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. 2013 was another interesting year for weather across the region especially over the course of the 2013 winter though 2013 had a much quieter summer severe weather season than past years.
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 remain 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 2013 reveal that while this year was quieter than 2011 and 2012 in terms of historical events, there were a few significant events of note. The Winter of 2012-2013 was quite active. The Blizzard of 2013 was a historical blizzard that brought widespread snow accumulations away from Cape Cod and the Islands of 10-30″. The blizzard brought official blizzard conditions at multiple airport sites not just along the coast but also well inland. The combination of hurricane force wind gusts and heavy wet snow and ice brought widespread power outages over Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island that lasted several days. Moderate to low end major coastal flooding occurred along portions of East Coastal Massachusetts and Cape Cod and the Islands as well. This was far and away the most significant weather event of the year for much of the NWS Taunton coverage area. In March 2013, another major winter storm affected the region bringing heavy snow that in some areas rivaled the Blizzard of 2013 in terms of the total snowfall accumulation. The storm far offshore had a huge envelope and brought heavy snow to portions of Central and Eastern Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut yet brought much smaller amounts over portions of Rhode Island. This storm also brought multiple high tide cycles of coastal flooding to East Coastal Massachusetts and Cape Cod and the Islands as well. This storm was particularly difficult to forecast as the storm being so far offshore brought a surprisingly significant impact to the region.
As we moved into the summer, the summer severe thunderstorm season was characterized by many marginal severe weather setups that even by New England standards brought below normal severe weather. Nonetheless, a few significant severe weather setups occurred and flash flood events occurred given an air mass that was quite tropical over much of the summer season. The most significant severe weather situation was Monday July 1st, 2013 which had a microburst over Agawam, Massachusetts and a EF0/EF1 tornado to the Windsor/East Windsor/Windsor Locks, CT area and a second touchdown over Enfield, CT. SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators were very critical on this day and given the short fused nature of the event, SKYWARN Self-Activation of nets were critical in providing near real time reports of the damage across the region. Many SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators provided pictures and videos of the events as they unfolded and provide a historical archive of these events and were used by NWS Taunton forecasters for damage assessments over the areas affected. On that day, there were also many reports of flash flooding in urban areas with wind damage reports with severe thunderstorms up into the North Shore of Massachusetts. Another severe weather event of note was Wednesday July 10th, 2013, which was a day an EF-1 tornado struck an area from Andover, CT through Mansfield, CT and a microburst to Tolland CT. Once again near time reporting from SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio SKYWARN Spotters provided reports along its path including a photo of it on the ground in Mansfield, CT. A number of additional flash flood events occurred over the course of summer including in late June/early July in Cheshire County NH and in early September across portions of Rhode Island in the Coventry, West Greenwich and Cranston RI area as well as the Keene NH area as well. Flash flood events can be serious in urban areas and in some ways the flash flood events were equally as serious as the severe weather events that occurred in the area this summer.
The Fall was quite quiet in terms of weather after mid-September and actually raised some concerns of drought like conditions until November where the pattern turned wetter once again with beneficial rainfall over the region. A few wind events occurred particularly in the mid-late November timeframe followed by colder than normal temperatures. As we moved into December, we have seen a few winter storms in the past couple of weeks bringing a moderate snowfall over the weekend of December 14th-15th and again on December 17th but the December 17th storm had a much higher impact significantly impacting the evening commute in Northeast and Central Massachusetts to a scale not seen since the December 12th, 2007 storm event that brought similar snowfall near the timeframe of the evening commute with 1-2 inch per hour snows over parts of the region.
As we move forward in 2014, we will be continuing our commitment to SKYWARN training with planning starting in January. We also know that we’ve had a large influx of SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators and will be documenting ways to communicate with us during activation and assure people understand the self-activation and activation protocols used today. It has been a long time since we’ve communicated these practices so that will be done as we get into early 2014.
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. Over the course of 2013, we completed work by bolstering our Amateur Radio HF and 6 Meters capabilities with both functioning at full capacity and continue to test out 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. We are still looking at a new Amateur Radio technology called NBEMS, the Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System, as a potential means to gather weather spotter data digitally over Ham Radio.
We continue to have our twitter feed setup and you can follow WX1BOX on twitter by following our Amateur Radio Call-Sign, WX1BOX and have our WX1BOX Facebook page available as well. NWS Taunton has also continued the use of their Twitter and Facebook feeds as well over the course of 2013. SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators can follow WX1BOX and ‘NWSBoston’ on twitter and on facebook can ‘like’ these pages. They are available via the following links:
WX1BOX Amateur Radio SKYWARN Facebook Page:
NWS Taunton Facebook Page:
WX1BOX Amateur Radio SKYWARN Twitter Feed:
NWS Taunton Twitter feed:
We are also continuing to look 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 situational 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 2013. 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)
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