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ARRL's "First Couple" Spotlighted in Article Highlighting SKYWARN’s Role


A January 9 article in Virginia’s Roanoke Times newspaper features the participation of ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and her husband Carter, N3AO, in the SKYWARN weather-spotting program. The Craigies, who live in the Southwest Virginia town of Blacksburg — home to Virginia Tech — have a home weather station and, when severe weather threatens, are able to supplement local National Weather Service (NWS) office meteorologists with “ground-level” weather observations.

The article, by Robby Korth of the newspaper’s New River Valley Bureau, points out that the Craigies are among some 2000 SKYWARN members — many of them radio amateurs — who work with the NWS to, as the article says, “verify and give information to issue warnings and also to stress the danger of weather events to the 40 counties covered by the Blacksburg office of the National Weather Service.”

The article cites meteorologist Phil Hysell, who points out that weather spotters can provide local observations that indicate what’s happening below the radar and in “areas where other tools cannot see.” Hysell said that reports of shingles flying off rooftops or ice-covered tree branches snapping are more likely to get the public to react to severe weather.

As the report explains, “Carter Craigie said the forecasters need to know about temperature, winds speeds and precipitation levels. When there’s snow, Kay Craigie will go to three spots around the couple’s home on Brush Mountain to average out snowfall and turn in an accurate amount. If there’s ice, the Craigies will measure the ice surrounding a frozen twig and give a measurement to meteorologists. If Carter Craigie is operating his radio from home, he’ll then give his information to forecasters. He’ll also give any information he’s gathered from other Amateur Radio operators and turn it over to the National Weather Service. For the Craigies, assisting with SKYWARN is simply to help others.”

Kay Craigie said, “It’s just one of the ways you can give back to society by just playing with a radio.” The article noted the ongoing need for weather spotters and tells how to become a SKYWARN spotter, pointing to an online course and test individuals can take to become official weather spotters. A list of SKYWARN training classes in Virginia accompanies the article.




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