ALERT has been activated for today’s Tornado potential.
ALERT has been activated into the evening.
The next ALERT meeting will be at the NWS at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, August 12th, 2008.
If you are not able to make the meeting on Tuesday, we will try to setup teleconferencing.
Please call: 1-877-951-0997 and enter participants code 741083.
NWS requests ALERT activation from now into this evening.
The AugustÂ Callout/Mailing list test went out today.
ALERT NEWSLETTER â€“ August 2008 Vol. 2 No. 2
Hi everyone & welcome to your ALERT Newsletter.
I hope you are not melting in this August heat. This time of year is why the Lord created ice-cold watermelons & vanilla ice cream.
I remember the story of one August when my Mom cooked a BIG pot of vegetable soup & my Dad was eating it & melting from the heat & he said â€œif you ever make soup again in August Iâ€™ll kill youâ€. He didnâ€™t kill her, but he did put a killing on that pot of soup.
This August seems to be being blessed with many summer thunderstorms, but our â€œprime timeâ€ for severe weather is still a few months away.
This season is the perfect time to review our systems and plans and work out any bugs that appear.
One thing we should make sure of is that we have several ways to reach the NWS & not rely on any one method. For â€œthings happenâ€ and we must always be prepared to switch to Plan B or C.
How do I reach the NWS?
The three primary ways to reach the NWS in my personal pecking order are:
1. The NWS Emergency Number 1-800-856-0758
2. Ham Radio
3. Chat rooms
The 1 800 number I pick first due to reliability. Computers can & will go down killing chat rooms. Winds can blow antennae down & batteries may forget to remind their owners to charge them until the â€œuh ohâ€ time comes. But, phone lines generally will be there, and as I say, they are reliable.
Plus I know that the calls are monitored on speakerphone â€œreal timeâ€ as they come in. The room goes silent, as everyone listens in and the call gets serious attention. And, they will call you back if they need more information. Theyâ€™ve called me back before.
Ham Radio I list as a close second for several reasons.
You might be out of repeater range. You may not have a radio with you. A weather net may not be active yet.
And, sometimes it depends on who the Net Control Station is. A seasoned veteran NCS, I wonâ€™t hesitate giving reports to.
A rookie sometimes wonâ€™t pass your report to the NWS, since they may not understand the meaning or significance of your report and then you have to bypass the ham method and use the 1 800 number instead. Sometimes over filtering of reports occurs & sometimes they may simply not know what to do with a report if K4NWS is not on frequency & are unaware of the 1 800 number method.
Also, if Iâ€™m in a strange city & have a report Iâ€™ll use the 1 800 number, simply because the local NCS doesnâ€™t know me from Adamâ€™s housecat & doesnâ€™t know if Iâ€™m a nitwit or not.
Of course him not knowing that Iâ€™m a nitwit might be of some advantage…
Make no mistake though; Iâ€™m a solid believer in ham radio nets. They are what drew me into ham radio â€œway back whenâ€ & is what has kept me interested through the years.
The Skywarn Nets have been the backbone of storm spotting since long before I came around & still are. And, you would be surprised at the number of non-hams that tune in to our nets on scanners for information. For just as it was when I discovered them, you can still get more information & more of â€œa feelâ€ of what is going on on a ham net, than anywhere else Iâ€™ve found.
Now, last but not least, the chat rooms.
I like them & hope they will succeed in a big way.
For a Net Control Station point of view they are a dream come true. You get sometimes warnings three minutes before the weather radio sounds. Thatâ€™s warning time gained & that time gained means more lives saved.
Incoming reports are very precise (accurate). While voice reports via radio can be garbled or misunderstood, reports via chat rooms cannot.
The only drawbacks right now are technical & the need for participants. And, itâ€™s fragile technology, with the bugs still being worked out.
All of this is new. And with any new technology, there will be bumps in the road. I wouldnâ€™t give up on them. But, donâ€™t count on them or any of the preceding methods
of communications working either.
That may sound pessimistic, but it is for this reason everyone should have more than one way to reach the NWS.
Remember that if you plan ahead on what to do when a problem pops up, then when the problem does arise, it ceases to be a problem, and just becomes another part of the plan.
And, thatâ€™s true in all arenas of life.
August was originally named â€œSextilisâ€, the sixth Roman month. It was renamed August in honor of Caesar Augustus & was lengthened to 31 days, to equal Julius Caesars month of July.
August is hot and humid & summer temperatures remain at or near their summer peak.
In August the choir of cicadas whine in the afternoon & towards the end of the month the big Yellow Sulphur Butterflies will begin heading to the South-Southeast, giving hints of their soon upcoming fall migration & cats will begin to hint of growing their winter coats.
The rapid vegetation growth of spring is over, and, since conditions are now perfect for the growth of mold, fungi & germs, plants have a â€œusedâ€ look, which is enhanced if rainfall is scarce.
Hurricane activity continues to increase in frequency and intensity, as do Typhoons in the Far East. August and September being the peak of Typhoon season. August is the peak month for Eastern Pacific Hurricanes
Hurricane breeding grounds in August are the Atlantic, with Low Latitude storms forming off of Africa crossing the Ocean and either threatening the Eastern Seaboard or striking the Leeward Islands, entering the Caribbean and then striking the Yucatan, or the Western or Northern Gulf coast. Breeding grounds also include the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
21% of a yearâ€™s Hurricanes occur in August. 85 to 95% of land falling Hurricanes have not occurred by August 15.
The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks on August 12, with 50 to 60 meteors per hour (if you can get away from city lights).
Augustâ€™s full moon is â€œPink Moonâ€ in Native American Folklore.
Remember our local nets:
BARC Sunday Night Net Sunday at 7PM 146.880
The 440 Frontier Net Monday at 7PM 444.425 plus or minus input & PL 131.8
Shelby County SCARES Net Tuesday at 8:00 PM 146.980
The D-Star Net Tuesday at 8:30 PM 145.410
Jefferson County Emergency Net Tuesday at 9:00 PM 146.880
This monthâ€™s meeting will be on August 12 at 7PM at the National Weather Service
Forecast office at the Shelby County Airport.
I hope to see you there.
Mark / WD4NYL
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