Tag Archives: tornado

Monthly Meeting for April 2012

Again this month, we have a large group attending the meeting in the EOC. Last month our meeting was in the form of the NWS Severe Weather Spotter class. Reportedly there were over 300 in attendance for that class. Numerous changes upcoming in our leadership assignments, enough for a future blog post.


ARES/RACES Volunteer meeting in the EOC

However … this does NOT mean that we have enough participants . . . . . .

If you have a current FCC Amateur Radio Operator license, we strongly encourage you to visit our website (http://hmcraces.org) and register your station and capabilities with our organization. We do not require you to spend a lot of time or effort with routine stuff, but during an emergency activity it can be very valuable to pool our resources and know how to contact our members.

Stay tuned for further details. This is the 1st anniversary of the super-outbreak of tornadoes that ravaged this area last year. We have seen a tremendous increase in new radio licenses, and hope to draw them in to this organization to help them learn how to become a valuable asset to the community.

Thanks  /;^)


NWS expresses appreciation to Amateur Radio Community

One of the first orders of business at our most recent monthly meeting, was the presentation of a Letter of Appreciation from the National Weather Service.

K4RGG accepting NWS recognition letter from Dave Nadler

K4RGG receiving NWS appreciation from Dave Nadler

The framed letter is signed by :
Christopher Darden
Meteorologist In Charge
National Weather Service, Huntsville, AL

and was presented to the Amateur Radio Community by
David Nadler
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
Weather Forecast Office Huntsville

The letter was accepted on behalf of all amateurs by Rolf Goedhart – K4RGG.

NWS letter of appreciation dated May 9, 2011, click to enlarge

The NWS Letter of Appreciation

(here is the parent article – for additional links)
( https://w4hmc.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/alabama-tornado-outbreak/ )

Initial update 20110428

This is an update I posted on our internal website the next morning (I got my laptop on the internet via my cellphone, but battery time was limited).

the view from the Incident Command Post in Madison County

Anderson Hills, our 'Ground Zero'

Update Thr 28 – 11:20 am local CDT
ARES EC team has met with EMA and VOAD last nite, and again this morning.
Here is a quick synopsis from this morning’s meeting :
* Search & rescue until at least noon. No volunteers allowed in ……….
* All of N.Ala from MS to GA is without power, plan for five days without.
Athens may have some power, but maybe not for long.
Fayetteville, tn has full service.
* Madison County was hit badly; Limestone, Marshall, Morgan may be worse
= = stay near home, help your neighbors
* Dusk-to-dawn curfew, no school before Tue.
* Conserve, conserve, conserve, conserve, conserve – water, food, fuel, batteries
* Stay off the roads, stay off the transmit button – unless essential.
* Do NOT call 911 unless dire emergency,
all other calls to 211 for assistance.
* Phone in the EOC radio room is 256-xxx-yyyy (pots-line)
* Currently EMA has no internet access in the EOC.
(I am posting this from my laptop at home via cel-phone modem)
We are using 146.94 primary for net, initially conducted from w4hmc
– please – always listen first, minimize Tx.
147.22back channel for coordination, fail-over if 94 repeater goes down.
Rolf will be at EOC
Tom will be NCS at EOC
Alan will be meeting with N.AL Medical Reserve Corps,
to go setup  field clinic at Sparkman School
Chuck will be @ home, generator, HF liasion
John getting fuel, then back to EOC for alternate NCS
Jordan sleep some, refuel, then available @ EOC
Mark available to coordinate resources/volunteers
Managing staffing for comm services at :
* Red Cross
* Sparkman Medical
* Salvation Army Canteen Truck
* United Way
Woody will likely be en-route to Red Cross
Doug will be checking in with Southern Baptist Relief Org
Tim available for hospital ( likely check in with and go to Crestwood)
Please stay tuned when you can, DO NOT try to ‘just show-up’ to help.
As much as it is appreciated,
* the Sheriff and/or National Guard will NOT let you in.

More later. /;^)

###### WB5RMG is Alan Sieg ## http://wb5rmg.somenet.net ######
ARRL/ARES Assistant Emergency Coordinator, Madison County Alabama
I wanted to add these links for some additional postings on my blog http://wb5rmg.wordpress.com – these were often done by flashlight via cel-phone modem once I got home in the evenings. I was occupied 7am to 7pm at the Sparkman Clinic, and had no cell service up there as the cell towers were damaged…
These posts have links to my DropBox photo galleries as well :
Thanks  again for your prayers and support…  /;^)
(here is the parent article – for additional links)

Alabama Tornado Outbreak

tornado warnings issued

Tornado warnings issued from Huntsville on Apr 27, 2011

On April 27th 2011, Madison County witnessed a destructive tornado event – as part of a massive storm system that resulted in over 305 tornadoes in a three day period across the southeastern US. This is twice the previous record for a single event, which was set in 1974. There were approximately 326 fatalities during the entire outbreak from April 25 to April 28; 236 of these were in Alabama. Along with numerous smaller tornadoes, Madison County caught the tail end of an EF5 tornado that started near Hackleburg in Marion County, and ended in Franklin County TN – a total track of over 100 miles, with a maximum path width of 1.25 miles, and peak winds of over 200 mph. More detail is available from these NWS links :

These storms in North Alabama also produced an unprecedented electrical power outage in the TVA distribution system, resulting from damage to over 300 transmission line towers. With no electricity, most major services were shut down completely and communications were extremely limited.

This is exactly the type of scenario that hundreds of Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) groups practice and prepare for. Our Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency (HMCEMA) recognizes that our group has these capabilities, and provides us with facility space and equipment within their Emergency Operations Center (EOC). From this base we can help coordinate communications and relief efforts between the various agencies. Even before we had received word from TVA that we would likely be without power for several days, our group of ham-radio operators were activating the plans we have in place on how to assist with the tornado recovery.

Over the following week our ARES/RACES operators would provide communications and information coordination support covering a wide range of subject matter, for a diverse support effort. The power outage only lasted for 5 or 6 days, but the clean-up and recovery will be on-going for months.

On this blog we will be posting various ‘Situation Reports’ (SitReps) as we generated and dispatched to our Alabama state level counterparts at the AlabamaEMA EOC. Other groups may find these useful in looking forward into their own response plans. Feel free to post comments and/or questions. We will review these reports ourselves to look for ways to improve upon our own response… We know we can do even better. We wish we will never have to.

We have also received congratulatory commendations from the National Weather Service, for our valued participation in the spotting and tracking of these storms as they swept across our region – as well as from our sponsors at the HMC EMA – thanking our group for exceptional service to the community.
As time allows these will also be posted here.

Thanks  /;^)

(adding these links to some follow-on updates and SitReps):
internal update
SitRep 20110501
SitRep 20110503
SitRep 20110505
SitRep 20110509

NWS appreciation letter