Iowa Hams Support Local Officials Before, After Tornado
On April 14, a string of tornados swept through the Central US and Great Lakes Region, including an EF2 tornado in Creston, Iowa, causing severe damage to the Greater Regional Medical Center and the Southwestern Community College campus. Prior to the tornado, radio amateurs in Creston reported storm observations directly to the National Weather Service. After the storm forced the evacuation of the hospital, hams provided communications support to local officials.
“Because most of the communication lines had been damaged in the storm, we were provided communication support to the local authorities,” ARRL Iowa Section Official Emergency Station and Des Moines SKYWARN Coordinator Tom Reis, N0VPR, told the ARRL. “The efforts of the Creston hams once again proved the value of Amateur Radio in critical situations.” Hams also were able to provide assistance in passing information back to the National Weather Service that they could not receive through their conventional methods. “The information provided about Creston was very valuable,” said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jeff Johnson. “Thank you very much for your service”
The day following the storm, officials discovered that the local school district lost the 80 foot tower that is used for the school bus repeater. The Creston Amateur Radio Club offered up their antenna, coax and tower space to the school. On May 17, hams installed the school’s repeater at the club’s site and moved the Creston repeater to a temporary site. Creston is located in the Southwestern Iowa.