miller.
Weather Awareness Week concluded Wednesday night as Stark State
College of Technology again hosted this years Skywarn Spotter
This year's attendance exceeded 150 with many
first time attendees. As usual nearly 50% of the crowd was
comprised of area amateur radio operators. This was no surprise to
EOC director Rick Alatorre who is well aware of local ham
operators support to both the Skywarn program as well as assisting
the EOC during local emergencies.
"This is a terrific turnout", said
Rick, host of this years annual training meeting, "ham
operators have always been counted upon to assist local public
service agencies whenever they were needed." Rick
continued, "I'm very grateful to all the local ham
operators for their assistance."
Cleveland Weather Coordinating Meteorologist Gary
Garnet - KC8TJI returning for his fifth year was also impressed, The
amateurs of Stark County have always been strong supporters of the
Skywarn program", said Gary, "They are always
doing a great job down here in Stark County and have for many
Gary's program covered the fundamental aspects of
predicting severe weather and how spotters play a vital role in
determining when to issue watches and warnings. New this year were
video clips that helped to show cloud patterns that spawn severe
weather. Proper reporting procedures were also reviewed and how
our visual conformations help forecasters decide when, where and
to what degree watches and warnings are issued here and in other
Marvin Secrest of M & K Engraving was again in
attendance taking orders for official Skywarn ID badges and
reported good sales again this year.
"The training meeting was another great
success", said local Skywarn Coordinator Paul Burke -
KB8VAS who thanked Gary Garnet for his excellent training program
as well as the tremendous outpouring of support from area public
safety officials and the amateur radio community who assist with
this vital community program.
A multi page brochure was handed out during the
program that provides tips on severe weather spotting. Supplies
ran short during the meeting, if you didn't get a copy you can
download one by clicking
A more advanced color basic basic spotter's field
guide is also available from the National Weather Service. Click
Here to download this 22 page pdf guide from their website.
Spotter's Guide Now Available
requests for copies of the official Severe Storm Spotter's Guide,
we have made it available as an Adobe pdf document. Click on the
button below to download your copy !
Special Feature Story
Doppler Radar : How Does
It Work ?
We constantly hear about the importance of Doppler radar in the
forecasting and monitoring of weather conditions. We hear about
the Doppler radar on TV every day, and it's truly a life-saving
weather surveillance tool. But how do Doppler radars really work?
To explain, let's use the example of the most powerful
coast-to-coast Doppler radar network, operated by the National
Weather Service (NWS). These radars make up the WSR-88D network
that stretches across the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii
and U.S. territories. The Doppler radar is named as such because
it employs the Doppler effect. This effect, takes its name from
the man who discovered it, Austrian physicist Christian Johann
Doppler. It states that an object moving away from a certain point
gives off a different "frequency" than an object moving
towards that same point. This can be best illustrated by the sound
a car makes as it approaches blowing its horn. As the car comes
toward you, a higher horn pitch is heard than when it moves away.
Listen for this the next time you are stuck in traffic.
past, older radars sent out radio waves into the atmosphere. The
radar would measure the time between pulses and the amount of time
it took these radio echoes to bounce back from precipitation. The
radar then calculates the distance of the raindrops falling from
the clouds. What sets the new Doppler radar apart is that by using
the Doppler principle, the speed and direction of these drops can
be determined. This allows Doppler radars to determine if storms
contain dangerously strong winds and even tornadoes. The power of
these radars enables them to determine the size of the droplets,
potential flooding and even the presence of hail in a storm.
The NWS radar network and local Doppler radars create a powerful
tool for meteorologists to understand and forecast local weather
conditions. It allows them to see severe weather before it happens
and warn the public of the threat of everything from hail to
flooding and heavy snow to tornadoes. We're proud to include the
national NWS radar network, (and often even the best local
television station radars!) as a part of WeatherBug. Make sure you
have the latest version of WeatherBug (Click here
to download version 2.7.) so you can track all the rain and snow
this year. Now you know that WeatherBug's Doppler radar is truly
powerful and accurate!
above story is courtesy of September 2001 "BUGBYTES"
from WeatherBug.com !
the latest news on the Skywarn Program here in Stark County look
to the Stark County ARES Website at http://www.wd8aye.org
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