Our first every Skywarn training class went off as a big success. I counted 17 total guests in attendance last Saturday. We had hams come from as far as Winchester, IN to see the presentation. Dave Tucek, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, did an excellent job of presenting material that was very interesting and relevant to both radio amateurs and Scouts. It was good to see many members of the WD9BSA club in attendance. What also impressed me was the number of non-hams in attendance. I counted about 5 Cub/Boy Scouts in the audience. There were also multiple adult Scout leaders and one full-time staff member from Camp K. Part of our mission is to bring amateur radio to Scouts, but we’re also bringing useful information of to others in the process!
The presentation covered four main points. History of the NWS, the duties of the NWS, weather hazards, and education required to enter a weather-related career. The NWS key mission is: Protect Life and Property. Severe weather generates three very dangerous conditions: wind, water, and lightening. Flooding is weather’s number one killer. When encountering flood waters remember the quote, “Turn around, don’t drown!”
Weather’s number two killer is tornadoes. Contrary to popular belief, they can occur in all 50 states, at any time of the day, and in any season of the year. More people are injured by the flying debris than the actual physical effects of the tornado. They can be identified bye hook-shaped echoes on doppler radar and wall clouds forming below the local cloud base. The safety quote to remember here is, “Get in, get down, and cover up!” Walls offer layers of protection, so keep as many between you and the outside as possible.
The final dangerous weather condition covered is lightening. It’s weather’s number three killer. When determining distance from lightening, count seconds from the visible strike to the sound of thunder. Every five seconds is one mile in distance. The suggested safe time to wait before resuming outdoor activities is 30 minutes after the last witnessed lightening/thunder event. It normally forms from shelf cloud that hang low and parallel to the ground. Many people use the popular Weather Bug app on their smart phones. One of the features it included a lightening warning. David recommended this app. The safety quote to remember for lightening safety is, “When thunder roars, go indoors!”
I hope this brief review of the Skywarn training has been informative and helpful. Dave said he’d definitely be interested in doing a presentation again. I could tell that he is very passionate about his occupation. Thanks for your time and enthusiasm, Dave!