Archive for the ‘warning’ Category

James Spann and warnings

February 23, 2012

TV Meteorologist James Spann says NEVER rely on outdoor sirens for warning … and he’s right.

The outdoor sirens in Altus are used for specific events according to the Emergency Operations Plan drafted by your Local Emergency Planning Committee and adopted by your local elected officials.

They are outdoor warning devices.  They are not designed to warn you when you are inside with the windows shut with the TV turned up loud so you can hear it over your MP3 player plugged into the ears.  They won’t warn you if you can’t hear the ambulance, police car, or fire truck behind you.

THREE ways to get warnings in the area … please pick three ways … Here’s some ideas.

The City has Blackboard Connect.  Make sure you ask for the SMS or Email alerts.

There’s the amateur radio Skywarn group.  There is no charge to listen with your scanner and some groups feed their signals out to

There’s the TV stations, radio stations and even newspapers are publishing electronic information.  See the media list on this page.

The National Weather Service has the all-hazards radio station located just south of Altus on a high hill with a tall tower on it serving North Texas and Southern Oklahoma.  Receivers can be obtained by a number of local vendors.  Get Specific Area Messaging Encoder (SAME) receivers, if you want to sleep at night.

Give me three ways to get an alert because, really, do you LIVE outside?


February 17, 2012
With Spring Storm season just around the corner, Citizens should become aware of information they need to be informed and prepared.
Warnings are issued in Altus in the following manner.
  1. NOAA Weather Radio with Specific Area Messaging Encoder are alarmed by the National Weather Service to give AUTOMATIC audible and, for the hearing impaired, a visual alert.
  2. Sirens around the City will sound as activated by Emergency Management or 911 personnel, when there is a reason to sound the siren. There is NO all clear signal. If the Citizen hears a siren and is outside, the Citizen should quickly move inside. If the Citizen hears the siren and is inside, the Citizen should NOT go outside.
  3. Cable Television Override provides an audible message to subscribers of Cable Television.
  4. Citizens with cellular phone and/or paging service with email capabilities are encouraged to subscribe to services such as offered by EmergencyEThe Oklahoma Emergency Management service, or MyStateUSA.
  5. Citizens are encouraged to listen to local radio stations and area television stations for updates on local storm conditions. A portable, battery-powered AM radio, FM radio, or television set is a must-have for the personal disaster kit.
Warnings versus Watches
Warnings are issued when time is short. Watches are issued for hours at a time.
Clicking the Weather link on the Emergency Management web page will give the Citizen both the current conditions and any watches or warnings in place for the area.
Personal Disaster Kit
After preparing a plan using as a guide, the Citizen should put personal disaster supplies in a kit. The Calendar on the EM web page gives the Citizen a systematic approach to building this kit.
As always, your emergency management department, including a cadre of dedicated volunteers, stands ready to assist the Citizens with answers to questions about mitigation, response, recovery, and preparedness for disasters, both man-made and natural.

January 29, 2011

Today, I spent a few moments in the barber chair quizzing a 20-something on the anniversary of the worst ice storm in Oklahoma history.

The look on her face when I brought up the subject revealed that she did not have pleasant memories of the event.

What is she doing different? Not much except her ex-boyfriends gas stove is no longer available now.

Have any supplies? Have a weather radio? How about the City Alert system?

No … no … AND no.

Next week, help me remember to take an Are You Ready book by for her.

In the mean time, the Red Cross is planning shelter operations for the next winter storm to help residents just like her.

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.

February 12, 2009 is a work about the Lone Grove, OK tornado of February, 2009.

One of the quotes in the comments involved a trucker’s wife. Seems she is happy her husband is out of the State. reports a … “trucker driving through town was also killed when winds slammed into his rig”.

That produces thought that truckers need the same warning the rest of us get. How do they get warnings? is the Trucker’s Weather Watch. It’s a site founded “by Sean Kiaer of Everett, Wa. on October 12 2006 to integrate the Trucking industry in to the National Weather Service’s Severe Weather Reporting Network, known as SKYWARN™.

Folks who go to Skywarn training regularly hear “never try to outrun a tornado”.

As one puzzles over how to get information into the trucks of the trucking industry, remember, in Oklahoma, at truck stops, the National Weather Service NOAA weather radio is played in the background in the rest rooms. Rather than MUZAK, the weather radio provides potentially lifesaving information.

Some, though not all, use Citizen Band radios with weather radios incorporated in them. Some relay on the goodness of dispatchers, friends, and truck stops to keep them informed of weather.

Of course, others are amateur radio operators. Those that travel the highways frequently, along the same route, have the active repeaters programmed into their radios.

Some use their cell phones, if they have a relative or friend in some sort of emergency management or weather service.

Some, it is feared, have nothing.

This is one of the reasons why Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is so important. Can a system be developed to get the life-saving message into the hands of those that need it, before they need it?