Archive for the ‘Skywarn’ Category

Oklahoma Climate Data – April

April 1, 2012

Shown as April 2012
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 T Avgs: 72/42
Sig Prcp Freq: 9%
High T 98 (1946)
Low T 27* (1948)
Precip 0.98 (2000)
2 T Avgs: 74/44
Sig Prcp Freq: 10%
High T 91 (1913)
Low T 22 (1936)
Precip 1.13 (1919)
3 T Avgs: 74/44
Sig Prcp Freq: 12%
High T 97 (1950)
Low T 23* (1936)
Precip 1.22 (1957)
4 T Avgs: 72/43
Sig Prcp Freq: 3%
High T 95 (1943)
Low T 26 (1920)
Precip 0.66 (1997)
5 T Avgs: 73/43
Sig Prcp Freq: 15%
High T 94 (1954)
Low T 26* (1920)
Precip 1.51 (1921)
6 T Avgs: 74/43
Sig Prcp Freq: 11%
High T 99 (1954)
Low T 23 (1971)
Precip 0.71 (1940)
Snow trace (1939)
7 T Avgs: 75/44
Sig Prcp Freq: 9%
High T 96 (1972)
Low T 23 (2009)
Precip 1.12 (1915)
8 T Avgs: 73/44
Sig Prcp Freq: 10%
High T 99 (1963)
Low T 25 (1938)
Precip 1.50 (1942)
Snow 6.0 (1938)
9 T Avgs: 73/43
Sig Prcp Freq: 10%
High T 93 (1963)
Low T 24 (2003)
Precip 1.45 (1942)
10 T Avgs: 73/45
Sig Prcp Freq: 11%
High T 98 (1963)
Low T 26 (1973)
Precip 2.14 (2008)
11 T Avgs: 74/45
Sig Prcp Freq: 15%
High T 99 (1972)
Low T 27 (1989)
Precip 2.22 (1994)
12 T Avgs: 73/45
Sig Prcp Freq: 11%
High T 105 (1972)
Low T 26* (1940)
Precip 0.96 (1967)
Snow trace (1940)
13 T Avgs: 75/45
Sig Prcp Freq: 18%
High T 98 (1936)
Low T 25 (1957)
Precip 0.60 (1973)
14 T Avgs: 76/46
Sig Prcp Freq: 12%
High T 96 (1936)
Low T 29 (1980)
Precip 2.26 (1916)
15 T Avgs: 77/47
Sig Prcp Freq: 11%
High T 95* (1955)
Low T 27* (1928)
Precip 1.96 (1945)
16 T Avgs: 79/47
Sig Prcp Freq: 12%
High T 100 (2006)
Low T 34* (1945)
Precip 1.50 (1976)
17 T Avgs: 79/49
Sig Prcp Freq: 12%
High T 101 (1955)
Low T 28 (1921)
Precip 2.34 (1995)
18 T Avgs: 78/50
Sig Prcp Freq: 18%
High T 101* (1925)
Low T 31 (1921)
Precip 2.20 (1917)
19 T Avgs: 78/50
Sig Prcp Freq: 16%
High T 95 (1987)
Low T 32* (1939)
Precip 1.91 (2003)
20 T Avgs: 78/49
Sig Prcp Freq: 12%
High T 99 (1925)
Low T 32 (1953)
Precip 1.61 (1952)
21 T Avgs: 78/50
Sig Prcp Freq: 14%
High T 97* (1925)
Low T 34 (1918)
Precip 1.82 (1957)
22 T Avgs: 79/51
Sig Prcp Freq: 14%
High T 98 (1955)
Low T 31 (1931)
Precip 1.68 (1952)
23 T Avgs: 79/52
Sig Prcp Freq: 12%
High T 101 (1989)
Low T 34 (1996)
Precip 1.05 (1957)
24 T Avgs: 79/51
Sig Prcp Freq: 15%
High T 98 (1996)
Low T 34 (1968)
Precip 2.14 (1925)
25 T Avgs: 79/51
Sig Prcp Freq: 16%
High T 96* (1967)
Low T 39 (1995)
Precip 1.93 (1997)
26 T Avgs: 78/51
Sig Prcp Freq: 16%
High T 95* (1956)
Low T 38 (1945)
Precip 1.63 (1928)
27 T Avgs: 78/51
Sig Prcp Freq: 12%
High T 96 (1955)
Low T 35 (1920)
Precip 1.50 (1985)
28 T Avgs: 78/50
Sig Prcp Freq: 17%
High T 94 (1927)
Low T 36 (2008)
Precip 2.30 (1940)
29 T Avgs: 77/52
Sig Prcp Freq: 20%
High T 98 (1936)
Low T 39 (1968)
Precip 4.06 (2009)
30 T Avgs: 78/52
Sig Prcp Freq: 21%
High T 95 (1947)
Low T 36* (1984)
Precip 1.35 (1974)
Periods of Record
Temps #1904-2010
Precip #1904-2010
Snow #1904-2010
# – large gaps in record
* – Record since tied
Highlight = Apr record
All Temps in deg F
All Precip in inches
Sig Prcp Freq = Pct of
days with >= 0.1″ precip
Apr. Averages
High Temp 77 F
Low Temp 48 F
Avg Temp 62 F
Precip 2.38
Snow 0.1


National Severe Weather Workshop

February 9, 2012

In just a very few days, members of the severe weather community, including emergency management, Skywarn members, and local, State, and National meteorologists will converge in Norman for the National Severe Weather Workshop.

Each year, the workshop focuses on the best practices of weather forecasting and Community alerting.

Members of the Altus Skywarn Association and local emergency managers have attended in the past.

Will you be attending this year?  What do you hope to learn?

June 13, 2011

In the USA, for someone to say they did not get a warning is essentially to say “I did not want a warning.”

Emergency Managers, for years, have encouraged the Citizen to be more  active in getting their warning information.  The days of the siren to wake us up in the middle of the night is over.  As one emergency manager pointed out:  When I was MUCH younger, the windows were open in the spring, the blackandwhite TV was not on all the time, folks did not listen to MP3 players with headphones, and sirens could be heard inside the house.’s more mobile world calls for 24-seven news and 24-seven warning systems.  Trained professionals have learned not to count on just one system.

With the cell phone tied to every waistband, some jurisdictions are turning to products such as Nixle, BlackboardConnect, MyStateUSA, Code Red, and EmergencyE to encourage the public to get their warnings.

Popular smartphone operating systems such as the Android and Iphone offer applications such as WeatherBug that automatically alert when the resident is in a warning area as well as for areas where the Citizen has an interest.

The Weather Service has offered Interactive NWS for a few years now.  This service sends email and text messages to subscribers (who are members of the emergency management community).  This supplements the Weather Radio network that has been in place for a number of years.

Of course, amateur radio plays a big part in keeping the resident aware as do local media partners.  Even newspapers are joining the electronic media to give their own Twitter and Facebook information. 

In time, you may get automated information from your Federal partners with the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

Indeed, today, there’s no need to go without a warning.  However, you must WANT to get one.

April 1, 2011

If you think the original “See Something; Say Something” came from Homeland Security, please think again.

That honor belongs to the brave souls connected to the local Skywarn program.

This handy program, born out of the National Weather Services in the 70s, has been the stimulus for local spotter groups and the StormReady program.

Today, the Skywarn program is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters.

These individuals give their reports to their local emergency management official who relays them to the National Weather Service or they give their reports to the National Weather Service who relays them to the local emergency management office.  Either way, spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards.

 If you see a logo that looks like this, chances are the spotter has been to the required training provided by the National Weather Service.  This is annual training required by so many emergency managers across the USA.

If this logo is on a personal vehicle, you can be assured that the owner of the vehicle uses their OWN gas, tires, windshield wipers, oil, RainEX, etc. while you remain safe at home watching TV for the report that the spotter is giving to the weather service.  In other words, they train and report at no cost to the government OR the Citizens they serve.

These are NOT chasers with expensive vehicles they allow to have videotaped (sometimes even by themselves) being operated in a dangerous manner.  These individuals use their own vehicles.  If they break the law, they get a ticket.  They know that.  Their insurance goes up as a result.

Skywarn is the original “See something; SAY something”.

Weather Radio Grant

January 22, 2011

Altus — The City of Altus Emergency Management office announced a Weather Radio rebate program, funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State of Oklahoma Emergency Management office.

The program will reimburse Jackson County residents 75% of the cost of a weather radio, according to Lloyd Colston, Altus Emergency Management director. “In other words, a $30 radio will cost $7.50, after the rebate is paid.”

“It could save your life and your family’s life,” said Jerry Gibson, director of
Jackson County Emergency Management, speaking to the benefit of the weather
radio. “It’s like a smoke detector for weather.”

Funds are limited. Citizens are encouraged to act quickly. Local vendors such
as Radio Shack and United Grocery Stores have radios in stock. The rebate
program only pays for radios with Specific Area Messaging Encoder technology
such as described at, explained Gibson.

Inside the home, it is difficult, if not impossible to hear the sirens.
Emergency managers encourage multiple means of getting warnings. Weather
radios, cell phone, pagers, email, and sirens are just some of the tools in the

In order to participate in the rebate program, Jackson County and City of Altus
residents must first buy the radio, obtain the reimbursement form, complete the
form, and submit it, with the receipt, for payment by the City.

The form is available at the American Red Cross office, the Salvation Army
church building, Jerry Gibson’s office at the Jackson County Courthouse, at City
of Altus City Hall, or online at

Once the form is received, it will be submitted to State emergency management
officials for payment. This is a pass-through grant, explained Colston. The
money will come back to the City of Altus, which will then approve the claim for
payment to the resident.

Those who need help with programming their new radio can get that help from the Altus Skywarn Association, the local weather watch group. Those who need help can leave their radio with the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or the local emergency management officials who will have the radio returned after programming is completed.

For more information, visit or call 580.482.8333 for Colston
or 580.482.0229 for Gibson.

November 23, 2010

The discussion about Spotter Convergence continues on the Chaser list.

The popular program StormChasers has added more fuel to the
discussion, especially when video of a vehicle passing in no passing

From last May, here’s a post regarding the topic:

> Is it time for chasing legislation
> to help control these unruly, dangerous convergence situations which are
> very difficult for towns such as Hennessey, or Kingfisher Oklahoma as they
> were last May 19th, or are you against legislating chasing? Why, what are
> some of your ideas or views on this subject?

As strongly as I feel about this subject, list members may be
surprised that I am NOT in favor of chasing legislation.

I AM in favor of CHASERS calming down and self-regulating, if you
will, their dangerous activity. I’m in FAVOR of certain popular TV
CHASERS acting like Human Beings, on and off camera. I am ALL THE
MORE in FAVOR of CHASERS modeling safe behavior when they are
streaming their video for all the world to see.

The video of the TIV barreling down the road across TWO double yellow
lines is but ONE example of unsafe CHASER behavior. Watching the
CHASERS stream their OWN video and my thoughts have already been
documented at

I AM in favor of Skywarn training and credentialing. IF you are a
Skywarn spotter, you have had spotter safety training. If you are
stopped for some vehicular infraction and have no reason to be their
(documented by a Skywarn “card” of some sort), you will face increased
scrutiny by the officer. That’s how it works in Jackson County,
Oklahoma, USA. I have already told my troop commander words to the
effect that my spotters are not above the law. I have ridden with a
number of my spotters and some have ridden with me. They all know
expectations. I am convinced that they will continue to meet

The Skywarn program, if I understand correctly, will become a truly
National program with uniform training. Spotter SAFETY will be part
of that training. Much like the SpotterNetwork process of vetting
individuals in a certain subject matter, the training will produce a
person entered into a National database. Mess up and I suspect that
entry in the National database will be removed.

NO! I am not in favor of increased legislation. I am in favor of
individuals doing the right thing without being told all the time what
the right thing is.

May 21, 2010

Storm chasers are NOT #Skywarn Spotters.

In part of my emails to the Weather Chaser list, I made note of this video. Please use viewer discretion.

Please view this video. Although it’s not about chasing, it’s about
motor vehicle operation and some undesirable consequences. I will add
it is quite graphic. Viewer discretion is advised, in other words.!/video/video.php?v=347401909287&ref=mf

PLEASE be SAFE and remain FREE.

Not to be outdone, some chasers took matters into their own hands.,
and are shots of a TV storm chaser barreling down a two lane road, complete with support vehicles. Can you see brake lights as these folks barrel down the roadway?

Here’s more from my colleague to the north.

In this article
, the Vortex2 team says that chasers got in their way. The article is believable except the spokesman was observed by the German Skywarn Team breaking the law. The particular individual also has ties to the “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE” chasers on a popular TV show.

One of the participants posted comments on his Facebook page. The reply is in italics.

You REALLY believe this?

I’m responding to video of the TIV convoy passing other chasers and
the complaint that we were doing so unsafely. I realize that people do
not know that our team has radios and that we give a “clear” to the

Would you expect a Trooper to understand this? You were breaking the LAW!

follow vehicles so they know that there is no oncoming traffic. Also I
am up in the turret so that I can get a better perspective of traffic
ahead. Also the video that I saw was “zoomed” in, optically
compressing space, so that the hill and vehicles seems closer together

Then WHY did the cars behind you have to slam on THEIR breaks?

than in reality. Finally, the TIV or any of it’s follow vehicles have
never been in or caused an accident. Also, want to say that I

Never a time like NOW to break THAT record.

appreciate your concern for chasers safety and I will do my best to
make it a priority for my entire team for the rest of the season. I’m
not perfect, I know that more than anyone, but I really respect the
chaser community and I take your comments seriously.”

Read my post on the WX-Chase list about CHASERS. I would much rather folks out there were SAFE than exhibiting the DANGEROUS action you display.

The post referred to above is quoted below.

Since I’m not around ground zero this afternoon, I took some time to
watch some of the
video samples available on the various video

I observed speed too fast for conditions (wet roads and hail),
following too close (can’t you count one-one thousand, two
one-thousand after you pass a yellow line or pothole?), inattentive
driving (at least two left of center), one busted a red light, a
couple or three almost rear-ended the car in front.

Folks, if you are going to tell the world you are safely operating
your motor vehicle, the pictures need to match. If you are going to
put a picture of you in the car driving, it helps if you pay attention
to what you do instead of dinking on the PC, talking on the radio, dig
for something on the floor or in the back seat, etc. Don’t you all
have partners?

Maybe it would be a better practice to NOT show video while you are
breaking the law. After all, these end up on TV and you don’t get

I’m getting the idea that this is too hard for some but, please, TRY
to be SAFE out there. Tomorrow you are in Oklahoma. I will be too
busy to watch but I bet someone in a clearly marked car will be.

Finally, these examples are NOT representative of Skywarn. Please contact your local emergency management office or National Weather Service office for information about how to be involved in this important activity.

February 28, 2010

Radio Shack has an interesting Weather Radio with AM/FM for Skywarn folks.

Since Jackson County has a grant to get a 75% rebate on the purchase of a new weather radio with SAME technology, it was not hard to say “yes”.

The radio has an amazing additional feature. It’s a scanner for two-meter and 440 mHz Skywarn channels, programmable. That’s 20 channels for the local Skywarn enthusiast.

The radio specifications list .3 microvolt for both the weather radio and Skywarn band. That’s not great sensitivity but locally it works to hear the local Skywarn repeaters and the County NWS transmitter, with the telescoping antenna collapsed and folded into storage.

Reading the reviews on the Radio Shack site, some complaints are:

low sensitivity
can’t program a local Skywarn channel
no balance in audio between bands

One EXCELLENT feature is the BNC antenna adapter that comes with the radio. This makes having an outside antenna to improve reception of both weather and amateur radio signals.

Overall, this is a good unit, especially if you live in Jackson County, OK and are involved in the Skywarn Program.

October 21, 2009

Pecuniary Interest has a life of its own. Will this issue ever end?

Now a committee has filed a Petition to allow paid personnel to use amateur radio frequencies during drills and exercises. There may be some merit to this petition, from the “Fight like you train. Train like you fight.” part of disaster preparedness and emergency response training.

However, do I need a drill or exercise to learn how to use my new walkie-talkie I brought home from the hamfest? REALLY.

What would be the purpose of the training, drill, exercise for the amateur radio operator? If it’s so the folks can see if the radio works, get a couple of volunteers to go around to each of the radios to see if they can talk to each other.

From the Federal Communications Commission’s William Cross:


To flesh out a couple of things you asked about in the below e-mail, the
Public Notice (PN) specifically says that the waiver request must come
from the government entity conducting the drill, not from individual
amateurs or others participating in the drill.

As for how the government entity should request a waiver, it should
submit a written request addressing the factors listed in the PN to

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, DC 20554
Attn: Scot Stone

Note that a waiver is needed only for those licensees transmitting
messages on behalf of their employer during the State and local
government public safety agency “occasionally conducted emergency
preparedness or disaster drills test or drill.” This may, after
analysis, turn out to be very few licenses or, by rearranging functions
of participants, a waiver may not be needed.

Adding in a new hire that comes on duty after the waiver request but
before the waiver is granted or the new hire who replaces someone for
whom the waiver has been submitted would require a new waiver submission
or a change to the previously-filed request. As noted in the Public
Notice, “…the filing of a waiver request does not excuse compliance

with the rules while that request is pending. The waiver must be
requested prior to the drill, and employees may not transmit amateur
communications on their employer’s behalf unless the waiver request has
been granted.”

William T. Cross
Mobility Division
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
Federal Communications Commission

This was in response to the email that detailed the “rules” and the Government’s response to it.

The email sent to a number of amateur radio interests states:

Below is a copy of a press release from the FCC #DA 09-2259 stating
the local governments must request a waiver for paid staff to
participate in non-emergency radio communications on behalf of their

Another unanswered question would be how long should the jurisdiction
submit the request? In other words, how long is the wait expected to
be. I know the drills I plan are weeks and months before hand.

However, what about the new hire that comes on duty after the waiver
request but before the waiver is granted (since we don’t know how long
this process might be)? Will there be a method to get a quick answer?
If the new hire replaces someone for whom the waiver would have been
submitted is a new waiver submission required?

Answer: No method to get a quick answer. Waiver request must be submitted in writing to the address given above. Jurisdiction would need to file a new request for waiver.

From the FCC:

Transmissions by amateur stations participating in government disaster
drills must comply with all applicable amateur service rules. While
the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary
noncommercial communications service, particularly with respect to
providing emergency communications, is one of the underlying
principles of the amateur service,

1 the amateur service is not an emergency radio service. Rather, it is
a voluntary, non-commercial communication service authorized for the
purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical
investigations carried out by licensed persons interested in radio
technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

2 State and local government public safety agencies occasionally
conduct emergency preparedness or disaster drills that include amateur
operations. Some entities, such as hospitals, emergency operations
centers, and police, fire, and emergency medical service stations,
have expressed interest in having their employees who are amateur
station operators participate in these drills by transmitting messages
on the entity’s behalf. The Commission’s Rules, however, specifically
prohibit amateur stations from transmitting communications “in which
the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest,
including communications on behalf of an employer.”

3 Given the public interest in facilitating government-sponsored
emergency preparedness and disaster drills, we take this opportunity
to provide a clear process for requesting a waiver, and the
information that we require in order to consider granting such a

4 Waiver requests should be submitted to the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau by the government entity conducting the
drill, and must provide the following information: (1) when and where
the drill will take place; (2) identification of the amateur licensees
expected to transmit amateur communications on behalf of their
employers; (3) identification of the employers on whose behalf they
will be transmitting; and (4) a brief description of the drill. We
emphasize that the filing of a waiver request does not excuse
compliance with the rules while that request is pending. The waiver
must be requested prior to the drill, and employees may not transmit
amateur communications on their employer’s behalf unless the waiver
request has been granted.

In an actual emergency, the Commission’s Rules provide that an amateur
station may use any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to
provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate
safety of human life and the immediate protection of property when
normal communication systems are not available.

5 In those circumstances, rule waiver is not necessary.

For further information regarding matters discussed in this Public
Notice, contact William T.
Cross of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Mobility Division, at
(202) 418-0680,
By the Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau; Chief, Public Safety
and Homeland Security
Bureau; and Chief, Enforcement Bureau.

1 See 47 C.F.R. § 97.1(a). See also Recommendations of the Independent
Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications
Networks, Order, EB Docket No. 06-119; WC Docket No. 06-63, 22 FCC Rcd
10541, 10576 ¶ 111 (2007) (noting that the amateur radio community
played an important role in the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina and other disasters).
2 See 47 C.F.R. § 97.3(a)(4).
3 See 47 C.F.R. § 97.113(a)(3) (emphasis added).
4 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.925.
5 See 47 C.F.R. § 97.403. See also Amendment of Part 97 of the
Commission’s Rules Governing the Amateur Radio
Services, Report and Order, WT Docket No. 04-140, 21 FCC 11643, 11667
¶ 52 (2006) (clarifying that amateur
radio operators who are emergency personnel may use their amateur
radio stations while in paid duty status, but not
addressing the prohibition against transmitting messages on behalf of
an employer).

Previous to this, the American Radio Relay League announced guidelines on the Pecuniary Interest topic. In an email, Laura Smith, Special Counsel for the FCC, stated she was in agreement with those guidelines. That could have been end of story. As the reader can see, from above, it was not.

As some have suggested, I will not remove amateur radio from the Emergency Operations Center, I will not submit my licenses for cancellation, and I will not quit my job.

In the mean time, the emergency manager, Logistics Section Chief, or the Communications Leader has three options:

1. Use the Military Affiliate Radio System and the willing operators there.
2. Use volunteers from Amateur Radio Emergency Service or the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service as a buffer to keying that microphone in behalf of the jurisdiction.
3. Continue to use the Part 90 equipment they already own and hope the hams will honor their Part 97 obligation to be that existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators.

Hams will have to support their local government, if RACES is to be the case. There are the anti-government types that will refuse to do so.

Perhaps this PowerPoint decision tree may be helpful.


March 28, 2009
Pryor Snow
Pryor Snow
Originally uploaded by colston

This weekend has been terrible for the folks in Northwest Oklahoma.

Twitter has been ablaze with stories and reports from #OKice. Amarillo National Weather Service office reported final snow reports for the blizzard.

Nevertheless, the photo here is from Pryor. The current radar shows the storm continues in the area.

The Oklahoma Amateur Radio Emergency Service group was placed on standby for the event. This is a dedicated group of volunteers who give up their time for special events and disasters.

At any rate, this week Oklahoma has seen thunderstorms, thundersnow, fire weather, blizzards, and clear blue skies.

Check your local forecast EVERY day. Then you won’t be in flipflops going into winter weather to rescue someone.