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* S.A.M.E. is Specific Area Message Encoding
** HotSeat Decision Maker Simulator requires Java 1.4.2

Turn Around, Dont Drown!

A shelf cloud. Taken from Wichita Point at Cheney Reservoir State Park

Caught in the reflector:
I was monitoring the radio and watching the Weather Channel last night. The Weather Channel meteorologist stationed in Wichita said they were monitoring the HAM operators as well and he remarked how impressed he was with the professionalism and organization all the operators showed. I just wanted to pass that on to all of you, good job last night! - - Andy Reed, KDØLWU - April 9, 2015

Congrats to John, KRØL Net Control, and ALL operators on the link giving reports.

There are several ways to report using the red shaded amounts as severe criteria to make reports. If at home use the Submit Storm Report form. If you are on a Skywarn radio net, pass all traffic to Net Control.
Wind Speed
Winds in excess of 58mph - tree limbs are usually the approximate size of your wrist on the ground
  25-31 mph Large branches in motion;
whistling heard in telephone wires
  32-38 mph Whole trees in motion;
inconvenience felt walking against the wind.

  39-57 mph Small limbs with leaves break off trees;
wind generally impedes progress
EF0 65-85 58-72 mph Damage to chimneys, large limbs breaking
(wrist to forearm) pushes over shallow rooted trees.
Seek shelter.
Spotter safety is no longer secure.
EF1 86-110 73-112 mph Peels surfaces off roofs; windows broken;
light mobile homes pushed or overturned;
moving cars pushed off road. Should be in shelter
EF2 111-135 113-157 mph Roofs torn off houses; anchored mobile homes overturn, cars lifted off ground.
EF3 136-165
EF5 Over 200
Estimated rainfall that exceeds 2" per hour
How to observe and estimate heavy rainfall - streets are water curb to curb, water pooling on highways causing hydroplaning, heavy run-off from fields, poor visibility for 20-30 minutes even at home, creeks and streams and even rivers rising fast and moving rapidly. When it rains this hard remember one thing. If you can't see the road, don't keep driving; STOP! You might save your life. Heavy rains of this magnitude can and do wash out or wash under roads, bridges, move boulders into streets. Turn Around! Don't Drown!
1" or quarter sized, use largest hail you have observed.
0.75" Dime Size
0.875" Nickel Size
1" (Severe Criteria)* Quarter Size
1.25" Half Dollar Size
1.5" Ping Pong Ball Size
1.75" Golf Ball Size
2" Hen Egg Size
2.5" Tennis Ball Size
2.75" Baseball Size
3" Teacup Size
4" Grapefruit Size
4.5" Softball Size
5" We don't want this
A tornado is a violent column of air rotating from the base of the clouds and touching the ground. You should be able to see debris at the ground level. This often is occuring with a lowering of a funnel from a wall cloud. Observe for rotation. Remain a safe distance away. Please give the following in your report immediately - slowly, methodically, and brief as possible:
  • Your location - use cross roads or named roads, approx distance and direction from any town; other identifiers are grain elevators
  • Time of observation
  • Your distance and direction from the observed report
  • Define the tornado - "is it a rope, classic or wedge"
  • Direction the tornado is moving, approximate
    forward speed
Rivers, creeks and streams over their banks, water over roads
Use the information below as a guide
Information for amateur radio Skywarn nets

This is the minimum criteria to transmit during any active SKYWARN communications. In some cases, the meteorologists and radio operator will want a report below severe criteria:
Great Scenario:
Net Control: "Radar indicates you should have rotation in the cell you are watching!"
I see no rotation at this time. I will continue to keep an eye on that area!
Net Controls will not "spot" you except to make sure you are out of harms way. We do not advocate spotting or chasing, but staying in safe and close to home or even reporting from home.
Good scenario:
The radios are quiet and you are bored. You want to give a report the worst of the storm likely moved on.
Net Control: Do you have a report Spotter A?
Spotter A: "No report at this time." Keep ALL reports simple, short, direct if weather does not meet above red criteria. Keep the frequency or link open for criteria reporting
Bad report:
Spotter A: Current conditions -- Moderate rain and some pea size hail and estimated 20mph wind. What is your response?
Spotter B: "I have light rain a few small branches down and lightning off in the distance." Seconds wasted.
Sometimes, rarely the NWS will ask for conditions at your location no matter how light or heavy it may be. Then you would give the Net Control the bad report, below criteria information. Otherwise, please keep the report nearing or at severe criteria!

If you do not know how to call the nearest weather service office, call 9-1-1 only if reporting catastrophic damage is approaching with details and they will pass the information to the NWS for the affected area. If not an amateur radio operator, and meeting criteria, use the Severe Weather Hotline for the Wichita NWS is 800-367-5736. You need to be familiar with the area and know your directions; which direction is North, give intersection road names. Know how to escape in case your way of getting out of a flooded, damage or impending danger area is cut off. Always travel in the direction 90 degrees from an approaching funnel or tornado. Being on the southwest side of the tornado is typically the safest.

Never, ever find yourself backing away from an approaching tornado in a SUV or car. Always be able to drive forward as that is you most rapid way of escape.
Special Note:
Keep radio transmissions short, direct and leave any frequencies actively in use for weather as chatter free as possible. Check the K-Link and Stateline Skywarn pages for frequencies used to relay reports to the Wichita NWS.
Winter Weather Reporting is Critical
Observations are not limited to summer storms only.
The NWS is especially interested in reports when snow is falling and radar echoes are not always able to detect the amount of snowfall and conditions on the ground. Please pass on the following information to your weather service office
Sleet, ice
Snow fall on ground too warm to retain snow will allow accumulation of ice on power lines, trees, cars and elevated roads and bridges.
Snow-packed, slush
Report observations of roads that are snow packed and slushy. These can become dangerous conditions if the temperature falls even a few degrees.
Snow fall
Meausrements in excess of 2". Wind can cause reduced visibility and drifting. Report measurements to nearest 1/10"
Providing ground truth reports

Updated Friday, June 21, 2019 17:11

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