Cherokee County ARES Sponsors NWS Training and Graduates one of the Region's LARGEST Skywarn Storm Spotter Classes
87 new storm spotters are now trained and available to report severe weather in Cherokee County, Georgia. On Saturday, April 10, 2014, 49 Cherokee County CERT members and 38 Cherokee County ARES members gathered at the Heritage Presbyterian Church Fellowship hall in Acworth to listen to Science and Operations Officer Steven Nelson from the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, GA. Steve, a highly experienced and respected NWS meteorologist, forecaster, and weather scientist taught a room packed full of eager students about weather safety, weather patterns, regional weather history, development of severe weather conditions, and proper spotter reporting methods.
Captured video and photos from Professional Storm Chasers in the field showed students how weather builds, develops, expands and then release its fury in the form of severe thunderstorms, destructive hail, deadly tornadoes and damaging straight line winds. More importantly students learned what to look for and how to provide effective "ground truth" to National Weather Service forecasters that helps them validate what millions of dollars of radar and weather detection technology is telling them back at the Peachtree City location of the National Weather Service.
Having an effective network of Storm Spotters is a huge benefit to forecasters who are trusting technology and their advanced training to help them "see" what's going on from many miles away, but need real time information provided by trained spotters in the area where weather is occurring to confirm what radar can't see - what's happening on the ground and in your neighborhoods. "Radar can tell us what 'should' be there" said Nelson, "but storm spotters confirm what we see is correct and give us an idea of exactly what's happening below the radar."
Students left with a much better understanding of how challenging it can be for NWS forecasters to provide the public with just the right information at the right time when severe weather warnings are essential to saving lives.
For more information about "Storm Spotting" you can read more in the Weather Spotters Field Guide. A follow up presentation about how the Amateur Radio Emergency Service is organized to collect spotter information and communicate it directly to the NWS will be presented by Skywarn Coordinator and Cherokee ARES Emergency Coordinator Bob Johnston, during the June 14th regular meeting of the Cherokee County Amateur Radio Emergency Service.
The following link,www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVZlK6M8WQ is an outstanding Public Safety video that describes "The Interoperability Continuum" which (in layman's terms) is a plan to improve communications or "a path to achieving optimum interoperability by broadening relationships". "Knowing who the players are around you" is a mission critical statement and to quote from the video, "The reality is, the most important ingredient in interoperability is relationships". "Relationships count and mean something". As a side note, our own Cherokee ARES members, Randy Kerr, KD4KHO, is in this video at 12:06 and 12:35 with great comments.
Examples of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina (i.e. "we need 150 helicopters, we only have 4"), floods, forest fires, etc. are discussed. Communications issues are discussed and what the IC plan does to improve and overcome issues, BEFORE a disaster happens.
This video, while describing Public Safety planning, etc., is a model for what ARES should be about. We should be a "fluid" organization, that knows our neighbors, i.e. City, County, State (and surrounding) ham operators, repeater owners, ARES members, CERT members, EMA Directors, Newspaper Editors, etc., and build strong professional quality relationships with these folks. We have similar paths to the video such as Training and Exercises through weekly/monthly nets and meetings, to identify what went well, and what needs improvement, which is exactly what the upcoming October 1st, Simulated Emergency Test (SET) is all about.
Recent past events like the hurricane and tornado in Ringgold and elsewhere, provide many additional opportunities for "lessons learned". As stated before, the emergency for communications should not become the on scene disaster. As hams, "When All Else Fails, Ham Radio" gets the message through.
I would urge each of you to view this video and key in on "relationships", and even show this at your next monthly ham meeting. Working together with served agencies for parades, bike rides, air shows, etc. provide a huge visible relationship of how we as hams can help. If Public Safety realizes they need to "put aside egos, politics, and economics", because "we are dealing with people's lives", then so should ARES. Let's work together to be as active and faithful to check in on nets, support each other countywide, statewide and beyond. We have a great ARES group in Georgia, complimented with excellent ARES leadership. Are we prepared to be the best we can be? As school as started, it is approaching report card time (the SET) and time to grade ourselves.
Thanks for all you do, your time, effort, and money buying equipment, maintaining repeaters, and sharing one of the best hobbies around.
County Weather Station WA4EOC-2.
You can monitor the Wx station via APRS by tracking WA4EOC-2, or
via the internet at aprs.fi