Blizzard Coordination Message #4 – 1/12/11 Event

Hello to all…

..Dangerous Major Severe Winter Storm/Blizzard to pound Southern New England with Heavy Snowfall and the potential for strong to damaging winds and blizzard to near blizzard conditions for the region..
..A Blizzard Warning is now in effect from 2 AM to 8 PM Wednesday for Eastern Essex, Southeast Middlesex, Suffolk, Eastern Norfolk, Southern Plymouth, Barnstable and Dukes Counties of Massachusetts for blizzard conditions and 12-16″ of snow with isolated higher amounts except for Eastern Barnstable and Dukes Counties where 4-8″ of snow will occur with isolated higher amounts. Sustained winds of 20-30 MPH with gusts up to 45-55 MPH are possible except for Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard where sustained winds of 30-40 MPH with gusts to 65 MPH are possible. The winds and heavy snow will cause blizzard conditions for the region and the potential for pockets of tree and wire damage in this region..
..A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from Midnight tonight through 8 PM Wednesday for Southern Bristol County Massachusetts, Newport County Rhode Island and Block Island Rhode Island for 8-12″ of snow with isolated higher amounts. Winds of 10-20 MPH with gusts to 35 MPH are expected in this area with the potential near blizzard conditions at times. The winds and heavy snow will cause blizzard conditions for the region and the potential for pockets of tree and wire damage in this region..
..A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from Midnight to 8 PM Wednesday for the remainder of the NWS Taunton County Warning Area except for Nantucket Island for 12-16″ of snow with isolated higher amounts with the potential for near blizzard conditions at times. Winds of 10-20 MPH with gusts to 35 MPH are expected in this area..
..A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Nantucket Island from 2 AM to 10 PM Wednesday for 2-4″ of snow before the changeover to rain. A High Wind Warning is also in effect for
Nantucket Island from 2 AM to 7 PM Wednesday for sustained winds of 30-40 MPH with gusts to 65 MPH. This area could see pockets of tree and wire damage due to the strong winds..
..Coastal flooding is not expected due to low astronomical high tides, however, some minor splashover on the most vulnerable shore roads and beach erosion are possible on north and east facing coastal areas of Eastern Massachusetts..
..SKYWARN Activation with Ops at NWS Taunton will commence at 3 AM Wednesday..
..ARES/RACES groups should closely monitor the progress of this system. Winds are still expected to be less than the previous 12/26-12/27/10 major nor’easter/blizzard but with near blizzard to blizzard conditions now more likely in portions of the NWS Taunton County Warning Area, ARES/RACES groups should seek advice from local/regional ARES/RACES leadership. Eastern Massachusetts ARES will be placed on stand-by for Wednesday into early Thursday Morning for this major nor’easter blizzard event..
..Massachusetts State EOC and Massachusetts Emergency Management Regional offices will be in a partial activation mode for this major storm..

Model solutions are in very strong agreement on a powerful major nor’easter with near blizzard to blizzard conditions now becoming more likely over portions of the NWS Taunton County Warning area. The headlines of this coordination message cover the pertinent impacts to the region from this system. The storm impact in terms of wind will be less over areas hard hit by the 12/26-/12/27/10 event but it will be a contributing factor to severe winter/near blizzard to blizzard conditions for the region. The snow rates and accumulation will rival the 12/26-12/27/10 blizzard in Eastern New England and should exceed that event in Central and Western New England.

In an attempt to increase participation further, SKYWARN Coordinators from the region are working on call-up planning on local SKYWARN area repeaters. This will allow Amateur Radio SKYWARN Spotters to plan snow removal activities and other personal items around gathering data for the SKYWARN Nets. It is noted that the schedule for these nets could change on the fly depending on how the storm situation evolves. Here is some of the information gathered to date from area SKYWARN Coordinators:

Hartford-Tolland County SKYWARN Net – 146.790 PL: 82.5 information provided by Roger Jeanfaiver-K1PAI, Hartford-Tolland County SKYWARN Coordinator:
Call-up Nets planned at 530 AM 730 AM, 930 AM, 1130 AM and will be evaluated in the afternoon pending storm developments

Windham County CT SKYWARN Net – 147.225-Killingly CT Repeater PL: 156.7 Hz information provided by Bernie Dubb-KB1DGY, Windham County SKYWARN Coordinator:
Windham County Skywarn will be conducting nets tomorrow (Wed 1/12) at 9:00 A.M., 11:00 A.M., 1 P.M., 3 P.M., 5 P.M. and immediately after the ARES 4N net at 8:00 P.M. on 147.225 / PL 156.7. This schedule may be adjusted as indicated.

Rhode Island SKYWARN Net – 146.700-Cranston, RI Repeater (The 146.760-Scituate RI repeater is having issues currently) from N1JMA-Martin Mendelson, K1OCD-Adam Hobgood and KB1G-Bill Boyes, RI SKYWARN Coordinators:
Hourly call-up nets from 5 AM to Noon. Assessment on the net schedule will be done at noon time based on storm events.

The New England reflector system, Echolink *NEW-ENG* Node: 9123/IRLP 9123 will be active and always monitored by NWS Taunton looking for SKYWARN reportable criteria snowfall and storm related damage reports. If additional coordinators report timeframes for their nets between now and Midnight Wednesday, the coordination message will be updated with that information. After Midnight, we will be in storm operations mode and there won’t be time to update the message.

SKYWARN Activation with Ops at NWS Taunton will commence at 3 AM Wednesday. ARES/RACES groups should closely monitor the progress of this system. Winds are still expected to be less than the previous 12/26-12/27/10 major nor’easter/blizzard but with near blizzard to blizzard conditions now more likely in portions of the NWS Taunton County Warning Area, ARES/RACES groups should seek advice from local/regional ARES/RACES leadership. Eastern Massachusetts ARES will be placed on stand-by for Wednesday into early Thursday Morning for this major nor’easter blizzard event. The Massachusetts State EOC and Massachusetts Emergency Management Regional offices will be in a partial activation mode for this major storm. There maybe one more coordination message updating the status of the SKYWARN Net call-ups over other parts of the region if further info is received prior to midnight Wednesday.

As has been the case in other major storm incidents, precision in reporting is critical and the large amount of reporting is helpful. The data is utilized not only by the National Weather Service but also local, state and federal emergency management, media, American Red Cross and Salvation Army in damage assessment scenarios. All reporting during this event per the SKYWARN reporting criteria will be greatly appreciated. Below is the NWS Taunton Blizzard/Winter Storm Warning/Winter Weather Advisory Statement, High Wind Warning Statement, Snowfall prediction map and Hazardous Weather Outlook:

NWS Taunton Blizzard/Winter Storm Warning/Winter Weather Advisory Statement:
http://kamala.cod.edu/ma/latest.wwus41.KBOX.html

NWS Taunton High Wind Warning Statement:
http://kamala.cod.edu/ma/latest.wwus71.KBOX.html

NWS Taunton Snowfall Prediction Map:
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/StormTotalSnow/

NWS Taunton Hazardous Weather Outlook:
http://kamala.cod.edu/ma/latest.flus41.KBOX.html

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator      
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 508-346-2929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: rmacedo@rcn.com
http://ares.ema.arrl.org
http://www.wx1box.org

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Major Nor’easter Post Storm Report 12/26-12/27/10

Hello to all..

The following is a post storm report on the major nor’easter that affected the NWS Taunton County Warning Area on Sunday December 26th into Monday December 27th, 2010. This major nor’easter event followed a storm system that occurred on Monday December 20th, 2010 that caused a significant snowfall on Cape Cod and the Islands with a light to moderate snowfall in other parts of East Coastal Massachusetts. The December 20th storm system was not handled well by computer weather models and led to lower forecaster confidence as the major nor’easter of Sunday December 26th into Monday December 27th, 2010 became a significant threat. Computer weather models with the 12/26-12/7/10 storm performed markedly better in resolving the storm solution up to 6 days ahead of time despite briefly ‘losing’ the major storm solution in the 72-96 hour time range which has been a typical phenomenon over the past several years. Higher forecaster confidence within 48 hours of the event resulted in Winter Storm Watches for much of the NWS Taunton County Warning Area with Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings issued for the region. Coastal Flood Watches were issued for East Coastal Massachusetts and were later upgraded to Coastal Flood Warnings. High Wind Warnings were issued over Cape Cod and the Islands where after a period of snow, the precipitation changed to rain. The most significant snow accumulations occurred near the Cape Cod Canal from West Barnstable to Sandwich Massachusetts.

WX1BOX, Amateur Radio SKYWARN Operations, commenced at Noon Sunday and were reduced to a self-activation mode by Noon Monday and completely secured by 5 PM Monday Afternoon. Eastern Massachusetts ARES was placed on stand-by for a similar timeframe. The major nor’easter produced a 10-18″ snowfall across portions of Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts away from the immediate coast. Amounts of 5-10″ were recorded over South and East Coastal Massachusetts and other parts of Rhode Island. Amounts of 6-12″ with isolated higher amounts were recorded across Northern Connecticut, Western and Central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire though lower amounts of 3-6″ were observed in valley/shadowed locations. Amounts in northwest portions of the region were a bit lower than anticipated due to a dry slot that formed over portions of this area. This typically happens in intense nor’easters and are difficult to predict prior to the storm’s impact. East of Sandwich and Barnstable through Nantucket Island, snowfall of a coating to 2-3″ occurred in this area before the changeover to rain. The snow was very difficult to measure across the entire County Warning Area as this major nor’easter produced very strong winds. Even well inland, wind gusts of 45-60 MPH were recorded. Near the coast, wind gusts in the 55-70 MPH range occurred with isolated wind gusts to hurricane force recorded. N2NDY-Dale reported a 79 MPH measured wind gust in the Humarock section of Scituate, an 80 MPH measured wind gust was recorded in Wellfleet, Massachusetts and a 79 MPH measured wind gust was recorded in Orleans, Massachusetts. Another weather station in Scituate, Massachusetts on Humarock beach recorded a wind gust to 95 MPH coincident with the measured wind gust recorded at Dale’s location. That second station data in Scituate is currently under review. Many other wind gusts 58 MPH or greater (or severe wind criteria) were recorded. Moderate to major coastal flooding was recorded over much of East Coastal Massachusetts. Hardest hit were areas of Hull and Scituate along with portions of Gloucester and Rockport. Amateur Radio reports from the Gloucester EOC were given by Amateurs from the Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association (CAARA). KB1EKN-Mark Duff, who is also the Hingham Fire Chief, gave numerous reports out of the Scituate, Hull, Hingham area of coastal flooding. The vulnerable portions of Morissey Boulevard in Boston were also impacted by coastal flooding as well as portions of Lynn, Salem, Winthrop and Revere. Amateur Radio reports were forwarded from the 145.47-Danvers North Shore Amateur Radio Association (NSRA) Repeater, 145.23-Boston, 145.25-Norwell and 145.13-Gloucester Repeaters. Cape Cod ARES/SKYWARN held call-ups every hour relaying reports of wind damage, coastal flooding and changeover in precipitation. Nets were held on the 147.375-Falmouth and 146.955-Barnstable Repeaters.

The New England Echolink/IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Project) Reflector System (http://new-eng.com) *NEW-ENG* Echolink conference node: 9123/IRLP 9123 was also utilized during this major nor’easter. Liaisons from other SKYWARN Nets provided reports via this system as well as direct reports from Amateur Radio SKYWARN Spotters were also received via this system. SKYWARN Nets in Connecticut with Windham County and Hartford-Tolland County SKYWARN came up several times during the nor’easter to relay damage and snowfall reports through the efforts of Windham County SKYWARN Coordinator KB1DGY-Bernie Dubb and Hartford-Tolland County SKYWARN Coordinator Roger Jeanfaivre-K1PAI, Hartford-Tolland County SKYWARN. Eric Tuller-N1QKO, Western Massachusetts Assistant SKYWARN Coordinator and Ray Weber-KA1JJM, Western Massachusetts SKYWARN Coordinator provided reports from their area and relayed the Hartford-Tolland County Connecticut SKYWARN reports to WX1BOX due to high report volume on the impacts of the storm from all parts of the County Warning Area. Jim Blaine-WD4JZO relayed reports of damage and snowfall from Hillsborough County NH ARES/SKYWARN as well.

At the height of the storm, 55,000 were without power in the state of Massachusetts. This due to the damaging winds and in some cases damaging winds in combination with wet snowfall over the region. The coastal flooding was some of the worst seen over portions of the area in the past 15-20 years but was considered below the impacts of the ‘No-Name/Perfect Storm’ of 1991 and December 1992 storms that affected this region. Damage assessment work by the Red Cross is still ongoing over the coastal areas.

Massachusetts Emergency Management (MEMA)/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) was active at the State Emergency Operations Center in Framingham Massachusetts, Region 1 Tewksbury, Region 2 Bridgewater, Region 3 Agawam offices with the Worcester city EOC active supporting the city and MEMA operations. A State of Emergency was declared in Massachusetts at approximately 1215 PM Sunday December 26th and was lifted on Tuesday December 28th. MEMA/RACES supported additional data and report gathering for use by MEMA in assessing the storm impact and for NWS Taunton to reassess and change their forecasts for the region as needed. The Region offices were active through Monday afternoon with the State EOC securing operations at 5 PM Monday December 27th. Massachusetts State RACES Radio Officer, Tom Kinahan, N1CPE, Region 1 RACES Radio Officer, Terry Stader-KA8SCP, Region 2 RACES Radio Officer, Bob Mims-WA1OEZ and Region 3 RACES Radio Officer, Steve Rodowicz-N1SR supported Amateur Radio Operations at these locations with several additional Amateur Radio Operators. N2YHK-John Ruggiero, WK1H-Gil Hayes and the Worcester Emergency Communications Team affiliated with Western Massachusetts ARES assured staffing at the Worcester city EOC for local city and state MEMA operations. In New Hampshire, their State EOC upgraded to a level-3 activation during the storm at approximately 630 PM Sunday December 26th as reported by Dave Colter-WA1ZCN, New Hampshire Assistant SEC for Operations and was then returned to a level-1 normal operations mode at 300 PM Monday December 27th as the predominant impact in New Hampshire was heavy snowfall and damage from wind was minimal resulting in only a few small power outages. In Connecticut, a level-2 stand-by of ARES occurred and the Connecticut ARES SEC Net was activated at 8 PM on the KB1AEV Connecticut Linked Repeater system. The Connecticut DEMHS Emergency Operations Center was staffed during the height of the major nor’easter and the Connecticut National Guard placed on stand-by as reported by Steve Williams-K1SJW-Connecticut State SKYWARN Coordinator.

The data gathered by Amateur Radio Operator SKYWARN Spotters and non-Amateur Radio SKYWARN Spotters were utilized not just by NWS for their forecasts but by the American Red Cross and local/state/federal emergency management to assess the storm response and recover in near real-time. This is particularly helpful to create a high level of situational awareness and assists greatly in damage assessment done in the recovery phase of a storm scenario. The data availability was very useful and appreciated by all agencies.

Below is the pertinent NWS Taunton Local Storm Reports and Public Information Statements summarizing the major nor’easter impact on the region. The links to the data appear below:

NWS Taunton Local Storm Report Summaries:
http://www.wx1box.org/local/lsr_12_27_10_2.txt
http://www.wx1box.org/local/lsr_12_27_10.txt

NWS Taunton Public Information Statement Storm Summaries:
http://www.wx1box.org/local/pns_blizzard_12_27_10.txt
http://www.wx1box.org/local/pns_blizzard_12_27_10_2.txt

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator     
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 508-346-2929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: rmacedo@rcn.com
http://ares.ema.arrl.org
http://www.wx1box.org

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