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Skywarn Information Page

Stark County Skywarn

After many requests for additional copies of the severe storm spotter's guide, we are happy to make it available to you as an Adobe pdf document. Click on the button below to download your copy. 


INTRODUCTION

   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 Radio.

   Stark County 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. 

   Stark  County serves under the direction of our Emergency Coordinator, David Beltz - WD8AYE, with assistance from and Assistant EC  Terry Russ - N8ATZ. If you have any questions about the Skywarn Program here in Stark County or if you have any comments, we invite your call.

THE HISTORY OF NORTHEAST OHIO SKYWARN

   The National 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.

   During 1993, 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.

   The Backbone 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.

   As Skywarn 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 operating procedures.

   Here in 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.

   Once weather 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.

   The Backbone 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 forecasts.

   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 additional information.

    There 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 Mhz. 

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 areas.

CLICK HERE to view the map.

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Skywarn Spotter Training
Terry Russ, N8ATZ -  Emergency Coordinator

    (Mar 16, 2014) -- Severe Weather Awareness Week here in Stark County unofficially started on Tuesday, March 11th as countless Amateur Radio operators and other Public Safety workers participated in our annual Skywarn Spotter Training Seminar.

Each year local amateurs involved in the Skywarn Spotter program provide countless hours of community service by providing severe weather spotter reports to the Cleveland National Weather Service (NWS). Thanks to this training, spotters provide actual visual confirmation to the potentially severe weather seen by the NWS. Forecasters depend on these reports to issue Watches and Warnings for our area. The reports are relayed via Amateur Radio directly to the Cleveland NWS forecast office.

Hosted again this year by Stark State College of  Technology and moderated by Tim Warstler,  Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency, the seminar was presented by Cleveland Weather Coordinating Meteorologist Gary Garnet, KC8TJI returning for his fourteenth consecutive season.

The training seminar which covers the science of severe weather teaches spotters to observe cloud formations and the signs that severe weather is approaching. The course also covers spotter safety and how to report weather to the NWS.  This years training included new material covering a recap of last years severe weather.  Our appreciation to local Skywarn coordinators Mike Lackney, KB8MIB, Michele Gill, KC8ZEJ and Mike Palmer, KD8ENV and Matt Kraner, K8MAT who assisted with the registration.

This years attendance was nearly 100, with nearly 60 first time guests who earned their Skywarn Spotter Certification. New spotters are issued spotter numbers which assist forecasters in locating the spotters precise location. As usual nearly 30% of the crowd was comprised of area amateur radio operators.  EMA Director Tim Warstler was also very pleased by the solid turnout and has  been well  aware of the local ham operators support to both the Skywarn program as well as his office. "My experience is that they are extremely talented and very professional radio operators who have been a valuable asset to this office."

Cleveland WCM Gary Garnet was also impressed by the turnout. "The amateurs of Stark County have always been strong supporters of the Severe Weather Spotter program, Stark County always rates as one of the largest groups for our Spotter Seminars."

Marvin Secrest of M & K Engraving was also in attendance again this year. Marvin is our exclusive supplier for Skywarn ID badges and was very busy throughout the seminar.

If you missed training in Stark County, click here for a list of the training still on the schedule. 

The basic B/W spotter handout is available Here. Page 1  and Page 2.

A full color detailed Spotter Brochure is available on the NWS website by clicking here.

Our thanks to all of the presenters and those who took time out of their busy lives to support this important training.


Skywarn Spotter Training
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

    (Mar 17, 2013) -- Severe Weather Awareness Week here in Stark County unofficially started on Monday, March 13th as countless Amateur Radio operators and other Public Safety workers participated in our annual Skywarn Spotter Training Seminar.

Each year local amateurs involved in the Skywarn Spotter program provide countless hours of community service by providing severe weather spotter reports to the Cleveland National Weather Service (NWS). Thanks to this training, spotters provide actual visual confirmation to the potentially severe weather seen by the NWS. Forecasters depend on these reports to issue Watches and Warnings for our area. The reports are relayed via Amateur Radio directly to the Cleveland NWS forecast office.

Hosted again this year by Stark State College of  Technology and moderated by Tim Warstler,  Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency, the seminar was presented by Cleveland Weather Coordinating Meteorologist Gary Garnet, KC8TJI returning for his thirteenth consecutive season.

The training seminar which covers the science of severe weather teaches spotters to observe cloud formations and the signs that severe weather is approaching. The course also covers spotter safety and how to report weather to the NWS.  This years training included new material covering a recap of last years severe weather.  Our appreciation to local Skywarn coordinators Mike Lackney, KB8MIB, Michele Gill, KC8ZEJ and Mike Palmer, KD8ENV and Matt Kraner, K8MAT who assisted with the registration.

This years attendance was nearly 170, with nearly 60 first time guests who earned their Skywarn Spotter Certification. New spotters are issued spotter numbers which assist forecasters in locating the spotters precise location. As usual nearly 30% of the crowd was comprised of area amateur radio operators.  EMA Director Tim Warstler was also very pleased by the solid turnout and has  been well  aware of the local ham operators support to both the Skywarn program as well as his office. "My experience is that they are extremely talented and very professional radio operators who have been a valuable asset to this office."

Cleveland WCM Gary Garnet was also impressed by the turnout. "The amateurs of Stark County have always been strong supporters of the Severe Weather Spotter program, Stark County always rates as one of the largest groups for our Spotter Seminars."

Marvin Secrest of M & K Engraving was also in attendance again this year. Marvin is our exclusive supplier for Skywarn ID badges and was very busy throughout the seminar.

A brand new redesigned Weather Spotter's Field Guide released in June 2011 was handed out during the seminar that provides tips on severe weather spotting. If you didn't get a copy you can download a pdf version by clicking here. A more advanced color basic spotter's field guide is also available from the National Weather Service website. Click Here to download this 22 page pdf guide.   

If you missed training in Stark County, the following counties still are scheduled for the remainder of March. Summit on 3/21, Mahoning on 3/20, and Portage Co on April 3rd.  Additional information and training sites are posted on the Cleveland NWS website and is available by clicking here. 

Our thanks to all of the presenters and those who took time out of their busy lives to support this important training.


Skywarn Founder, WA8EWW, SK
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  (June 8, 2012) --  Merle G. Kachenmeister, WA8EWW, died May 29 at the age of 82 in the care of Hospice of NW Ohio. He had lived most recently in Blissfield, Michigan.

A Navy veteran, he began his career doing weather for the Navy, according to his obituary. He then worked for the US Weather Bureau, later renamed the National Weather Service, where he developed the SKYWARN weather warning system following the deadly 1965 Palm Sunday tornadoes. In recognition, the US Department of Commerce awarded him a bronze service medal in 1974.

With Amateur Radio operators at the forefront of the SKYWARN program, the ARRL and the National Weather Service have cosponsored SKYWARN Recognition Day since 1999.

A pioneering television meteorologist, Kachenmeister retired from WTOL in Toledo, Ohio after stints at several other TV stations. He is survived by his wife, Joanne, a daughter and grandchildren. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Hospice of NW Ohio.


Skywarn Spotter Training
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

    UPDATED (Mar 17, 2012) -- Severe Weather Awareness Week here in Stark County unofficially started on Monday, March 12th as countless Amateur Radio operators and other Public Safety workers participated in our annual Skywarn Spotter Training Seminar.

Each year local amateurs involved in the Skywarn Spotter program provide countless hours of community service by providing severe weather spotter reports to the Cleveland National Weather Service (NWS). Thanks to this training, spotters provide actual visual confirmation to the potentially severe weather seen by the NWS. Forecasters depend on these reports to issue Watches and Warnings for our area. The reports are relayed via Amateur Radio directly to the Cleveland NWS forecast office.

Hosted again this year by Stark State College of  Technology and moderated by Tim Warstler,  Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency, the seminar was presented by Cleveland Weather Coordinating Meteorologist Gary Garnet, KC8TJI returning for his thirteenth consecutive season.

The training seminar which covers the science of severe weather teaches spotters to observe cloud formations and the signs that severe weather is approaching. The course also covers spotter safety and how to report weather to the NWS.  This years training included new material covering a recap of last years severe weather.  Our appreciation to local Skywarn coordinators Mike Lackney, KB8MIB, Michele Gill, KC8ZEJ and Mike Palmer, KD8ENV who assisted with the registration.

This years attendance was nearly 160, with nearly 40 first time guests who earned their Skywarn Spotter Certification. New spotters are issued spotter numbers which assist forecasters in locating the spotters precise location. As usual nearly 30% of the crowd was comprised of area amateur radio operators.  EMA Director Tim Warstler was also very pleased by the solid turnout and has  been well  aware of the local ham operators support to both the Skywarn program as well as his office. "My experience is that they are extremely talented and very professional radio operators who have been a valuable asset to this office."

Cleveland WCM Gary Garnet was also impressed by the turnout. "The amateurs of Stark County have always been strong supporters of the Severe Weather Spotter program, Stark County always rates as one of the largest groups for our Spotter Seminars."

Marvin Secrest of M & K Engraving was also in attendance again this year. Marvin is our exclusive supplier for Skywarn ID badges and was very busy throughout the seminar.

A brand new redesigned Weather Spotter's Field Guide released in June 2011 was handed out during the seminar that provides tips on severe weather spotting. If you didn't get a copy you can download a pdf version by clicking here. A more advanced color basic spotter's field guide is also available from the National Weather Service website. Click Here to download this 22 page pdf guide.   

If you missed training in Stark County, the following counties still are scheduled for the remainder of March. Summit on 3/19, Trumbull on 3/20, Mahoning on 3/21, Crawford PA on 3/22, Lucas on 3/24, Huron on 3/26, Erie PA on 3/27, Crawford OH on 3/28 and Marion on 3/29.  Additional information and training sites are posted on the Cleveland NWS website and is available by clicking here. 

Our thanks to all of the presenters and those who took time out of their busy lives to support this important training.


Stark Co Skywarn Activated
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Jun 10, 2011) -- For the second time in four days, blackened skies, swirling winds, heave rain and the threat of a tornado prompted local officials to set off Massillon's siren warning system.

Saturday evening, June 4th, the Cleveland National Weather Service (NWS) issued a tornado warning for southern Stark county as a severe weather system pounded through the county.

Stark County Skywarn had already been fully activated as Net Manager Mike Lackney, KB8MIB established a severe weather net activating our storm spotters and our hospital response system. The path of the storm was tracked as it made it's way through the county with the most severe reports being relayed to Cleveland NWS.

Local warning sirens are sounded when there is official notification of a tornado or funnel cloud sighting in the city or adjacent township or outlying area and it is heading toward the city.

The official notification means that it is relayed by any public safety agency or official. Amateur Radio's Skywarn Spotters can also provide official notification to activate warning sirens thanks to the extensive training storm spotters have received each year at our training sessions.

The storm caused only minimal damage and some local power outages as it passed through the county. At the conclusion, damage reports were collected and relayed to the Cleveland NWS.


Storm Cloud formations like those above caused Stark County Skywarn to activate a severe weather net during the peak of the storm on Saturday evening.
(Photo's courtesy of Mike Lackney, KB8MIB)


Severe Weather Strikes Stark County
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Mar 24, 2011) -- With Severe Weather Week only a few days old Stark County Skywarn was briefly activated Wednesday afternoon, Mar 23rd as the seasons first thunderstorm passed through the area from about 3 to 6 PM. The National Weather Service called the storm dangerous and advised people to seek shelter indoors and stay away from windows.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued earlier and was allowed to expire at about 4:30 PM. At the height of the storm which produced pea sized hail, the weather service issued a tornado watch at 1:15 PM. 

A Skywarn Spotter Net was activated on the 147.12 Repeater with Mike Palmer, KD8ENV taking checkins and damage reports which were relayed to Cleveland NWS by Net Manager Mike Lackney, KB8MIB. Dale Storey, KB8LWP was dispatched to Mercy Medical Center to maintain communications with the Security Department.

The all clear was given by about 6:30 PM with the net standing down. Our thanks to our network of storm spotters who kept a close eye on the passing of the storm.

It was later learned that this same storm traveled along the US Route 30 corridor to Hempfield Township in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania where it spawned a tornado that badly damaged nearly 90 homes. In the greater Pittsburgh area the same storm produced hail larger than gold balls and brought torrential rain and wind that damaged roofs and downed trees and power lines.

Stark County thankfully did not suffer any significant damage as a result of the storm.


Skywarn Spotter Training
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

    UPDATED (Mar 19, 2011) -- Severe Weather Awareness Week here in Stark County unofficially started on Thursday, March 19th as countless Amateur Radio operators and other Public Safety workers participated in our annual Skywarn Spotter Training Seminar.

Each year local amateurs involved in the Skywarn Spotter program provide countless hours of community service by providing severe weather spotter reports to the Cleveland National Weather Service (NWS). Thanks to this training, spotters provide actual visual confirmation to the potentially severe weather seen by the NWS. Forecasters depend on these reports to issue Watches and Warnings for our area. The reports are relayed via Amateur Radio directly to the Cleveland NWS forecast office.

Hosted again this year by Stark State College of  Technology and moderated by Tim Warstler,  Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency, the seminar was presented by Cleveland Weather Coordinating Meteorologist Gary Garnet, KC8TJI returning for his twelfth consecutive season.

The training seminar which covers the science of severe weather teaches spotters to observe cloud formations and the signs that severe weather is approaching. The course also covers spotter safety and how to report weather to the NWS. This year's program included some additional information from last years severe weather season.  Our appreciation to local Skywarn coordinators Mike Lackney, KB8MIB, Michele Gill, KC8ZEJ and Mike Palmer, KD8ENV who assisted with the registration.

This years attendance was nearly 125, with nearly 25 first time guests who earned their Skywarn Spotter Certification. New spotters are issued spotter numbers which assist forecasters in locating the spotters precise location. As usual nearly 30% of the crowd was comprised of area amateur radio operators.  EMA Director Tim Warstler was also very pleased by the solid turnout and has  been well  aware of the local ham operators support to both the Skywarn program as well as his office. "My experience is that they are extremely talented and very professional radio operators who have been a valuable asset to this office."

Cleveland WCM Gary Garnet was also impressed by the turnout. "The amateurs of Stark County have always been strong supporters of the Severe Weather Spotter program, Stark County always rates as one of the largest groups for our Spotter Seminars."

Marvin Secrest of M & K Engraving was also in attendance again this year. Marvin is our exclusive supplier for Skywarn ID badges and was very busy throughout the seminar.

A revised brochure was handed out during the seminar that provides tips on severe weather spotting. If you didn't get a copy you can download a pdf version by clicking here. A more advanced color basic spotter's field guide is also available from the National Weather Service website. Click Here to download this 22 page pdf guide.   

If you missed training in Stark County, the following counties still are scheduled for the remainder of March. Portage on 3/21;  Lorain on 3/22;  Summit on 3/24;  and Lucas on 3/26.  Additional information and training sites are posted on the Cleveland NWS website and is available by clicking here. 

Our thanks to all of the presenters and those who took time out of their busy lives to support this important training.


Severe Weather Awareness Week Begins
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

OCSWA Logo  (Mar 21, 2010) --  Knowing the difference between a weather “watch” and a weather “warning” could save your life.

It’s no secret that Northeast Ohio weather can change in a heartbeat and, with spring arriving Sunday, local and state officials are encouraging residents to be prepared for the worst.       

Officials are urging schools, businesses and residents to practice tornado drills and emergency plans during Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Tim Warstler, director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency, advised residents to become familiar with severe weather terminology. Residents should act immediately if a weather warning has been issued for their area, he said.

“There are watches, advisories and warnings. When a weather warning is issued, it (weather event) is actually happening,” Warstler said. “... Now is the time to take action. (Weather forecasters) used to do it by whole counties but now they will mention specific communities in the path of a storm.”   MORE.......

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards LogoNOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office. NWS broadcasts National Weather Service warnings, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day. 

NWR is also an "all Hazards" radio network, available to national, state, and local emergency managers for use in disseminating information on non-weather hazardous conditions and events. It is also the primary trigger for the FCC's Emergency Alert System, making it the single, most comprehensive weather and emergency information source available to the public. It will also play a prominent role in Homeland Security as the early warning alert system for the nation.

NOAA Weather Radio receivers are available at most consumer electronics stores for as little as $25.00 and up. Newer weather radio's incorporate a new system called "SAME". Specific Area Messaging Encoding allows listeners to pre-select the specific geographic area (counties or portions of counties), where they want to receive NWS alerts. This feature prevents the NOAA weather radio receiver from automatically turning on when the forecast office issues watches or warnings for areas that don't impact your area.

As we prepare for the 2011 severe weather season, consider getting a weather radio for you're home or a relative. NOAA weather radio's advise people about severe weather situations, buying them valuable extra time to react before a dangerous situation strikes their area. Information broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio is often initiated thanks to Amateur Radio severe storm spotters making visual confirmation of impending severe weather situations. This information is in turn broadcast to the general public via weather radio.  On countless occasions NOAA Weather Radio has saved many lives and public safety experts agree that receivers should be standard equipment in every home and public place (including hospitals, schools, places of worship, nursing homes, restaurants, grocery stores, recreation centers, office buildings, sports facilities, theaters, retail stores, bus and train stations, airports, marinas and other public-gathering places).

The NWS is constantly updating its systems with improved radar, satellites, automated weather observing systems, supercomputers and telecommunications capabilities aimed at saving lives and preserving property. Likewise, the NOAA Weather Radio Network is expanding its coverage by installing new stations in unserved areas. However, countless success stories, expert advise, state-of-the-art forecasting technology and widely available warnings and forecasts are of little value if the people who need NOAA Weather Radio information don't get it in a timely manner. Unfortunately, NOAA Weather Radio remains one of the best kept secrets in the United States. While about 84 to 89 percent of Americans are within range to receive NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts, estimates suggest that only a small percentage of Americans have a NOAA Weather Radio. NOAA Weather Radios advise people about severe weather (and other emergency) situations, buying them valuable extra time to react before a dangerous situation strikes their area. All it takes is for you and your community to purchase a NOAA Weather Radio and you, too, can benefit from this important life-saving service.

Click Here for additional information on Ohio's Severe Weather Awareness Week...


Amateur Radio Operators Active During Severe Tornado Breakout in Northwestern Ohio
Courtesy of the ARRL

   (Jun 9, 2010) --  During the early overnight hours of Saturday, June 5 through Sunday, June 6, severe weather and tornadoes ripped across an area of Northwestern Ohio, laying a large path of destruction. ARESŪ and SKYWARN groups in Erie, Huron,  Sandusky and Wood Counties activated nets as early as 10:30 PM Saturday, with many not standing down until 4:30 AM the next day. According to ARRL Ohio Section Manager, traffic on the nets was filled with reports of severe weather damage, flooding and downed power lines. MORE.


Statewide Tornado Drill Results
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Mar 28, 2010) -- As part of Ohio's Severe Weather Awareness Week, Stark County Skywarn participated in the Statewide Tornado Test on Wednesday, March 24th.  At 9:50 AM local time communities were requested to activate their sirens as part of their early warning system. Also participating were local cable & radio stations.

As part of this test, amateur radio operators also tested their response by participating in a simulated emergency skywarn net conducted on the Stark Co 147.12 Mhz ARES Repeater. Net control Mike Lackney - KB8MIB logged 17 local stations covering central and western Stark County. 

Warning sirens were heard in nearly all areas thanks to the numerous additional warning sirens installed during the last year. 

Stark Co ARES thanks all those stations who took time to participate in this drill. Full results will be reported  to the Cleveland National Weather Service and to Tim Warstler, Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency.

Special thanks to Net Manager Mike Lackney, KB8MIB who activated the net during this exercise.


Annual Skywarn Spotter Training
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

    (Mar 21, 2010) -- Severe Weather Awareness Week here in Stark County unofficially started on Wednesday, March 17th as countless Amateur Radio operators and other Public Safety workers participated in our annual Skywarn Spotter Training Seminar.

Each year local amateurs involved in the Skywarn Spotter program provide countless hours of community service by providing severe weather spotter reports to the Cleveland National Weather Service (NWS). Thanks to this training, spotters provide actual visual confirmation to the potentially severe weather seen by the NWS. Forecasters depend on these reports to issue Watches and Warnings for our area. The reports are relayed via Amateur Radio directly to the Cleveland NWS forecast office.

Hosted again this year by Stark State College of  Technology and moderated by Tim Warstler,  Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency, the seminar was presented by Cleveland Weather Coordinating Meteorologist Gary Garnet, KC8TJI returning for his eleventh consecutive season.

The training seminar which covers the science of severe weather teaches spotters to observe cloud formations and the signs that severe weather is approaching. The course also covers spotter safety and how to report weather to the NWS. This years program included some additional information from last years severe weather season.  Our appreciation to local Skywarn coordinators Mike Lackney, KB8MIB and Michelle Gill, KC8ZEJ for their assistance during registration including ARES member Mike Palmer, KD8ENV who also assisted with the registration.

This years attendance was nearly 175, with nearly 91 first time guests who earned their Skywarn Spotter Certification. New spotters are issued spotter numbers which assist forecasters in locating the spotters precise location. As usual nearly 30% of the crowd was comprised of area amateur radio operators.  EMA Director Tim Warstler was also very pleased by the solid turnout and has  been well  aware of the local ham operators support to both the Skywarn program as well as his office. "My experience is that they are extremely talented and very professional radio operators who have been a valuable asset to this office."

Cleveland WCM Gary Garnet was also impressed by the turnout. "The amateurs of Stark County have always been strong supporters of the Severe Weather Spotter program, Stark County always rates as one of the largest groups for our Spotter Seminars."

Marvin Secrest of M & K Engraving was also in attendance again this year. Marvin is our exclusive supplier for Skywarn ID badges and was very busy throughout the seminar.

A revised brochure was handed out during the seminar that provides tips on severe weather spotting. If you didn't get a copy you can download a pdf version by clicking here. A more advanced color basic spotter's field guide is also available from the National Weather Service website. Click Here to download this 22 page pdf guide.   

If you missed the Spotter Seminar, the Des Moines, Iowa NWS staff has assembled a first rate spotter presentation in a Microsoft PowerPoint program. The program is quite large and must be downloaded to your computer before you can view it or it can be viewed directly from their website if you have a high speed connection. Download information and setup instructions can be found on their website by clicking on this link. The file is in a zipped format and must be unzipped. Follow the instructions at the bottom of the link. 

Our thanks to all of the presenters and those who took time out of their busy lives to support this important training.


Statewide Tornado Drill Results
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Mar 29, 2009) -- As part of Ohio's Severe Weather Awareness Week, Stark County Skywarn participated in the Statewide Tornado Test on Wednesday, March 25th.  At 9:50 AM local time communities were requested to activate their sirens as part of their early warning system.

As part of this test, amateur radio operators also tested their response by participating in a simulated emergency skywarn net conducted on the Stark Co 147.12 Mhz ARES Repeater. Net control Mike Lackney - KB8MIB logged 28 local stations covering central and western Stark County. 

Warning sirens were heard in nearly all areas thanks to the numerous additional warning sirens installed during the last year. 

Stark Co ARES thanks all those stations who took time to participate in this drill. Full results will be reported  to the Cleveland National Weather Service and to Tim Warstler, Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency.

Special thanks to Net Manager Mike Lackney, KB8MIB who activated the net during this exercise.


Skywarn Spotter Conference Review
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Mar 21, 2009) -- Severe Weather Awareness Week here in Stark County unofficially started on Wednesday evening as countless Amateur Radio operators and other Public Safety workers participated in our annual Skywarn Spotter Training Seminar.

Each year local amateurs involved in the Skywarn Spotter program provide countless hours of community service by providing severe weather spotter reports to the Cleveland National Weather Service (NWS). Thanks to this training, spotters provide actual visual confirmation to the potentially severe weather seen by the NWS. Forecasters depend on these reports to issue Watches and Warnings for our area. The reports are relayed via Amateur Radio directly to the Cleveland NWS forecast office.

Hosted again this year by Stark State College of  Technology and moderated by Tim Warstler,  Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency, the seminar was presented by Cleveland Weather Coordinating Meteorologist Gary Garnet, KC8TJI returning for his tenth consecutive season.

The training seminar which covers the science of severe weather teaches spotters to observe cloud formations and the signs that severe weather is approaching. The course also covers spotter safety and how to report weather to the NWS. This years program included some additional information from last years severe weather season.  Our appreciation to local Skywarn coordinators Mike Lackney, KB8MIB and Michelle Gill, KC8ZEJ for their assistance during registration including ARES member Mike Palmer, KD8ENV who also assisted with the registration.

This years attendance was nearly 230, with nearly 100 first time guests who earned their Skywarn Spotter Certification. New spotters are issued spotter numbers which assist forecasters in locating the spotters precise location. As usual nearly 30% of the crowd was comprised of area amateur radio operators.  EMA Director Tim Warstler was also very pleased by the solid turnout and has  been well  aware of the local ham operators support to both the Skywarn program as well as his office. "My experience is that they are extremely talented and very professional radio operators who have been a valuable asset to this office."

Cleveland WCM Gary Garnet was also impressed by the turnout. "The amateurs of Stark County have always been strong supporters of the Severe Weather Spotter program, Stark County always rates as one of the largest groups for our Spotter Seminars."

Marvin Secrest of M & K Engraving was also in attendance again this year. Marvin is our exclusive supplier for Skywarn ID badges and was very busy throughout the seminar.

A revised brochure was handed out during the seminar that provides tips on severe weather spotting. If you didn't get a copy you can download a pdf version by clicking here. A more advanced color basic spotter's field guide is also available from the National Weather Service website. Click Here to download this 22 page pdf guide.   

If you missed the Spotter Seminar, the Des Moines, Iowa NWS staff has assembled a first rate spotter presentation in a Microsoft PowerPoint program. The program is quite large and must be downloaded to your computer before you can view it or it can be viewed directly from their website if you have a high speed connection. Download information and setup instructions can be found on their website by clicking on this link. The file is in a zipped format and must be unzipped. Follow the instructions at the bottom of the link. The links below are courtesy of the Des Moines NWS Office website.

Online Training

  • Spotter Training Presentation - View online with Internet Explorer.  This link will not work well with any other browser.
  • Spotter Training Presentation - full download to your computer
    • Click on the above link and choose to Open the Zip file as it's downloaded to your computer.
    • Once the download is complete, extract to a location of your choosing, e.g. "My Documents".
    • A new subdirectory will by made in the location you specified, e.g. C:\My Documents\NWS_Spotter_Training.
    • Within this new direcory, use Internet Explorer to Open NWS_Spotter_Training.htm and then view the presentation.

Previous Skywarn News

 

Hurricane Ike's Winds Hit Stark County
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

    (Sep 16, 2008) -- Stark County ARES was activated on Sunday afternoon after the former Hurricane Ike - which paralyzed the Texas area a few days earlier - blew through our area.

Wind gusts of over 56 mph caused uprooted trees and downed power lines leaving about 80,000 customers without electricity and the 911 call center overloaded with calls for assistance. At approximately 8:00 PM, Tim Warstler, Director of the Stark Co Emergency Preparedness Agency contacted EC Dave Beltz, WD8AYE requesting assistance as the EOC was officially activated. Also responding was Assist EC Terry Russ, N8ATZ. Amateurs were used to supplement priority communications between public safety agencies and the 911 center to ease congestion of the call center. Amateurs were also requested to obtain storm damage reports through our core of trained  Skywarn Spotters. 

Approximately 15 EOC staff, Red Cross volunteers and Amateur Radio operators remained on duty at the EOC throughout the evening until the severe winds subsided around 11:00 PM. A formal Weather Net was activated on the county 147.12 ARES repeater with Net Managers Michelle Gill, KC8ZEJ and Mike Lackney, KB8MIB taking damage reports that were passed onto the EOC.

Director Tim Warstler expressed his thanks and appreciation to all area amateurs for their assistance in this county emergency. Power is not fully restored to many parts of Stark County and it may take until late Thursday or Friday before full service is restored. Click Here for additional information of the wind damage courtesy of the Canton Repository.


Tornado Test Concludes Severe Weather Week 
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Apr 5, 2008) -- As part of Ohio's Severe Weather Awareness Week, Stark County Skywarn participated in the Statewide Tornado Test on both Wednesday, March 26th. and again on Friday, March 28th for Canton and other selected areas.  At 9:50 AM local time communities were requested to activate their sirens as part of their early warning system.

As part of this test, amateur radio operators also tested their response by participating in a simulated emergency skywarn net conducted on the Stark Co 147.12 Mhz ARES Repeater. Net control Mike Lackney - KB8MIB assisted by Michele Gill, KC8ZEJ  logged 27 local stations covering central and western Stark County. 

Warning sirens were heard in selected areas with the full results reported to the Cleveland National Weather Service and to Tim Warstler, Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency.

Our thanks to everyone who took time to participate in this years drills especially our net control operators Mike and Michele. 


Skywarn Spotter Conference Review
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Mar 21, 2009) -- Severe Weather Awareness Week here in Stark County unofficially started on Wednesday evening as countless Amateur Radio operators and other Public Safety workers participated in our annual Skywarn Spotter Training Seminar.

Each year local amateurs involved in the Skywarn Spotter program provide countless hours of community service by providing severe weather spotter reports to the Cleveland National Weather Service (NWS). Thanks to this training, spotters provide actual visual confirmation to the potentially severe weather seen by the NWS. Forecasters depend on these reports to issue Watches and Warnings for our area. The reports are relayed via Amateur Radio directly to the Cleveland NWS forecast office.

Hosted again this year by Stark State College of  Technology and moderated by Tim Warstler,  Director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency, the seminar was presented by Cleveland Weather Coordinating Meteorologist Gary Garnet, KC8TJI returning for his tenth consecutive season.

The training seminar which covers the science of severe weather teaches spotters to observe cloud formations and the signs that severe weather is approaching. The course also covers spotter safety and how to report weather to the NWS. This years program included some additional information from last years severe weather season.  Our appreciation to local Skywarn coordinators Mike Lackney, KB8MIB and Michelle Gill, KC8ZEJ for their assistance during registration including ARES member Mike Palmer, KD8ENV who also assisted with the registration.

This years attendance was nearly 230, with nearly 100 first time guests who earned their Skywarn Spotter Certification. New spotters are issued spotter numbers which assist forecasters in locating the spotters precise location. As usual nearly 30% of the crowd was comprised of area amateur radio operators.  EMA Director Tim Warstler was also very pleased by the solid turnout. Tim Warstler, Director of the EMA has always been well  aware of the local ham operators support to both the Skywarn program as well as his office. "My experience is that they are extremely talented and very professional radio operators who have been a valuable asset to this office."

Cleveland WCM Gary Garnet was also impressed by the turnout. "The amateurs of Stark County have always been strong supporters of the Severe Weather Spotter program, Stark County always rates as one of the largest groups for our Spotter Seminars."

Marvin Secrest of M & K Engraving was also in attendance again this year. Marvin is our exclusive supplier for Skywarn ID badges and was very busy throughout the seminar.

A revised brochure was handed out during the seminar that provides tips on severe weather spotting. If you didn't get a copy you can download a pdf version by clicking here. A more advanced color basic spotter's field guide is also available from the National Weather Service website. Click Here to download this 22 page pdf guide.   

If you missed the Spotter Seminar, the Des Moines, Iowa NWS staff has assembled a first rate spotter presentation in a Microsoft PowerPoint program. The program is quite large and must be downloaded to your computer before you can view it or it can be viewed directly from their website if you have a high speed connection. Download information and setup instructions can be found on their website by clicking on this link. The file is in a zipped format and must be unzipped. Follow the instructions at the bottom of the link. The links below are courtesy of the Des Moines NWS Office website.

Online Training

  • Spotter Training Presentation - View online with Internet Explorer.  This link will not work well with any other browser.
  • Spotter Training Presentation - full download to your computer
    • Click on the above link and choose to Open the Zip file as it's downloaded to your computer.
    • Once the download is complete, extract to a location of your choosing, e.g. "My Documents".
    • A new subdirectory will by made in the location you specified, e.g. C:\My Documents\NWS_Spotter_Training.
    • Within this new direcory, use Internet Explorer to Open NWS_Spotter_Training.htm and then view the presentation.

       


Severe Weather Strikes Stark County 
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Aug 10, 2007) -- Stark County Skywarn activated quickly on Thursday afternoon August 9th as severe weather moved through the area leaving in its wake heavy rain, wind gusts and downed tree limbs and power lines.

Early in the day when it was clear that the potential for severe weather was close, ARES Net Coordinator Michelle Gill - KC8ZEJ activated a Skywarn Net on the 147.12 repeater monitoring for reports of severe weather. By late afternoon she was joined by a host of our Spotters and Net Manager Mike Lackney - KB8MIB.

While no formal Skywarn net was activated on the Cleveland 6 meter Backbone System, severe weather reports and later reports of damage were relayed by phone to Cleveland NWS. At approximately 4:50 PM Cleveland NWS issued a Tornado Warning for Stark County set to expire at 5:45 PM.

While it is believed that there was a possible touchdown in our general area, spotters kept a close watch until the worst of the storm had passed through the area. A special thanks to our local coordinators and all the spotters who stood by during this severe weather event. 

Cloud formations like this textbook Roll Cloud kept Stark County Skywarn Spotters busy Thursday evening.


Move to Storm-Based Warnings Gains Momentum 
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Jan 22, 2007) -- Warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods are some of the most important products issued by the NWS. Currently, these warnings include entire counties even though the risk of severe weather may only affect a small portion of a county. In some instances, large segments of the population are needlessly warned to take shelter from the storm. The size of a warning can be especially problematic in larger counties.

To resolve this problem, NWS is moving to smaller, "stormbased" warnings, also called "polygon" warnings. The storm-based system will allow the NWS to warn small portions of one or more counties, warning only those in the path of the storm. Forecasters will determine the storm-based warning by a set of latitude and longitude points easily ingested by graphical applications such as Geographic Information Systems.

During 2005, several NWS Weather Forecast Offices tested the use of these smaller-than-county areas for convective warnings. The results were positive. Offices taking part in the test averaged a reduction of 70 percent in the area covered by the warnings. Emergency management and other disaster response agencies served by these warnings were able to focus limited resources on smaller areas. Forecasters reported the ability to communicate severe weather threats to the public with increased specificity and clarity.

This change is not expected to significantly impact local Skywarn operations as we will continue to relay our weather observations as needed through the local Skywarn nets.


Fall 2006 Storm Chaser Bulletin Available 
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

    (Jan 15, 2007) -- The Cleveland National Weather Service has distributed the Fall 2006 Edition of its annual publication "Storm Chaser". 

This annual report includes a comprehensive review of the 2006 severe weather season as well as other Skywarn related news. This years edition also contains information on a move to storm-based warnings, the 2006-2007 Winter Outlook, new NOAA Weather Radio News as well as information on this years Severe Weather Awareness Week and the 2007 Skywarn Training Seminars.

The 2006 Severe Weather Season in Review has been posted on this website and in available on our Skywarn Page. The complete Fall 2006 edition is also available for download and is in Adobe Pdf format. There is lots of great information in this years edition and is being made available for those involved in the Stark County Skywarn Program. Click Here to download the Fall edition.


The 2006 Severe Weather Season in Review
Gary Garnet, KC8TJI - Cleveland National Weather Service

     (Jan 15, 2007) -- The 2006 severe weather season got off to a slow start, but this was certainly not an indication of what was to come. Only a few severe weather episodes occurred during March, April and the first half of May. The second half of May was was much more active with several large severe weather episodes. A steady stream of severe weather then continued through the end of July. The third week of June was extremely active with tornadoes, large hail, damaging winds and devastating flooding all reported. Several historic flash flooding episodes occurred during the course of the summer. Northern Ohio and Northwest Pennsylvania got a well deserved break from severe weather and flooding in August and September.

The first severe weather of the season occurred on March 10th and 13th when two strong low pressure systems brought high winds to the region. Relatively large severe weather episodes followed on April 7th and 12th when 67 severe weather reports were received.

The afternoon and evening hours of May 25th featured numerous severe storms. Hail up to and inch and a half in diameter, or walnut size, was reported in Wayne County. Also in Wayne County, a funnel cloud was tracked for several minutes between Smithville and Easton. Winds estimated between 80 and 100 miles per hour swept through Clyde in Sandusky County destroying a concrete block building and tearing roofs off of several other buildings. Many other counties across the area experienced severe weather ranging from downed trees to quarter size hail. Only a few days later on the 31st, flash flooding took place in Cuyahoga and Geauga Counties. A portion of Interstate 90 just west of Cleveland had to be closed during the evening rush hour. 

The period from June 19th through the 22nd was the most active part of the severe weather season. During this period, devastating flash flooding took place across the region and in some locations was the worst in decades. On June 19th, damaging winds and hail were reported throughout northern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania. Another round of severe weather arrived during the afternoon hours of 21st. Winds estimated to be at least 75 miles per hour destroyed a hanger and twelve planes at the Wood County Airport in Bowling Green. Significant flash flooding developed during the evening hours of the 21st and continued into the 22nd. Rainfall amounts of up to 7.25 inches fell in the Toledo area where roads turned into rivers. Hundreds of vehicles became stranded in the flood waters and travel in portions of Toledo was nearly impossible. Flash flooding conditions spread to other counties during the evening overnight hours with Ottawa, Wood, Erie, Lorain, Crawford, Seneca and Huron Counties affected. In Huron County, the City of Norwalk was hard hit as almost seven inches of rain fell in just a few hours. By the morning of the 22nd, the city was split in half with only one north-south road remaining open. Flood conditions continued to worsen in Norwalk during the daylight hours of the 22nd as runoff from the heavy rains continued to flow into the city. Flood waters on some streets were reported to be as much as 12 feet deep. Thousands of homes sustained damage from the flooding in northern Ohio on the 21st and 22nd. Local officials stated that this was the worst flooding in the area since July 4th, 1969.

Just as many people across the region were assessing the storm damage from the day before, severe thunderstorms redeveloped during the early afternoon hours of the 22nd. Winds from the storms were strong enough to blow over three semi trucks in Wyandot County. Several homes were damaged by thunderstorm winds in Knox County. In Ashland County, downburst winds created a damage path from Charles Mills Lake to near Hayesville with winds estimated to be at least 80 miles per hour. Approximately a thousand trees were downed by this downburst, and one house was damaged enough to be declared uninhabitable. In Wayne County, the city of Wooster experienced so many downed trees and power lines that many roads had to be closed. It took several days for power to be completely restored.

Three tornadoes touched down in Holmes and Stark County during the afternoon of June 22nd. In Holmes County, and F2 tornado touched down just west of Mt Hope and tracked through Winesburg. Numerous homes were heavily damaged along the tornado path. One home had its second floor completely destroyed. Several buildings at a nearby factory were also heavily damaged. A few minutes later, and F1 tornado touched down in Stark County just west of Brewster and tracked east to near Navarre. Several houses were heavily damaged along with twelve mobile homes. A few of the mobile homes were completely destroyed. Finally, a third tornado touched down just east of East Sparta shortly before 6:00 p.m. This F1 tornado moved east through downtown Waynesburg damaging several buildings. Tree damage along all three tornado tracks was extensive. Damage from these tornadoes was estimated to be around $2.5 million.

More flooding was reported on the 22nd as heavy rains once again fell on the area. In Cuyahoga County, several cities including Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Parma, North Royalton, and Solon were hit hard by flooding. Four to six inches of rain fell on these cities in just a couple hours. Some streets had a much as two to three feet of water flowing on them. Thousands of homes were damaged. The Cuyahoga River at Independence established a new record high level during this event at 23.2 feet. Damage caused by flooding in eastern Cuyahoga County alone was estimated to be $35 million.

Severe weather and flooding events occurred on a regular basis through the end of July. During the afternoon of July 4th, a round of severe weather occurred with two F0 tornadoes touching down in Portage County. One of the tornadoes touched down near Deerfield and caused major damage to a barn. About a week later on July 10th, severe thunderstorms moved across the region and caused a tornado to develop along the Richland and Ashland County line near Pleasant Hill Lake. The tornado tracked into Mohican State Park and downed hundreds of trees. A barn and grain elevator were also leveled along the damage path. Also on the 10th, nearly eight inches of rain fell on southern Ashland, northern Knox and northwestern Holmes Counties during the late afternoon and evening hours. The Mohican River quickly rose and caused a four foot wall of water to race down the river. People canoeing on the river were forced to climb trees to save themselves from the raging waters. Up to 700 campers had to be evacuated from campgrounds along the river. Numerous buildings and homes in the area were severely damaged by the flooding.

The month of July concluded with unprecedented flooding across northeast Ohio on the evening of the 27th and early morning hours of the 28th. Lake County was the hardest hit, but flooding extended into eastern Cuyahoga, Ashtabula and Geauga Counties. Heavy rains fell on Northeast Ohio during the late afternoon and early evening hours of the 27th. After a brief lull for much of the evening, the heavy rains moved back into the area toward midnight causing flash flooding to quickly redevelop. A total of 5 to 9 inches of rain fell on the area. On the morning of the 27th, the Grand River at Painesville was running at about 2 feet. Twenty four hours later, the river level climbed to an all time record of 17.36 feet. Hundreds of homes were flooded and roads and bridges were washed out. Dozens of private boats broke away from docks along the river and were washed out into the lake. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes because of  flooding and  dozens more had to be rescued by helicopters. The damage caused by this event was estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

August was a much quieter month across the area with only a few severe weather episodes. A weak tornado damaged a few businesses in Knox County on August 3rd. On the 19th, a severe thunderstorm passed over southwest Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Severe winds with this thunderstorm downed several hundred trees near Pymatuning State Park. Several homes were damaged. Most of this was roof damage caused by fallen trees, but a couple homes had chimneys toppled. Spotters indicated that one tree was uprooted and then thrown nearly 30 feet from its original location.

The 2006 severe weather season will go into the books as being an active year, especially for flash flooding. Some of the flooding events that occurred this past season have been classified as 100 year events, and the flooding across Lake County on July 27th and 28th has been tentatively classified as a 500 year event. A total of seven tornadoes occurred this year which is just below the normal for the region. Reports of severe winds and hail were also common this year. However, this season will most likely be remembered for the flash flooding that devastated portions of the area in June and July.

2006 Tornadoes

DATE COUNTY FUJITA SCALE
06/22/2006 Holmes F2
06/22/2006 Stark F1
06/22/2006 Stark F1
07/04/2006 Portage F0
07/04/2006 Portage F0
07/10/2006 Ashland-Richland F1
08/03/2006 Knox F0

 



Severe Storms Rock Stark County
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  (July 4, 2006) -- Extreme severe weather on Thursday, June 22nd caused widespread damage in Stark County including Pike Township near Brewster that resulted in Red Cross activation and a request for the MARC to dispatch their Emergency Communications Trailer in support of relief efforts as numerous trees caused home an property damage. EComm 1 used their generator for a short time to power local communications equipment for public safety forces and to provide communications to the Stark County EOC.

Local Skywarn activation started in the afternoon as it became clear from Cleveland National Weather Service reports that severe weather would pass through Stark County.

Emergency Coordinator Dave Beltz - WD8AYE activated a Skywarn Net on the 147.12 repeater and began mobilizing spotters and taking reports as the storm front entered the county.

A tornado warning was issued for Stark County from 5:30 - 6:15 p.m. as the full force of the storm caused damage in parts of Massillon, Perry Township, Brewster, Navarre, Wilmot, Sandy Creek Township, Bethlehem Township, Waynesburg, Pike and Sandy Township. Later confirmation from the NWS did indicate a tornado touched down in the southern part of Stark County.

Continuous reports of storm intensity were relayed to Cleveland NWS by our Spotter Network and additional reports were provided to Stark County Emergency Management Director Tim Warstler. 

Over 5,000 residents were without power as the storm knocked down power lines throughout 10 communities. Several inches of rain caused Nimishillen Creek to crest over its banks, which had Stark EOC considering the evacuation of roughly 20 to 30 homes in a trailer park along Route 800. Stark County ARES was put into standby in case shelter communications was necessary.

Stark County Skywarn remained active until nearly 10 p.m. when the threat of severe weather had passed.


Skywarn Activates During Severe Weather
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  (May 26, 2006) -- Stark County Skywarn activated for several hours on Thursday afternoon May 25th as severe thunderstorms rocked the area with strong winds, heavy rain and lightning. Emergency Coordinator Dave Beltz - WD8AYE activated the net when National Weather Service officials notified us of potential tornado activity as several unconfirmed reports of touchdowns in the Wayne County area may have been heading for the greater Stark Co area.

A controlled weather net was started on the 147.12 Skywarn repeater with Mike Lackney - KB8MIB assuming NCS duties. Area spotters provided numerous updates as the storm passed through the area with reports of selected power outages and downed trees taken by Net Control. Damage reports were relayed to the Cleveland NWS via the District Net.

Operations continued until the storm cell moved out of the area and by about 10:00 PM formal net operations were cancelled when the last NWS severe weather warning expired. 

Special thanks again to our core of spotters who provided all of the important storm reports until the danger had passed.


The 2005 Severe Weather Season in Review
Gary Garnet, KC8TJI - Cleveland National Weather Service

  (Jan 20, 2006) -- The severe weather season last year began quickly. On April 20th, numerous reports of large hail and damaging winds were received from Wyandot County eastward across northern Ohio to Mahoning County. This was just two weeks after a major last season winter storm dumped 6.8 inches of snow at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, as much as 24.1 inches in Geauga County and 33 inches at Colt Station in Erie County, Pennsylvania.

Then, just as people were getting used to spring like weather, winter returned yet again at the end of April. Significant snow accumulation occurred in areas east of Cleveland with substantial damage done to budding trees and Spring foliage. However, the snow melted rather quickly, and nature got back into gear bringing another round of severe weather on May 13th. During the evening hours, a line of severe thunderstorms raced through northern Ohio downing trees across most counties. Hail as large as a half dollar was also reported. Extensive damage was done to a racetrack that evening near Mansfield.

By the beginning of June, the memories of snow had faded, and the NWS Cleveland County Warning Area (CWA) had already received a few good severe weather events. Severe weather struck again during the evening hours of June 5th. However, it was mainly across western portions of the warning area from Lucas County to as far east as Cuyahoga County, and as far south as Knox County. The main impact of this event were the severe winds with the most significant concentration of damage across western areas such as Wood, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.

On June 28th, severe thunderstorms developed over north-central Ohio during the early afternoon hours. Reports of severe weather quickly came in and by the time the storms reached Stark County, large hail was occurring. The hail accumulated several inches deep on the ground in Canton before the storms finally weakened.

Only two days later on the 30th, thunderstorms quickly developed during the morning hours. Thunderstorms progressed east across northern Ohio and continued through the afternoon and diminished in the evening hours. There were several reports of hail from these storms, but the majority of damage was caused by severe winds, which took down numerous trees and power lines. Nearly every county in northern Ohio received some damage from the thunderstorms.

On July 16th, a series of thunderstorms moved across northern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania during the afternoon hours. There were a few severe wind reports, but flooding was the biggest impact of this event. Between 3 pm and 4:30 pm, around three inches of rain fell in the City of Lorain. Around 4:15 pm, an elderly couple drove down State Route 611, also known as Henderson Road, and drove into a flooded underpass. In only a few minutes time, the underpass filled with around twelve feet of water. Despite heroic efforts to save the couple, rescue efforts were unsuccessful.

During this event, many other underpasses and streets in the City of Lorain were flooded. Water in some areas was as much as ten feet deep with some streets reported to have water flowing "like a river" during the peak of the storm. The flooding was most concentrated in the northeast portion of the city with extensive damage to homes and businesses. Over a dozen residents were displaced from their homes. Flash flooding was also reported in northwestern Pennsylvania that day.

Around a week later on the 25th, the NWS Cleveland warning area received its next severe weather episode. By midday, thunderstorms began developing across western portions of Ohio and raced southeast. Winds as high as 75 mph were reported at Fryburg in Holmes County with numerous trees and power lines down throughout the area. The thunderstorms diminished during the late afternoon hours.

More severe weather was reported the next day as a strong cold front moved east through the region. The most intense thunderstorm this day developed over Lake Erie and tracked southeast into downtown Cleveland. At 4:56 pm, thunderstorm winds of 75 mph rolled onshore. Along the lakeshore, major damage took place at Burke Lakefront Airport where seven aircraft were either destroyed or heavily damaged. An office building nearby had several of its windows blown out. Along with damage to the building, the glass landed on cars parked below causing major damage to them. Numerous trees, limbs, utility poles, and power lines were also taken down from the severe winds. The storms continued east-southeast into northwestern Pennsylvania. Winds of 6- to 70 mph accompanied the line of storms as they moved onshore in Erie County. An outdoor concert near the Perry Landing dock was evacuated shortly before the storms struck. Extensive damage was reported to several boats and homes near the lakeshore.

The first half of August was quiet with frequent temperatures in the 90s being the big story. It wasn't until the second half of the month that the weather became active again across the region. On the 20th a cold front approached the region causing thunderstorms to develop by early afternoon. As one particular thunderstorm cell passed through northern Medina County, twin F-1 tornadoes developed and touched down just north of the City of Medina. They tracked on the ground for only about one hundred yards and were estimated to be around seventy-five feet wide. Major damage occurred as one pole barn completely destroyed, and another barn nearby received significant damage. A house also received structural damage, and a few other houses in the area received minor damage. Debris from the tornadoes was scattered for several hundred yards around the neighborhood. Fortunately, there were no injuries during this event. 

A second round of storms later in the afternoon caused flooding. The first report was received from northern Lorain County at 5 pm. For the second time in about a month, portions of northern Lorain County had flooded. Numerous roads were flooded with up to three feet of water, along with hundreds of homes. Creeks and small streams in the area were already approaching bankfull from rainfall earlier in the afternoon, and the additional heavy rainfall resulted in the rapid rise of water and flash flooding.

The thunderstorms progressed east into western Cuyahoga County. Portions of a parking lot in a shopping mall quickly filled with at least feet of water. This water eventually made its way into the lower levels of the shopping mall causing damage inside. Many other streets quickly became flooded and impassable across western portions of the county. Also, many homes in western Cuyahoga County were also flooded from the intense rainfall. For the day, rainfall amounts ranged from three to almost six inches across northern Lorain and Western Cuyahoga Counties. The damage from the flooding was estimated between three and four million dollars. 

The remainder of August was relatively quiet, and September began in the same fashion/ A cold front swept through the region on the 22nd of September bringing severe winds to some parts of the region. In Perkins Township, Erie County, Ohio, severe winds caused extensive damage to several homes. Numerous trees and power lines were also taken down in the township.

Through the reminder of September and into October the weather across northern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania was rather quiet with only several small weather events. Overall, this past year was a typical severe weather season. There were several events that were widespread across the region, but flash flooding events also played a significant role this past season.


Stark County Skywarn Spotter Statistics
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  (Apr 23, 2005) --  I was pleased to see so many familiar faces again this year at the Skywarn Spotter training meeting at Stark State College. This year I was tasked with handling some of the registration duties when Paul Burke, KB8VAS couldn’t attend. Many thanks to Don, W8DEF and Linda Finley, K8MOO for helping me out with registration. Thanks to their help the process went as smooth as ever.  

We have assembled a list of the registered Skywarn Spotters for Stark County that are Ham Radio Operators.  The complete list currently has 140  licensed radio operators. That comes out to about 30 percent of the total registered spotters in Stark County. According to Cleveland NWS Meteorologist Gary Garnet Stark county is in the top 5 for the 30 county warning area with the largest active amateur participation in the spotter program. This is only possible thanks to the many dedicated members of out Skywarn Spotter program who continuously do a great job.


The 2004 Severe Weather Season in Review

Gary Garnet - KC8TJI, Cleveland Weather Coordinating Meteorologist

For the third year in a row, northern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania experienced an active severe weather season. May was an especially busy month with severe weather and flooding reported on 14 days. Things were fairly quiet from the middle of June through the first half of August. But, heavy rains and devastating flooding returned to the region during the last week of August. The weather pattern remained active in September as the remnants of two tropical storms affected the area. Although the total number of severe thunderstorms was down slightly from the previous two years, the National Weather Service in Cleveland still issued nearly 350 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings for the thirty counties in it’s warning area.

The month of May saw two noteworthy severe weather outbreaks, two tornadoes and a couple days worth of devastating flash flooding. The first big outbreak of the year occurred on May 17 when 24 th severe thunderstorms were reported. The worst of these pounded Stark County with hail as large as baseballs. Significant damage was done to homes, property and crops in the county. Damage estimates from the 30 minute storm topped $25 million.

Heavy rain producing thunderstorms caused significant flash flooding during the early morning hours of May 21 . Summit, Medina and Lorain Counties in Ohio saw some of  the worst flooding. Crawford and Erie Counties in Pennsylvania also sustained significant flood damage during the morning hours. Later in the day, a line of severe thunderstorms raced east across northern Ohio and into northwestern Pennsylvania. Thousands of trees were downed by these storms with some locations without power for several days. More flash flooding occurred during the late evening hours of the 21st and early morning hours of the 22 . This time, Summit, Cuyahoga, Portage and Mahoning Counties bore the brunt of the flooding. Damage in each of these counties was in the millions.

Both tornadoes during the month of May occurred in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. The first occurred on the 20th near Guys Mills. This tornado was rated an F0 and caused only minor damage along a mile long path. A stronger F2 tornado caused significant damage on May 25th .This tornado touched down west of Custards and traveled east for seven miles before lifting just west of Cochranton. Homes and businesses along the track sustained millions of dollars work of damage.

The middle part of June was also quite active with over 50 severe thunderstorms reported on the 13th and 14th . Strong winds and hail were accompanied by locally heavy rains. Significant flash flooding was reported in Richland and Crawford Counties on the 13th and in Stark County late on the 14th. Most of the flooding in Stark County was along Nimishillen Creek with the North Industry and Louisville areas the hardest hit. Damage from this event totaled well over $1 million. A few days later, Holmes County experienced flash flooding after several inches of rain fell in a few hours. Many roads and bridges were washed out with total damages in the county of around $1.5 million.

July and August are normally the most active months of the year for severe weather in the Upper Ohio Valley. This year was the exception with only 15 warnings issued in July and the first half of August. Things picked up a little at the end of August with a significant flash flood event in Stark County on the 28th . Sandy Creek in Minerva rose 15 feet in just a few hours after nine inches of rain fell on the area. Eight people had to be rescued from their homes with many other families forced to evacuate. Around 25 homes and businesses sustained significant damage. 

Wet weather continued in September as the remnants of both Frances and Ivan moved through the region. Frances dumped as much as ten inches of rain on northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania on September 8 and 9 . Catastrophic flooding occurred in several counties with Crawford County, Pennsylvania seeing the worst damage. Over 1,200 homes in that county were damaged by flooding and French Creek in Meadville rose to it’s high non-ice affected level ever. Neighboring counties were also hard hit with damage in the millions reported in Trumbull, Ashtabula, Mahoning and Stark Counties in Ohio and in Erie County, Pennsylvania.

Final 2003 Weather Statistics

The National Weather Service recently released final 2003 injury, fatality and damage statistics for all major weather categories. Fatalities dropped from 540 in 2002 to 423 in 2003, while injuries dropped from 3090 to 2913 in the same time frame. By contrast, property damage more than doubled from $4.26 billion in 2002 to $10.26 billion in 2003. The major killer in 2003 was flooding with 86 deaths, compared to 49 in 2002. Flooding replaced heat as the mostly deadly weather in 2002. The next most deadly weather events were tornadoes, which claimed 54 lives and lightning, which claimed 44. Tornadoes remain the greatest danger for injuries with 1,087 in 2003, up from 968 in 2002. Lightning and thunderstorm winds resulted in 237 and 226 injuries respectively and tropical storms/hurricanes accounted for 233 injuries. 

Property damage in 2003 was most heavily attributed to wildfire ($2.3 billion), flash flooding ($2.1 billion) and tropical storms and hurricanes ($1.88 billion). As in 2002, the most significant crop damage in 2003 was caused by drought, which resulted in 572.5 million in losses.


ARES/SKYWARN Busy During Severe Weather

Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

  (Jun 19, 2004) -- As warm moist air remained over the northeast, daily downpours resulted in localized flooding here in Stark county and Skywarn volunteers have remained both on active and standby service since the severe weather began last Monday afternoon.

The strong weather patterns caused daily activation of our severe weather net on the 147.12 repeater as nearly 2 to 3 inches of rain fell each day on already saturated Stark county.

The weather again caused flooded basements and area roads as flood waters resulted in some area residents to evacuate their homes around Nimishillen Creek. Working with the Canton Red Cross and the Stark County Emergency Preparedness Agency, amateurs assisted with evacuation and cleanup assistance on both Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday amateurs also assisted in Damage Assessment for Red Cross officials.

Our station at the EOC Office was also activated to maintain communications with Director Rick Alatorre. Cooler weather arrived by the end of the week giving both amateurs and area residents time to recoup after a very busy weather week here in Stark County.


Severe Weather Hits Stark County
Terry Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

   (Jul 9, 2003) -- Still dealing with the aftermath of Monday night's storms, Stark County was pounded by another round of violent weather Tuesday evening.

As they had done the previous night, Stark County Skywarn activated our severe weather net in preparation of another volley of nature's worst. Monday's weather hit quickly as the late afternoon's heat & humidity released a torrent of water and high winds that dumped nearly an inch of water and downed numerous tree limbs & power lines in less than one hour.

As the storms approached, Stark County EC Dave Beltz, WD8AYE activated our Skywarn net and operators were dispatched to both Mercy Medical Center and the county Emergency Operations Center. Based on weather spotter reports, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning to prepare residents for heavy rain and strong winds. Thankfully, the storm dumped and dissipated quickly  before it could grow in intensity. Skywarn operations continued for about an hour as amateurs relayed storm damage reports to the NWS office.

District relay traffic had to be rerouted to the backup repeater belonging to the Massillon Amateur Radio Club on 147.18 Mhz as severe weather knocked out the primary system.

Tuesday's weather was nearly a carbon copy of Monday's as another round of severe storms crashed into our community about 6:00 PM. Amateurs again responded staffing both Mercy Hospital and the EOC as other ARES members maintained the skywarn net and monitored the storms movements through the county.

Our own 147.12 ARES repeater suffered some minor damage due to the high winds over the last two days knocking out our main link antenna that is used to monitor critical backbone communications. Both Dave and Terry, N8ATZ quickly responded to the repeater site and were able to temporarily repair the antenna and re - establish the backbone link.

Initial reports indicate nearly 13,000 home and businesses were without power throughout the county as well as numerous downed trees. After an uneventful and quiet beginning of the severe storm season area amateurs responded quickly over the last two days reporting storm conditions and providing important confirmation for the Cleveland NWS forecast office.

Another job well done by Stark County Skywarn Spotters ! 


NWS Paging Notification Comes To An End

  (Mar 23, 2003) --   Effective April 30th, National Weather Service Cleveland will cease issuing severe weather page notifications over the Arch/Pagenet system. Notification is being migrated to the new EMA Online System. This system will only be used for EMA directors, public officials and key skywarn contacts. 

Created back in July 1994, the National Weather Service paging network was originally established to allow weather spotters and anyone else with access to an alpha pager to receive NWS forecasts, watch and warning information. Through an arrangement with then USAMobile (now Arch Paging), and PageNet you could subscribe to a pager network that would inform you of severe weather watches and warnings within a minute or two of issuance. All messages were sent directly from the Cleveland forecast office and were a great way for the weather service to notify area spotters of impending severe weather. The system was also used when the NWS needed specific weather information from a given area. This was an excellent system during its day, as multifunctional cellular telephones were not widely available and rental of the pagers was very inexpensive.

The system gained in popularity and during its peak there were over 5,000 in operation. This popularity however soon began to overtax both the paging system and Cleveland NWS. Paging systems were separated into groups in hopes of relieving the burden of the Cleveland NWS staff who had to type messages into a computer terminal and then decide where to direct the group pages. Eventually the system became unreliable as pages got misdirected or didn't get sent out at all.

By 2002 the paging system became to difficult to maintain and reliability was very poor. It was evident that a new system was needed, one that could make use of the new cellular technology becoming popular and cost effective. New style cellular telephones incorporated multiuse displays that could now receive text messages, ideal for severe weather alerts. Since last year Weather Coordinating Meteorologist Gary Garnet of the Cleveland NWS has been working with a new EMA Online System that will soon replace the outdated pager alert system. Onre major change of the new system however is that severe weather notification will be very limited, only to EMA directors, public officials and selected key Skywarn contacts.

Here in Stark County there were over 100 active pagers users who received the advanced weather pages. As our county Emergency Coordinator, David Beltz - WD8AYE will most likely be included in the new cellular program as will Skywarn Liaison Paul Burke - KB8VAS. But what about the rest of us ? I will probably keep my old Arch pager for personal use. How will we spread the word of an advance severe weather situation ? Right now we are uncertain, probably by our existing 2 meter net notification system which will work only if you are listening at the time. What about our own local pager notification system ? This could be a possibility but managing such a system would be difficult without a full time person. Not very practical for an all volunteer program. There is always the possibility that no one would be available to distribute a weather message when it was needed. This will no doubt be a work in progress during the 2003 severe weather season but we are certainly open to all ideas.

There are currently some other "on-line" alternatives such as the Emergency Email Network and Weather .Com. Gary Garnet has completed a list of other commercial sites that could be used to receive severe weather warnings. Some of sites are listed below.

The Weather Channel  (Free Service)
http://www.weather.com/services/alerts.html?form=serviceindex

Emergency Email and Wireless Network  (Free Service)
http://www.emergencye.com

Weather Freebies  (Free Service)
http://www.bwca.cc/weather/warnme.htm

StormNow
http://www.stormnow.com

Weather Pager
http://www.accuweather.com/wx/weatherpager/index.html

Safety Net
http://www.baronservices.com/Products/SAF-T-Net/saf-t-net.html


Mother Nature Again Rips Through Stark Co.


   (Nov 11, 2002)  -- Unseasonably high temperatures Sunday in the 80's, followed by a cold front, made conditions ripe for severe weather quoted NWS officials. The storms cut a 100 - mile swath through northwest Ohio farmland, doing serious damage to the town of VanWert, Ohio. Governor Bob Taft  declared a state of emergency Sunday night in VanWert and Ottawa counties, but the storms caused numerous damage across the state. Emergency crews relied on ham radio operators for communications since phone lines were knocked out by the storm.

Stark county was not spared as very severe thunderstorms ripped through the area leaving in her wake uprooted trees, downed power lines, damaged homes and minor street flooding. Members of Stark County ARES were prepared however as advance warning came down from Cleveland NWS through the Amateur Backbone System of potential severe weather at about 10:00 AM Sunday morning.

 By 5:00 PM, a tornado warning was issued for Ashland county followed by a warning for Wayne county at 6:00 PM. Stark ARES coordinators immediately activated the Emergency Operations Center as a formal severe weather net was organized on the 147.12 repeater. ARES members from both Canton & Massillon were dispatched to area hospitals and the Massillon RED Center.

By 6:30 PM, the tornado warning was issued for Stark County as the storm whipped through our area. The storm belted the Massillon area, causing scattered damage throughout the city and into Perry Township. NWS officials on Tuesday declared Sunday's damage the result of an F-1 Tornado, classified as a funnel spinning at speeds of 73 to 112 mph. By comparison, the tornado that struck Jackson Township last April was classified an F-2. The deadly tornado in VanWert on Sunday was labeled an F-4. 

Throughout the storms passing severe storm spotters kept a close eye on weather conditions, passing information via the 147.12 weather net to Cleveland NWS.

Wide spread power outages and intentional interference also caused communications disruptions and operations had to be moved to the Massillon 147.18 repeater, which  has a well designed battery backup system. As heavy rains and winds continued over the evening, the tornado warning was extended two additional hours finally ending at 8:45 PM. 

Storm damage reports were numerous and all were noted and routed to Cleveland NWS. 

A special thanks to all area ARES members for their efforts during this very serious weather emergency.

Dave Beltz - WD8AYE, Stark Co ARES Emergency Coordinator.


Severe Weather Again Pelts Stark County

    (Aug 23, 2002) -- Stark County ARES once again activated Thursday, August 22, as severe thunderstorms passed through the area. Area Skywarn coordinators had been watching the storm build during the early afternoon and were ready to react when the weather front entered Stark County about 5 PM. With Coordinators pagers going off at ten minute intervals continuously adding counties to the severe thunderstorm warning area, Emergency Coordinator David Beltz - WD8AYE activated the Skywarn Net as Cleveland weather indicated potentially serious radar echo's headed our way.

Using normal severe weather protocol, amateurs activated the station at the county Emergency Operations Center and amateurs were sent to both Mercy Medical Center and Massillon Community Hospital as both went into severe storm status. The first warning came in at 5:50 PM and before the event was over, fourteen weather warnings would be issued in the CWA, two of which would be Tornado Warnings for Stark County. Area spotters kept a close vigil as numerous funnel clouds were spotted passing overhead. Thankfully none spawned any tornados although some areas experienced downed power lines, heavy rain and strong winds. Amateurs did not report any serious damage however as a result of the storms. 

Amateur Radio did prove to be a valuable community resource during the peak of the storm as Perry Heights Police officer and ARES member Tim France - WB8HHP on duty during an event at Central Catholic High School and monitoring the weather traffic via the 147.12 repeater quickly warned school officials to clear the field as severe lightning passed over the field. 

Finally by 8:30 PM the bulk of the storms had passed through the area and Cleveland NWS signaled the all-clear. Well done Skywarn Spotters and another outstanding effort by your Stark County Amateur Radio Emergency Service.


June Severe Weather Keeps ARES Active

 (June 6, 2002)  -- In typical June fashion Mother Nature released severe weather during the late afternoon of both June 4th & 5th as slowly building weather patterns produced strong thunderstorms that caused numerous power outages, toppled many trees and caused minor damage to about a dozen homes here in Stark County. Although nothing like the storms that produced the  devastating tornado of April 28th, this outbreak did generate reports of dime to quarter size hail and wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour.

Realizing the serious potential that could be generated by this series of storms, Stark County ARES was activated by early afternoon on both days by EC Dave Beltz - WD8AYE. With the Skywarn Net in full swing, area spotters began tracking the intensity of the storm through our six meter link to Cleveland NWS. Area spotters, thanks to ample warning, were set and in position as the worst of the storm passed through the county. Operators had been dispatched to all three area hospitals, providing real time reports of the storms movement. Operators were also sent to the County Emergency Operations Center so that the 911 center and EMA Director Ed Cox were kept informed of the weather. The Massillon Regional Emergency Dispatch Center was also staffed by an amateur, in case a communications failure would again occur as had happened on April 28th.

In usual top notch fashion, our skywarn spotters provided continuous weather situation reports that were filtered and passed on through the District Net to Cleveland NWS. Operations jumped to a higher state when a tornado warning was issued for Stark County at 3:35 PM. Fortunately, conditions did not spawn anything serious and the warning was cancelled at 4:15 PM. Operations continued on until a complete stand down was issued at about 6:30 PM.

A special thanks to all the Stark County ARES volunteers and our Skywarn Spotters for another job well done in what has proven to be a very active severe weather season here in Northeast Ohio. 


 Stark Co ARES Activate During Tornado Touchdown

  (May 6, 2002)  --  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 area amateurs.

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 (ERV’s) 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.

Additional details will be available soon as well as several pictures taken during the event.

     


Click on the graphic below to check out a great index of Skywarn websites across the United States, courtesy of Todd L. Sherman - KB4MHH


 

 


SOME INTERESTING TORNADO INFORMATION

Tornado chase teams, including those from government labs and universities, often drive thousands of miles each spring to get measurements up close and personal from tornados. But in the May 1999 super-outbreak in Oklahoma, the storms came to them, passing just to the north of the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, OK. And the payoff was big - two portable Doppler radars were positioned as close as one mile from a massive F5 tornado. The winds recorded, 318 mph (at a few dozen meters above the ground), are the strongest ever recorded on earth.

The extreme tornado outbreak in Oklahoma in May 1999, resulted in 46 deaths, 12,500 damaged buildings, and almost $ 1.5 billion in property losses (the most expensive ever). One monster funnel, reaching F5 intensity, stayed on the ground for nearly four hours. In addition to wiping out thousands of homes, it played the usual tornado pranks. One girl found her ballet slipper driven into the sidewall of a truck tire. Another survivor found a poor cow impaled on a telephone pole "like a giant shish kabob."

What is the safest place in a home during a tornado ? As a general rule, the lowest, most centrally located and best supported room is best. An interior bathroom, with the reinforcement provided by the plumbing, is a good bet. A space under stairs in the basement is another option. No basement ? Many new homes are now being built with "tornado safe rooms." These are designed to withstand the strongest of twisters. Buyers may need to ask builders to add this feature, at an additional cost of $ 2,000 - $ 3,000. Still, peace of mind may make it worth every penny.  

 Where does the name "Tornado" come from ? First the proper definition - A tornado is a violently rotating column of air associated with a thunderstorm that is in contact with the ground. Now the origins of the name. It may have originated with the word "tornare" (to turn, in Latin) or may have been corrupted from the Spanish "tronada" meaning thunderstorm.

How are tornadoes classified ? The Fujita tornado scale, based upon the amount of damage to structures, estimates the likely wind speed ranges.

 

CLASSIFICATION DAMAGE    WIND SPEED
F - 0 Light Damage 40 - 72 mph
F - 1 Moderate Damage 73 - 112 mph
F - 2 Considerable Damage 113 - 157 mph
F - 3 Severe Damage 158 - 206 mph
F - 4 Devastating Damage 207 - 260 mph
F - 5 Incredible Damage 261 - 318 mph

 

Fortunately, F-5 tornadoes only occur a few times each year. One of the May 3, 1999, Oklahoma City tornadoes, with 318 mph peak gusts measured by radar, came very close to reaching F-6, which Fujita believed to be impossible !

 

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.

In the 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.

Together, 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!

The above story is courtesy of September 2001 "BUGBYTES" from WeatherBug.com !

 


NOAA Weather Radio - The Voice of the National Weather Service

   (Mar 17, 2003) -- NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office. NWS broadcasts National Weather Service warnings, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day. 

NWR is also an "all Hazards" radio network, available to national, state, and local emergency managers for use in disseminating information on non-weather hazardous conditions and events. It is also the primary trigger for the FCC's Emergency Alert System, making it the single, most comprehensive weather and emergency information source available to the public. It will also play a prominent role in Homeland Security as the early warning alert system for the nation.

NOAA Weather Radio receivers are available at most consumer electronics stores for as little as $25.00 and up. Newer weather radio's incorporate a new system called "SAME". Specific Area Messaging Encoding allows listeners to pre-select the specific geographic area (counties or portions of counties), where they want to receive NWS alerts. This feature prevents the NOAA weather radio receiver from automatically turning on when the forecast office issues watches or warnings for areas that don't impact your area.

As we prepare for the 2003 severe weather season, consider getting a weather radio for you're home or a relative. NOAA weather radio's advise people about severe weather situations, buying them valuable extra time to react before a dangerous situation strikes their area. Information broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio is often initiated thanks to Amateur Radio severe storm spotters making visual confirmation of impending severe weather situations. This information is in turn broadcast to the general public via weather radio.  On countless occasions NOAA Weather Radio has saved many lives and public safety experts agree that receivers should be standard equipment in every home and public place (including hospitals, schools, places of worship, nursing homes, restaurants, grocery stores, recreation centers, office buildings, sports facilities, theaters, retail stores, bus and train stations, airports, marinas and other public-gathering places).

The NWS is constantly updating its systems with improved radar, satellites, automated weather observing systems, supercomputers and telecommunications capabilities aimed at saving lives and preserving property. Likewise, the NOAA Weather Radio Network is expanding its coverage by installing new stations in unserved areas. However, countless success stories, expert advise, state-of-the-art forecasting technology and widely available warnings and forecasts are of little value if the people who need NOAA Weather Radio information don't get it in a timely manner. Unfortunately, NOAA Weather Radio remains one of the best kept secrets in the United States. While about 84 to 89 percent of Americans are within range to receive NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts, estimates suggest that only a small percentage of Americans have a NOAA Weather Radio. NOAA Weather Radios advise people about severe weather (and other emergency) situations, buying them valuable extra time to react before a dangerous situation strikes their area. All it takes is for you and your community to purchase a NOAA Weather Radio and you, too, can benefit from this important life-saving service.

Click on the links below for additional information.

The story of NOAA National Weather Radio.  

Download the NOAA Weather Radio Brochure in pdf format.


NOAA Weather Alert Comes to Ham Radio

 

     (Mar 9, 2003) -- As the big three Ham Radio manufacturers continue to crank out new models on what seems like a monthly basis, at least one has finally come up with an idea that should appeal to those amateurs involved with severe weather spotting.

ICOM's two recent additions to the amateur market come standard with a neat feature called Weather Alert Scan. With this feature enabled the radio continuously scans all the National Weather Radio frequencies. In the event of severe weather, the receiver automatically acts like a weather radio. No matter what frequency the rig is set to, the weather alert tone activates and switches to NOAA Weather Radio. The radio remains in this mode until you manually press a front panel button that puts the radio back in scan mode ready for the next alert. Currently available on both the ICOM IC-V8000 single band and the new IC-2720H dual band models, I expect the other manufacturers to chime in soon.

Amateur VHF & UHF transceivers have been equipped with extended receive capability for many years now that have permitted reception of both commercial & weather radio bands but never with a self activating alert feature.

I spend a large part of the work day in my car and have owned the IC-V8000 single band radio since last summer and this feature works great. All amateurs, not just those involved in the Skywarn Spotter program can benefit from this nice feature. Manufacturers have been producing radios for years now adding features that didn't always generate a lot of interest in the amateur market. With this new weather alert feature from ICOM, they have finally scored a home run !

 

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