ALERT Newsletter June 2009 Vol 2 No 12
Saturday we were treated to a feast courtesy of our Boss, Meteorologist in Charge, Jim Steckovich. We had fried fish, hush puppies, potato salad, cole slaw, and cookies. It was goooooooood.
We at ALERT want to say “thanks” to Jim for doing this for us & for the support that you and the NWS staff have given us through the years. You truly make us “feel at home”, and we are glad to be a part of your team.
And, for those of you who missed the event.
I ate your fish….did I mention it was gooooooooood?
“That crashing sound you just heard was a tree being blown through the window” – Radio Station WWL New Orleans – Hurricane Camille 1969
“…it was like a bomb set off. It blew everything away” – Danny Williams – Gulf Shores –
Hurricane Frederick 1979
“It is night & the rain is very light, not severe at all. But, that wind. That strong howling incessant wind & those strange lights I am seeing. Green flashes continually lighting the horizon in every direction – the power grid, poles and all are being torn up by the winds.” – WD4NYL – Jefferson County – Hurricane Opal 1995
“I have a report that the I-10 Bridge in Pensacola is down, in the water” – K4NWS – Hurricane Ivan 2004
“I’ve just received a report that Foley Alabama no longer exists” – K4NWS – Hurricane Katrina 2005
It is often said that Alabama has to distinct severe weather seasons, spring and fall. I tend to think of us as having three. The Spring & Fall Tornado season & the prolonged Hurricane Season, which began Monday.
Alabama is impacted by hurricanes in three ways:
- Direct Impact – Where the core of the storm or the rain / wind field actually strikes or passes through a portion of Alabama. Examples being Hurricane’s Fredrick, Opal, Ivan or Katrina.
- Indirect Impact – where the core is not over Alabama, but the feeder bands are passing through and causing havoc. Rita’s feeder band being a good example, which dropped tornadoes over west Alabama in a 24 hour period. The second largest one day tornado outbreak on record in Alabama.
- Distant Impact – A storm is not even near Alabama, but affecting our weather. Such as with Olivia, a Eastern Pacific Hurricane which was off Western Mexico. Her moisture was captured by the jet stream, crossed the Sonora desert, the Arklatex region & dumped monsoon type rains on Alabama & Mississippi, causing major flooding.
ALERT typically will activate during scenarios 1 & 2. With hurricane-induced callouts, the callout may be for an extended period of time, either due to the immediate situation or the effects of the aftermath. With Ivan, for instance, the NWS told us to come with a packed bag, as we might get trapped at the NWS by falling trees.
Most of ALERT’s activity when the storm is near the coast is on HF at 3.965, the backup 40 meter frequency of 7.225, and, on D-Star. Then as the storm moves northward into the BMX County Warning Area the focus shifts to the individual county Skywarn Nets.
Some Internet resources you should have in your repertoire include:
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ – The National Hurricane Center out of Coral Gables, FL
http://www.hurricane.alabama.gov/ – The Alabama Hurricane Center has loads of links for
when a storm visits our humble abode
http://euler.atmos.colostate.edu/~vigh/guidance/ Hurricane Forecast Models
http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/tc_pages/tc_home.html Satellite imagery and data – worldwide
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/trop-atl.html Storm centered satellite imagery
Many other resources, including coastal radar picket, Caribbean & Mexican radar,
charts and satellite imagery can be found at www.freewebs.com/weatherlynx/ and
clicking on “Tropics, Charts & Satellites”.
RF resources include:
Wide Coverage Nets
14.235 MHz Hurricane Watch Net Only activated when a storm is within 300 miles
of a populated land mass.
3.935 MHz Central Gulf Coast Hurricane Net 1:00 UTC
State ARES Frequencies & Nets for Gulf of Mexico & regular meeting times.
3.965 MHz Alabama Emergency Net Mike 4:00 PM Sunday
3.940 MHz Florida Amateur Single Sideband Net 6:00 PM
3.975 MHz Georgia Single Sideband Net 7:30 PM
3.910 MHz Louisiana Traffic Net 6:30 PM
3.862 MHz Mississippi Section Phone Net 6:00 PM
3.873 MHz Texas Traffic Net 6:30 PM
Keep these handy & keep an eye towards the sea.
Oh, here’s a trivia question for you. What is the most powerful type of storm?
A Tornado or Hurricane?
Neither, actually. The most powerful type of storms are the swirling low-pressure systems that bring
our severe weather each fall and spring. They contain 10 times the potential energy of the strongest hurricane or typhoon. The energy is spread over a larger area, so the effects are much less pronounced.
Originally the fourth Roman Month, June the sixth month has the longest days of the year.
What June was named for is uncertain. Some say it was named for Juno, wife & sister of Jupiter.
Theory has it that this is also the reason why June has so many marriages. Juno was the goddess
of marriage and a married couple’s household, so it was considered good luck to be married in the month of June.
Hurricane season begins, however June hurricanes are usually small and of minor intensity, occurring roughly once every two years.
The centers for June Tropical Cyclone activity are the extreme Western Caribbean, with the storm tracks striking the Yucatan or veering toward Western Florida & the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico, with the storm tracks aiming toward the Mexican mainland.
Storm activity retains many of the characteristics of spring, but more and more the pattern takes on the summer pattern of pop-up thunderstorms.
The center of maximum tornadic activity shifts northward over Kansas and Iowa. Activity in Texas and Oklahoma dies down. There is a 5% decrease in tornadic activity over the May average & by June fourth 50% of the years tornadoes have occurred.
Storm Prediction Center statistics show that as of June 2 the top five states for tornadoes in 2009 are:
- Alabama – 98 tornadoes
- Texas – 69 tornadoes
- Georgia – 63 tornadoes
- Missouri – 50 tornadoes
- Kansas – 43 tornadoes
Nationwide there have been 672 tornadoes so far this year.
Summer Solstice will occur at 5:45 UTC on June 21.
June’s Full Moon is “Strawberry Moon” in Native American folklore. In Europe is was called ”Rose Moon” as roses bloom throughout June.
This month’s meeting will be on June 9 at 7PM at the National Weather Service Forecast office at the Shelby County Airport.
There will be a Board of Directors meeting immediately following the regular meeting.
Hope to see you there!
Mark / WD4NYL