Special Announcement: One Year Anniversary of the December 11th-12th 2008 Major Destructive Ice Storm

Hello to all…

It has been one year since the major destructive ice storm that had a major impact on the Northeast United States and portions of Southern New England and the NWS Taunton County Warning Area on December 11th-12th, 2008 with damaging ice in portions of Southern Maine, Central and Southern New Hampshire, Western, Central and interior Northeast Massachusetts, Northwest Connecticut and portions of New York and Vermont. It is important to remember the history of such a destructive storm. This special announcement has been written to recall the events of this serious storm over the region.

It became clear by December 9th and 10th of 2008 that the region had the potential to see a destructive ice storm over the interior region of New York and New England. In addition, Southeast Massachusetts, portions of Rhode Island and Connecticut were in the path for heavy rainfall with the potential of flooding and strong to damaging winds in these areas. Just prior to the major destructive ice storm/nor’easter event, a period of strong to damaging winds affected portions of Eastern New England with mild temperatures.

Winter Storm/Ice Storm Watches were issued on December 9th and 10th and these were upgraded to Winter Storm/Ice Storm Warnings. A Flood Watch and Wind Advisory/High Wind Warnings were also issued. The storm began to unfold on Thursday December 11th starting as plain rain and as the day wore on, the rain changed to freezing rain as colder air from Canada oozed southward and was wrapped into the major storm system. By early evening, locations began to get signifcant icing and reports gradually came in of ice storm damage starting as early as 7 PM that evening. By Midnight Friday December 12th, 2008, reports were rapidly increasing of significant icing damage in the NWS Taunton County Warning Area roughly from Amesbury to Haverhill to Hudson to Marlboro to Northboro and Worcester through Southwest Worcester County Massachusetts and northward through New Hampshire, Southern Maine and Southern Vermont particularly in the higher elevations. Power, Cable and phone outages mounted and it became clear this would be one of the biggest storms to affect the region in recent memory.

It is also noted that shortly after midnight, both local area Amateur Radio repeaters in Worcester County were off the air. Through the extraordinary efforts of the Worcester Emergency Communications Team (WECT), Amateur Operators activated the city of Worcester Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and with their Amateur Radio station at nearly a 1500 foot elevation, they were able to contact stations directly and maintain contact with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Taunton until the repeaters were brough back on the air later on Friday Morning December 12th. If it were not for the efforts of the WECT, it is quite likely critical data of what the storm was doing and how severe the storm was would not have been known until hours later. Many Amateur Operators woken up by the storm to the sound of exploding electrical transformers and the snapping and knock down of large branches and trees from the icing got on the air to report what they were seeing, even in cases where some Amateur Operators, lost whole antenna arrays and suffered severe damage on their own property that they needed to go address. It is this type of effort that made the level of reporting so extraordinary and drew praise from many agencies.

At the height of the storm, over 500,000 people were without power in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. State of emergencies were declared in New Hampshire and Massachusetts where the ice storm had its most significant impact.

Amateur Radio SKYWARN Operations active throughout the storm was the first means of providing critical situational awareness and disaster intelligence information to the National Weather Service Taunton Massachusetts and Gray Maine forecast offices, state emergency management in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts and to FEMA Region 1. The first reports of significant damange and power outages were relayed by Amateur Radio Operators. Information was given by radio and other technological mechanisms to state emergency management officials. This information was also given to local media outlets. NWS Taunton SKYWARN Amateur Radio Operations were active for 27 straight hours.

In addition to the major icing in the interior, SKYWARN operations had to focus on a fairly significant and widespread moderate river and stream flood event and a major urban flood event timed for the Friday Morning December 12th, 2008 rush hour. Winds gusted to near 60 MPH downing pockets of trees and power lines. Coastal flooding occurred along south coastal areas with vulnerable shore roads closed and some homes that were not elevated getting coastal storm surge flooding. Coastal Flood and Flood Warnings for urban areas and small streams were issued. River Flood Warnings also went into effect. This added an additional dynamic to storm reporting on top of the disaster situation that occurred with the interior New England ice storm.

Amateur Radio Operators staged an ARESMAT (Amateur Radio Emergency Services Mutual Aid Team) to Gardner Massachusetts with ARES in Eastern and Western Massachusetts active supporting local shelters in specific cities and towns.  The ARESMAT that was staged to Gardner Massachusetts was the largest mutual aid team deployed since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City. The North Shore ARES team affiliated with the North Shore Radio Association provided a significant amount of support to Gardner as did the South Shore ARES team. North Shore ARES Coordinators also served as the primary points of contact for staging people on the ARESMAT. Amateur Operators associated with RACES and Northern Middlesex County ARES supported local cities and towns severely affected by the ice storm in Chelmsford and Westford. Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services) were active at the State Emergency Operations Center and at Region 1 and Region 3/4 headquarters for almost a week due to the direct impacts of the ice storm.

It is important to know that some weather/storm situations or non-weather sitautions can evolve into a disaster without advanced warning or without the realization that a ‘run of the mill storm’ can become such a significant dusaster situation. The reporting of this data to NWS Forecast Offices and Emergency Management can be key in escalating the recovery response more rapidly when required and can help improve forecasts on severity of such storms or if conditions are not as severe as forecasted. This is why the SKYWARN program is such an important cog for both weather forecasting and Emergency Management.

There is a significant amount of data that remains online from this destructive ice storm. Links to that data appear below:

ARRL Web Articles:

Ice Storm Videos:

Ice Storm Reports:

Local Storm Report, Public Information Statement and Special Weather Statement
from NWS Taunton during that event:

This ice storm resulted in a federal disaster declaration with over 32 Million Dollars in federal aid granted in Massachusetts, 10 Million Dollars in Maine and 15 Million Dollars in New Hampshire. The federal disaster declaration was given in early January to various states and the links below describes the aid given and to what areas by state:


New Hampshire:



It is hoped that another storm of this magnitude does not affect the region. If one does, the importance of storm reporting during and shortly after the incident can not only help weather forecasts but can also support recovery efforts and expedite the arrival of resources to support an area adversely effected by dangerous severe weather. Thanks to all for your continued support of the SKYWARN Program, ARES/RACES/MARS/CERT and Emergency Management!

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

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Special Announcement: NWS Taunton Ham Operations (WX1BOX) for SKYWARN Recognition Day 2009 (SRD’09)

Hello to all..

Just a reminder and special announcement on SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD’09) as posted in SKYWARN Newsletter #264. This will be updated once more either late Thursday Evening or Friday Morning. See article below:

SKYWARN Recognition Day 2009 Friday Evening December 4th Thru Saturday December 5th..

The National Weather Service in Taunton Amateur Radio Station, WX1BOX, will once again be active for SKYWARN Recognition Day 2009. In addition, for the third straight year, the National Weather Service Gray, Maine Office will also be active under call-sign, WX1GYX.

This will be the 11th year of SKYWARN Recognition Day and its
anticipated that over 100 NWS Forecast Offices will be participating once again this year. This event was featured on page 62 of the December 2009 Issue of QST Magazine and web links to information on SKYWARN Recognition Day can be seen at the following links including information in the ARRL ARES


The following is a schedule of repeaters that will be utilized along with simplex being utilized during certain timeframes on Saturday at WX1BOX. We hope Amateurs will utilize this schedule and try and work WX1BOX during these various timeframes. If you don’t hear NWS, feel free to call for WX1BOX and if the office is monitoring, a response will be given. When you make contact, give your current
sky condition and temperature as required. Below is the tentative schedule of operations:

Friday December 4th, 2009:
7:00-7:30 PM:    146.970-Paxton Repeater (PL: 114.8 Hz)
7:30-8:00 PM:    147.180-Bridgewater Repeater (PL: 67.0 Hz)
8:00-8:30 PM:    145.490-Fairhaven Repeater (PL: 67.0 Hz)
8:30-9:00 PM:    146.955-Westford Repeater (PL: 74.4 Hz)
9:00-9:30 PM:    146.79-Vernon, CT Repeater (PL: 82.5 Hz) (linked via IRLP.)
9:30-10:00 PM:   147.225-Killingly, CT Repeater (PL: 156.7 Hz)
10:00-10:30 PM:  146.760-Scituate, RI PL: 67.0 Hz
10:30-11:00 PM:  145.470-Danvers Repeater (PL: 136.5 Hz)
11:00-11:30 PM:  146.955-Barnstable PL: 88.5 or 147.375-Falmouth Repeater PL: 110.9
11:30 PM-12:00 AM: 146.640-Waltham Repeater

**Will Attempt to monitor both the New England Network and the *WX-TALK*/IRLP Reflector 9219 systems during this entire timeframe.

**It is possible we may switch off to different repeaters or simplex during time slots if we run out of contacts.

Saturday December 5th, 2009:
7:00-8:30 AM:   146.595 Simplex
8:30-9:00 AM:   Litchfield County Linked System via KB1AEV repeater system
9:00-9:30 AM:   145.230-Boston Repeater (PL: 88.5 Hz)
9:30-10:00 AM:  146.640-Waltham Repeater
10:00-10:30 AM: 146.895-Walpole Repeater (PL: 123.0 Hz)
10:30-11:00 AM: 147.225-Killingly, CT Repeater (PL: 156.7 Hz)
11:00-11:30 AM: 145.470-Danvers Repeater (PL: 136.5 Hz)
11:30 AM-Noon:  146.79-Vernon, CT Repeater (Linked via IRLP.)
Noon-1:00 PM:   146.595 Simplex
1:00-1:30 PM: 146.685-Plymouth Repeater (PL: 82.5 Hz)
1:30-2:00 PM: 145.130-Gloucester Repeater (PL: 107.2 Hz)
2:00-2:30 PM:   146.955-Barnstable (PL: 88.5) or 147.375-Falmouth Repeater (PL: 110.9)
2:30-3:00 PM:   146.955-Westford Repeater (PL: 74.4)
3:00-3:30 PM:   146.970-Paxton Repeater (PL: 114.8)
3:30-4:00 PM:   147.165-Exeter, RI Repeater (PL: 67.0)
4:00-4:30 PM:   146.760-Scituate, RI or 145.37-Coventry, RI Repeater (PL: 67.0)
4:30-5:00 PM:   145.490-Fairhaven Repeater (PL: 67.0)
5:00-5:30 PM:   147.180-Bridgewater Repeater (PL: 67.0)
6:00-6:30 PM:   146.895-Walpole Repeater (PL: 123.0)
6:30-7:00 PM:   147.000-Dartmouth Repeater (PL: 67.0)

**Will Attempt to monitor both the New England Network and the *WX-TALK*/IRLP Reflector 9219 systems during this entire timeframe.

**It is possible we may switch off to different repeaters or simplex during time slots if we run out of contacts.

The following is information EchoLink/IRLP operations during SKYWARN Recognition Day. Further updates to follow as we get closer to the event:

Time in UTC NWS Office Call-Sign
0000-0100: WX0GLD  (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
0100-0200: WX1GYX  (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
0200-0300: WX4MLB (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
0300-0400: Open
0400-0500: Open
0500-0600: WX9GRB (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
0600-0700: WX4HUN (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
0700-0800: N0NWS (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
0800-0900: Open
0900-1000: Open
1000-1100: Open
1100-1200: WX7PHX (Moved to new time slot and confirmed.)
1200-1300: W7NWS (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
1300-1400: Open
1400-1500: WX4HUN (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
1500-1600: WX1BOX (Confirmed to keep the time slot)
1600-1800: WX4NC (Confirmed to keep the time slot, 2 hour time slot and time slot is from last year)
1800-1900: WX6MTR (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
1900-2000: K0MPX (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
2000-2100: WX4MLB (Confirmed to Keep Time Slot)
2100-2300: WX4NHC (2 hour time slot is from last year and confirmed to keep the time slot)
2300-2400: Open

There will be other conference systems utilized for SKYWARN Recognition Day. They are as follows:

The New England Reflector Gateway System will be utilized by the NWS Taunton, Mass. and NWS Gray, Maine offices from 0000-0500 UTC and 1200-2400 UTC. The New England Gateway system is on EchoLink Conference server *NEW-ENG* Node: 9123, IRLP reflector 9123. If other NWS offices would like to join the
system, they are welcome to do so and participants in SKYWARN Recognition Day can also use that system to make contact with various NWS offices.

Also, the Western Reflector will be having NWS offices calling CQ as in past years on reflector 9250 and have its gateway system on IRLP 9258/EchoLink Conference *NV-GATE* Node: 125266 open for NWS offices. Please contact Kent-W7AOR for additional information on the Western Reflector.

A few technical reminders for folks interested in making contacts with the NWS Forecast Offices on the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP 9219 and New England Reflector Gateway IRLP 9123/*NEW-ENG* Echolink Node: 9123 systems:

-The system allows both EchoLink and IRLP connections. For EchoLink users, you connect to the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203 conference system. For IRLP users, you would connect to IRLP reflector 9219.

-If you are using EchoLink, the RF node or PC that you’re using must have EchoLink conferencing disabled. If it is not disabled, the system will automatically kick the node or PC off of the system.

The reason this occurs is to prevent unintentional interference from a conferencing station that may not know the node is connected somewhere else. This will keep traffic moving on the net and reduce interference considerably.

For more information on VoIP Technical Configuration Tips, please go to our web site at http://www.voipwx.net where we have a link to that information on the main menu of the web site. This announcement will also be on the web site.

We are looking forward to another fun SKYWARN Recognition Day on the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203/IRLP reflector 9219 system, New England Reflector Gateway system and Western Reflector system. Thanks to all for there support!

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

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SKYWARN Class in Scituate Massachusetts – Thursday October 29th, 2009 730-10 PM

Hello to all..

First of all, my apologies for the extremely late notice on this SKYWARN Training session. Due to work commitments and the storms of the past 2 weeks, there wasn’t enough time to get this press release out until now. That said, if you or people you know are interested in taking a SKYWARN class, please forward this news release along. This has also been posted to the wx1box web site and may get posted to the NWS web site if time allows.


The National Weather Service will conduct a free program on severe, violent and unusual weather conditions.  Rob Macedo, KD1CY a 14-year veteran of the NWS SKYWARN program will be the presenter. The program covers topics such as hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, down bursts and other summer and winter weather events. This highly informative and timely program will also provide information on identifying cloud formations, identifying hail sizes and estimating wind speed.  

This program is open to all and will be of particular interest to anyone who enjoys outside activities such as sports, camping, boating or is just interested in learning more about the weather.  This program will also cover safety tips that are appropriate during severe weather events.

Each year the National Weather Service SKYWARN program conducts a series of outreach programs that are tailored to their respective forecast areas.  Scituate is pleased that the National Weather Service, Taunton office has recognized Scituate for a SKYWARN Training session in 2009.  In addition the program will cover information on this nationally recognized program in which Scituate is active.  The program will also cover subjects on how one can participate, what information is requested and how to report that information.  The SKYWARN program helps to save lives.

The National Weather Service relies on real time weather information from local SKYWARN weather spotters.  Weather observations received from spotters located where the weather event is taking place helps the Weather Service to issue timely reports and severe weather warnings.  These reports also help to validate forecasts with real time on the ground observations.

At the end of the program participants will have the opportunity to join the National Weather Service SKYWARN Spotters Program.  

Each year the program is updated with the latest information on severe, violent and unusual weather conditions which affect our area and will be held on Thursday Night, October 29th, 2009 from 730 to 1000 PM at the GAR Hall, 353 Country Way in Scituate,  MA.

Directions to the GAR Hall follow below:
From South: Make your way to RT3A in Scituate. Head north till First Parish Road. Take right on First Parish Rd. At next intersection with traffic light take a right and the GAR Hall is the second building on the right.

From the North head south on Rt 3A and take a left onto first Parish RD at the lights right after the Police Station. Again follow it to the next lights and take a right.

If there is no parking at the GAR Hall you can park across the street down a few buildings at the Masonic Lodge.

Preregistration is not required but is recommended to attempt to insure enough materials are handed out. Please preregister with Rob Macedo at rmacedo@rcn.com.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Pager #: (508) 354-3142
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 1-800-445-2588 Ext.: 72929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: rmacedo@rcn.com

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Tornado Research Presentation by Mish Michaels Organized by Two Local Amateur Radio Clubs

As posted in SKYWARN Newsletter #263:

The Massasoit Amateur Radio Association and the Whitman Amateur Radio Club
will be co-sponsoring a Skywarn presentation by meteorologist Mish Michaels
(formerly from WBZ) on Wednesday November 18th, 2009 at 7:00pm at the
Whitman-Hanson Regional High School on Route 27 in Whitman. Mish has
indicated that she will be discussing her recent research on tornadoes in
New England. While there will be NO CHARGE for this event, seating is
limited. Therefore we are requesting that if you are planning on attending,
please pre-register with NWS Taunton Assistant SKYWARN Coordinator Carl
Aveni-N1FY at caave@peoplepc.com as he is tracking a list for pre-registration.
In addition, there will be other events going on at the school that same
night so parking may be an issue. The Whitman and Massasoit Amateur Radio
Clubs ask that you carpool if you can.

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Dave Vallee Presentation on El Nino-Southern Oscillation and How it Impacts Hurricanes & Our Winter Weather

As posted in SKYWARN Newsletter #263:

Similar to a previous talk given in late August by Northeast River Forecast
Center Hydrologist-In-Charge and former NWS Taunton Science Officer and
Senior Forecaster Dave Vallee, a new talk will be given on how El Nino
and the Southern Oscillation impacts hurricanes and our Winter Weather.
Details follow below:

Recent news reports have stated that an “EL NINO” is developing in the
Pacific. Have you ever wondered exactly what El Nino is, how it can affect
the Atlantic Hurricane Season, or if it could have an impact on our coming
winter in Southeast New England?  If you are looking for answers to these
questions, then we invite you to attend a special presentation at the North
Providence Public Library.   On Thursday evening September 17th, at 7 pm,
Mr. David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge at the National Weather Service’s
Northeast River Forecast Center, and life-long resident of the Ocean State,
will give an informative and entertaining discussion on the El Nino-Southern
Oscillation. David will discuss how this complex Ocean-Atmosphere
phenomenon occurs, how it can impact our Atlantic Hurricane Season and what
it might mean for our upcoming winter.

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Southern New England Weather Conference – Saturday October 24th, 2009

Hello to all..

The Southern New England Weather Conference will be held on Saturday October 24th, 2009. Early-bird registration, which is at the lowest registration prices, is now available. Details on the weather conference can be seen at the following link:


A link to a flyer for the weather conference is listed below:


Early-Bird Registration has opened and will remain open through September 14th with a registration fee of $65 dollars and for those who come to the dinner, an additional $30 dollars for the optional dinner in the evening. Regular registration between September 15th through October 17th is $75 dollars with an additional $30 dollars for the optional dinner in the evening, and late registration between October 18th-25th of $85 dolalrs with an additonal $30 dollars for the optional dinner in the evening. It is noted that students and teachers are given a $10 dollar discount and their affiliation should be listed on the registration.

While this conference does have a cost associated with it, it is high value for the money with speakers coming from other parts of the country to give talks at the conference. The registration fee does include breakfast, lungh and snacks. Of note, Julio Ripoll-WD4R, Assistant Amateur Radio Coordinator for the National Hurricane Center Amateur Radio station WX4NHC will be giving a presentation on the 29-year history of their operations at the Hurricane Center and the role they play in National Huricane Center operations and is coming up from Miami Florida. Additional presentations of topics include:

The July 24, 2008 New Hampshire Tornado (Mish Michaels)
Hurricanes Affecting Atlantic Canada (Peter Boyer, Canadian Hurricane Center)
How Weather Affects Aviation
An Analysis of Waterspout Development in Southern New England
(NWS Forecasters)
Ice Storm 2008 (NWS forecasters, National Grid, US Dept. of Agriculture, Amateur Radio SKYWARN Coordinator)

After the optional dinner, Reed Timmer from the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chaser program will be the after dinner speaker. He will discuss what he has seen and his experiences on the program.

This is one of the best Southern New England Weather Conference line-ups in the last couple of years. It is hoped that many can attend. This will be posted again via a SKYWARN Newsletter in the coming weeks.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Pager #: (508) 354-3142
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 1-800-445-2588 Ext.: 72929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: rmacedo@rcn.com

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