Hello to all..
On behalf of the entire Amateur Radio Group at WX1BOX, the Amateur Radio station for NWS Taunton Massachusetts, and the forecaster staff at NWS Taunton, we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holiday season. 2011 will be known as a historic weather year in Southern New England. Many of you provided critical reports, pictures and videos that supported and resulted in the protection of life and property and timely warnings being issued based on the surface reporting and ground truth that is so critical in confirming what the radar is or is not seeing. This information was then shared with local, state and federal emergency management and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are always looking for situational awareness and disaster intelligence to gauge the level of response and recovery required for an incident. They have been extremely impressed with all the work that all of you do and they extend their appreciation. That appreciation of the weather and damage reports is highly recognized by many of the media outlets as well who thank SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators on television and over social media such as facebook and twitter. This mission could not be done without all of your support.
A quick synopsis of 2011 reveal that it was a historic weather year for our region. It started with the repeated snowstorms of January into early February where the Blizzard of 2011 on January 12th, 2011 dumped widespread snowfall amounts of 1-2 feet with isolated 30″ amounts in the interior and 6-12″ of snow away from Cape Cod and the Islands and winds gusting to over 60 MPH over the coast, Cape Cod and the Islands and Southeastern New England. The repeated storms after the Blizzard resulted in numerous roof collapses across Southern New England that were tracked by SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators during the storms with follow-up done after the winter storms passed by local and state emergency management where buildings were still having roof issues days after the winter storms ended.
As we moved into summer, the historic June 1st, 2011 tornado outbreak affected New England, specifically Massachusetts and also into Northern New Hampshire and Maine. The biggest tornado being the EF-3 Western Massachusetts long-track tornado that caused the worst damage in years over an area starting from Granville/Westfield into West Springfield, Springfield, Wilbraham, Monson, Brimfield, Sturbridge, Southbridge and Charlton. This tornado was on the ground for 70 minutes and 39 miles and killed 3 people with 200 injuries. Amateur Radio Operators and SKYWARN Spotters played their biggest role since the program began in earnest in this region in 1995. Amateur Radio Operators and SKYWARN Spotters kept the National Weather Service, Emergency Management, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the media informed across its entire track from initial touchdown through its eventual lifting in Charlton, Massachusetts. Debris was deposited 40-70 miles away and was reported by SKYWARN Spotters and Ham Radio Operators as far east as Millbury, Myllis, and Milton, Massachusetts. This event underscores the importance of weather spotting and gathering critical situational awareness and disaster intelligence in near real-time so that agencies can gear up a proper response and recovery effort as early as possible. It also underscores that when a tornado is spotted versus a tornado warning based upon purely radar indication alone without a report of the tornado being spotted, the public pays more attention to the warning when it is spotted and radar inciated and seeks cover immediately otherwise the death toll and injuries may have been much higher given this large tornado’s crossing over the Springfield metropolitan area. A total of 4 tornadoes were confirmed in Massachusetts on June 1st with additional confirmed tornadoes in Northern New England.
After several other potent severe weather events from June through August, Hurricane Irene would visit New England as a strong tropical storm. Irene caused significant wind damage across much of Southern New England particularly in Connecticut, Central and Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island with moderate storm surge flooding across all areas of the coast. The worst river/stream/urban flooding seen in years occurred across Vermont, Western Connecticut and Western Massachusetts especially in Berkshire, Western Hampden, Western Hampshire, and Franklin Counties of Massachusetts with minor to moderate floding in other parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Northern Rhode Island. Rainfall amounts in the hardest hit areas were 5-10″ with higher amounts in Vermont. The region was rain soaked from earlier systems in August which further aggravated the flooding over the region. Irene was the strongest tropical system to affect the region since Hurricane Bob in August 1991.
After several storms produced flooding over the region in September through early October, including the North Shore of Massachusetts unexpected Flash Flood event of October 4th, 2011 which left localized urban flooding in Peabody, Lynn and Swampscott, Massachusetts flooded for almost a day after 5-7″ of rain were dumped on the area in just a couple of hours, a rare October Snowstorm dubbed ‘Snowtober’ affected the region just before Halloween on October 29th and 30th. With foiliage still on the trees and a heavy wet snowfall especially across valley areas of Western Massachusetts, Connecticut, through Central and Northeast Massachusetts and Southeast New Hampshire, widespread tree and power line damage occurred. The storm rivaled and in some cases created more power outages than Irene in August. A widespread 4-8″ snowfall with isolated 12″ amounts occurred in valley locations of interior Massachusetts north and west of I-95 and especially from I-495 north and west with amounts of 12-24″ with isolated 30″ amounts in the higher elevations and especially in Northwest Massachusetts and Southwest New Hampshire. Power would be out for 3-5 days with some locations espically in Connecticut and Southwest Massachusetts having power outages for 7 days or longer. It was the worst major snowstorm to affect the reigon in October in history and historic in terms of snowfall for the interior regions. At the coast, winds gusted over 60 MPH with mostly rain ending as a period of snow before the storm departed.
As we move forward in 2012, we will be renewing our commitment to SKYWARN training. The training presentation will be reorganized and updated with more sessions offered over the course of the year. We will also continue to embrace new technologies while maintaining all the other technologies utilized to gather as much real-time and precise meteorological and damage report information as possible. We will be renewing our efforts to utilizing Amateur Radio HF and 6 Meters where required, Amateur Radio simplex as well as continued usage of all the SKYWARN Amateur Radio Repeaters and radio linked systems via the Internet that are at our disposal as well as monitoring of weather stations ingested over APRS and into the mesonet networks that have supported and helped with seeing what is happening on the ground.
In terms of new technologies, we have our twitter feed setup and you can follow WX1BOX on twitter by following our Amateur Radio Call-Sign, WX1BOX. Over the past year, we have setup a WX1BOX Facebook page and NWS Taunton has setup their facebook page as well. SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators on facebook can ‘like’ these pages. They are available via the following links:
WX1BOX Amateur Radio SKYWARN Facebook Page:
NWS Taunton Facebook Page:
We are also looking at other ways to get near-real time video and pictures while also continuing to receive pictures and videos hours and days after a major severe weather event. This will further enhance our abilities to gather situatiuonal awareness and disaster intelligence information in a short period of time.
We, again, want to provide a tremendous THANK YOU to all of you that supported SKYWARN and the National Weather Service during this historic 2011 weather season. We wish everyone once again, a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holiday Season and hope people enjoy their time with family and friends during this joyous holiday season!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org