For Amateurs involved in Public Service work, it seems their job is never done. After the most active hurricane season in years, they were still at it. WX1BOX, the Amateur Radio Station at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Taunton, Massachusetts, joined numerous SKYWARN nets across New England in activating for an early-January nor'easter that brought significant coastal flooding, damaging winds -- with hurricane-force wind gusts downing trees and power lines -- and heavy snow accumulations to the region. The eastern coast of New England experienced high snowfall rates, whiteout conditions, and even "thunder snow." A dramatic drop in barometric pressure generated a so-called "bomb cyclone."
WX1BOX was active for 16.5 hours, supporting data gathering for the NWS. Local and state emergency managers, broadcast media, and other agencies also used these reports for situational awareness during the storm and to assess the need for any later recovery efforts. "A widespread 8 to 18 inches of snow fell across southern New England away from Cape Cod and the Islands. There were reports of thunderstorms with snowfall rates in the 2 to 3 inches per hour range," said Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Eastern
Cape Cod Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) was active at the Barnstable County Mutual Aid Coordination Center (MACC), convening ARES/SKYWARN nets and providing wind damage and coastal flood reports from their region. For the most part, Cape Cod and the Islands received rain, which was followed by a period of snow as temperatures dropped. The resulting "flash freeze" conditions led to dangerously icy roadways. Damaging winds causing scattered power outages and coastal flooding were the biggest problems, with an inch or two of rainfall in the area. Staffing the station was Cape Cod ARES District Emergency Coordinator Frank O'Laughlin, WQ1O, and Tom Wruk, KB1QCQ.
t the Eastern Massachusetts ARES section level, ARES went on standby for any agency needs or to support any local ARES activations by Eastern Massachusetts ARES SEC Marek Kozubal, KB1NCG. Local nets were active on approximately 10 different repeaters across the NWS Taunton coverage area. The New England Echolink/IRLP reflector system was also active, with reporting stations from across New England, supplemented by a tie-in to the conference node typically used by the VoIP Hurricane Net.
Operators at WX1GYX, the Amateur Radio station at the Gray, Maine, NWS Office, were active all day on January 4, gathering reports from various sources via 2-meter FM, DMR, and HF. Tim Watson, KB1HNZ, and Eric Emery, KC1HJK, handled net control duties, with support from Waylon McDonald, KC1HJN, and members of Mt. Washington Valley ARES. -- Thanks to Rob Macedo, KD1CY, and Tim Watson, KB1HNZ
I had the opportunity to fly with the Hurricane Hunters for two seasons back in the '70s when that job was done by the Navy out of NAS in Jacksonville, FL. They also flew into these east coast winter storms. Their conclusion was that flying into a storm such as the so-called "bomb cyclone" was far more severe and dangerous than hurricane penetrations. (NOTE: There are several active links onthis page which you can click on for more information.
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