New England Weather Spotters Receive Award as Severe Weather Comes Calling
On November 15, Amateur Radio operators who serve the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts received an award from the NWS weather forecasters citing excellence in service and "tireless service" to the NWS and to the people of Southern New England. Presented at a SKYWARN coordinators meeting, the award was accepted by Rob Macedo, KD1CY, on behalf of the more than 24 hams present. Macedo is the ARES® SKYWARN Coordinator for the NWS's Taunton office and is the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator.
The award reads: "Presented to NWS-Taunton Amateur Radio Team WX1BOX. With sincere appreciation for your long-standing commitment to the National Weather Service and the people of southern New England and with particular recognition for your tireless support during the unusual 2008 severe weather season."
Members of the Taunton SKYWARN Amateur Radio Club, WX1BOX, assist forecasters at the Taunton office. This office serves portions of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. NWS Taunton forecasters Bob Thompson, Glenn Field, Bill Babcock and Eleanor Vallier-Talbot presented the award to the group.
"Today was a special meeting," Macedo said. "I wasn't expecting the trophy that's sitting on top of the power supply here at the station. I was surprised. Very well done, I must say. It is a tribute to the team effort exhibited by Amateur Radio operators and SKYWARN spotters across the four state region."
Macedo said that the award meant "even more to the Amateur Radio team since it was funded not by NOAA, but rather by the forecasters at the station. They paid for it out of their own pockets."
According to Macedo, the 2008 summer severe weather season in Southern New England featured 974 local storm reports. Of those, 917 -- or 94 percent -- came from the Amateur Radio SKYWARN Spotter Network. There were a total of 50 SKYWARN activations recorded over the summer of 2008. "This has been the most active year in the 13 years I've been involved in the SKYWARN program. We hope next year will be calmer in terms of severe weather," Macedo said.
Later that evening, the NWS posted a tornado watch for much of Southern New England, lasting until 2 AM Sunday. Strong winds ahead of a cold front resulted in pockets of tree and power line damage across Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Some minor structural damage was also reported, as wind gusts of 50-70 MPH were reported; a wind gust of 67 MPH was recorded at the Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, Massachusetts.
"While the line of severe thunderstorms that were capable of damaging winds and the possibility of tornadoes fell apart as it moved toward the region, strong straightline winds out ahead of the storm were the story of the event. This resulted in pockets of wind damage across the region, including several reports of trees falling on cars and homes. A couple of weakened roofs on old structures were blown off due to the strong winds in Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island," Macedo said. "Somehow, given such an active year in 2008 for severe weather, it is no surprise that we had a wind damage event on the evening of our coordinators' meeting. We hope this is the end of the active stretch."