Hi everyone & welcome to your July ALERT Newsletter.
July will be a transition month for ALERT as we welcome our new President Russell Thomas as he
assumes the reigns of leadership (and the Presidential Slush Fund – Teresa and I enjoyed our trip
to Sydney, by the way).
One thing that will be continuing is our newsletter. I’ll be continuing on as Editor In Chief or Minister of Propaganda & the format will remain as it has been. Missspellled words and sorry grammar included.
I encourage you to submit items for the newsletter. It’s YOUR newsletter not mine & I welcome your participation. Sometimes the brain lubricant and creative juices run low, so do be sure to help me out, now and then.
Our next meeting will be July 12 and dues are due!
To respond to ALERT callouts and have access to the NWSChat system you must be an Operational ALERT member. To remain an Operational ALERT Member you must be a paid up member. If you are not paid up you can’t participate.
To put it bluntly, No Pay, No Play….;-) So make sure to renew your membership at the July meeting!
Dues for Operational and Supporting Members are $20 per person and $10 for each additional family member. Membership for students and senior citizens over 65 is $10.
Some members have been known to pay for two years. If you choose this method, make sure to let us know, so we can keep track as the year changes.
Lifetime memberships are also available for $450 after five years consecutive membership.
Oh, did I mention we are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization?
Save money, join ALERT.
Hey Doreen, you recon there’s a cyclone in that thar cloud?
Ways To Receive Severe Weather Information
We all live busy lives with our time and attention necessarily divided as we become absorbed by the duties and challenges of everyday life. Emergency situations keep their own unpredictable schedules, not respectful of ours and can easily catch us unawares.
We need to make sure that we have information sources available which will catch our attention and keep us informed.
Before I go into detail as to some methods available, I strongly caution that you NEVER rely on any one source for you emergency information. Systems and methods are subject to failure & if you put all of your eggs into one basket, you could easily miss that one piece of information that could have a changed a tragedy into a simple inconvenience.
What are some good methods?
NOAA weather radio is a good starting point. This tool provides warnings by county or counties, will trigger an alarm and then give pertinent information & guidelines.
We always think of them as being weather radios. They are much more than that & are now marketed as “all hazards radios”.
In addition to the weather, they can be used for information on natural disasters, technological disasters such as chemical releases, oil spills, nuclear power plant emergencies, and national emergencies such as, terrorist attacks & nuclear attacks. Civil Emergency messages can be sent giving official information and instructions.
The little mechanical dude you hear speaking is named “Tom”. Some offices also use “Donna” & “Javier”. You may remember “Paul”. He was the voice that some say sounded like Arnold Swartzenegger on a drunk”.
Drifting off subject a little, as I am sometimes fond of doing, do you know the claim to fame of Jane Barbe of Atlanta?
You’ve heard her a thousand times & moaned. She’s the voice saying “I’m sorry; the number you have reached is not in service at this time…” She’s also the female voice on time station WWVH in Hawaii. WWV in Colorado uses Lee Rodgers of KSFO in San Francisco. To make the recordings, they said phrases and words over and over and then they were filtered and processed into the messages you now hear.
Getting back to the matter at hand, make sure to get a radio with SAME – Specific Area Message Encoding, that way you can limit the coverage to the county you want, otherwise it will sound off with every county warning, and at 3 AM you will want to throw it out the window.
If you want to listen to the weather radio as you read this, just go to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/nwsexit.pl?url=http://audioplayer.wunderground.com/bullet8176/Jasper.mp3.m3u
Another pretty good warning source is text messages sent to your cell phone. I use Fox 6’s service. It, with occasional exceptions, is timely. It’s at my favorite price. It’s free! To sign up go to http://www.myfoxal.com/link/397371/weather-alerts .
This of course brings us to TV stations. Birmingham is blessed with some of the best TV meteorologists in the business. James Spann, Jerry Tracey, David Neal, Mark Prater & their compadres will stack up to anyone in the business. That hairy beast named Peters is pretty good too…
It’s a love hate relationship. Just as the guy you are watching on TV is about to read the DNA results they interrupt the program for a warning for Etowah County and you cuss a blue streak. Then when they interrupt General Hospital for a storm heading for you, they are heroes. Meanwhile the folk in Etowah are now cussing them for ruining their day. They can’t win.
TV is one of the best ways to stay informed. Portable battery operated TVs are reappearing on the market now and are a good investment. The HDTV system now used isn’t as good as the old analog one for our purposes, but it’s the law of the land.
With the HDTV system, either you have a signal or you have no signal at all – even if you are looking at the tower. With the old analog system may have had the crappiest of video, a blizzard of snowy ghosts, but, usually you still had acceptable audio that you could use.
A good battery powered AM/FM radio is a godsend. Some like having short-wave capability. For regional disasters this may be good. But, for local emergencies, don’t count on it being covered on Radio Australia’s news. Also, beware of radios featuring TV sound. They probably are referring to the old analog system, which no longer is used.
One final tidbit to chew on is this. If you go camping or fishing, carry an AM radio with you. Tune it to 530 kHz and during the day occasionally listen for static crashes. If there are none, fine. If they do start appearing, listen carefully. If they are continuous and of the same volume, they are probably from a line of storms. If they have a random pattern & vary in volume, they are scattered cellular storms.
At any rate, you know there is danger in the air and you need to start heading home.
Originally called “Quintilis”, the fifth Roman month, Quintilis was renamed “July” in 44 BC in honor of Julius Caesar.
While July is the Southern Hemisphere’s “January”, for us it is summer and it’s HOT.
July is miserably hot, as land temperatures reach their peaks in late July through early August – the Dog Days of Summer. The last week of July is usually the hottest week of the year. Tropical conditions are dominant, with conditions similar to that of the Amazon Valley.
This is the time to test the “Brown Grass Theory”. According to the theory, if the grass remains green the temperature will probably not reach 100, but, if the grass turns brown, get set for triple digits. This is a local Birmingham rule, which the Old Timers at the Birmingham NWS have used for years.
Tornado activity drops sharply, with a 47% decrease nationwide. July has an average of 103 tornadoes.
Hurricane activity increases, but major hurricanes are not yet frequent. By months end, one hurricane will have occurred. Seven percent of a year’s hurricane total occurs in July.
Long track hurricanes are possible, forming off the African coast and crossing the Atlantic, either to threaten the US East Coast, then eventually veering off towards Bermuda. Or in the case of “Low Latitude” storms, cross the Atlantic, strike the Leeward Islands, enter the Caribbean and then striking the Yucatan, or the Western or Northern Gulf coast.
July’s Full Moon is “Buck Moon” in Native American folklore.
Current Conditions at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station Antarctica at 7PM 6/30/11
Wind: North-northeast at 16MPH
Visibility: 1 mile
Sky Conditions: Scattered clouds 1200 feet, broken clouds 7000 feet
Weather: Ice crystals, blowing snow & mist
Wind Chill: -121F
Pressure: 28.33 Inches
This month’s meeting will be on July 12 at 7PM at the National Weather Service
Forecast office at the Shelby County Airport.
I hope to see you there.
Mark / WD4NYL