Skywarn Coordinators visit Bristol, CT

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By Chris Perreault on April 6, 2013, 8:17am Last modified: April 9, 2013, 3:11pm

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On Friday April 5th, 2013 the Chippens Repeater/Bristol Radio Club hosted a presentation at Bristol city hall at 7;30pm.

Steve Williams (K1SJW), SKYWARN Coordinator for Connecticut, and Rob Macedo (KD1CY), SKYWARN Coordinator for Eastern Massachusetts, presented information on how Skywarn trained spotters assist the National Weather Service (NWS) by providing "Ground Truth Information" to supplement the information the NWS gets from their radar systems. The NWS trains these Skywarn spotters to identify critical weather signs and how to report this information via phone, Twitter, Facebook, and Amateur (Ham) radio.

The two presenters traveled to Bristol to speak about Skywarn and how useful this information is. They spoke of how a Skywarn spotter reported the Springfield, MA F3 tornado before any major news organizations had. A spotter called in the destruction of houses on Allen street as the tornado left Springfield and headed towards Sturbridge, MA. Yet another spotter reported no damage yet lots of debris, including letters. When asked for the address on the mail he reported in that it was addressed to someone on Allen St in Springfield, MA,

Often times these first hand reports allow first responders to know which areas need their assistance first. While Connecticut doesn't have its own NWS office, these trained spotters each contact the NWS office that covers the area they live in. Taunton Ma covers Hartford and Tolland Counties. The Albany NWS office covers Northwestern CT and Upton NY covers Connecticut's shoreline counties.

Ham radio operators talk to each other at the same time on what is referred to as "nets". These are scheduled conversations with a moderator who decides whose turn it is to talk and who is responsible for logging reports and traffic. The attendees learned that the oldest weather net was founded on December 13th, 1955 and is called The New England Weather Net. People call into this every Monday through Saturday, reporting on temperature, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, cloud cover, precipitation and other data they may have to report.



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Chris Perreault

Town: Bristol, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since March 2013.

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