Ozarks Winter Outlook: Warm

2016-2017 Winter Temperature OutlookForecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center say a weak and short-lived La Nina condition over the Pacific Ocean may continue our current warm and dry pattern into this coming winter.  The Climate Prediction Center issued a La Nina watch earlier this October, predicting the climate phenomenon is likely to develop in late fall or early winter. La Nina favors drier, warmer winters in the southern U.S and wetter, cooler conditions in the northern U.S.

According to N.O.A.A., Southwest Missouri falls into the “equal chance” category for precipitation, meaning that there is not a strong enough climate signal in our area to shift the odds.  So we have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal precipitation.

However, the Climate Prediction Center is saying that we do have a greater than 33% chance of above-normal temperatures for this coming winter throughout the Springfield, Missouri County Warning Area.  Given the way this fall has been going, this outlook doesn’t seem far-fetched.

Could this added warmth translate to increased severe weather potential during the late fall and winter months for our area?  Anything is possible, so the best bet is to always remain prepared.

Click Here for the full story from N.O.A.A.

The Great Central U.S. Shakeout

Great Central U.S. ShakeOutAt 10:20 a.m. on October 20, 2016, millions of people “Dropped, Covered, and Held On” in The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, the region’s largest earthquake drill ever! Participating locally was the Douglas County Amateur Radio Club (D.C.A.R.) which held a net on their repeater at 145.150 (-) PL 162.2.

As we were reminded last month, major earthquakes can happen anywhere you live, work, or travel.  On September 3, 2016, Oklahoma had its strongest earthquake on record measuring a magnitude 5.8.  Many of us throughout the Springfield, Missouri County Warning Area felt this quake – some of us in our western counties quite strongly

The annual ShakeOut drills serve as a chance to practice how to protect ourselves and for everyone to become prepared. The goal is to prevent a major earthquake from becoming a catastrophe.

A “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill is important because it teaches us to respond quickly since we may only have seconds to protect ourselves in an earthquake before strong shaking knocks us down, or something falls on us.

Millions of people worldwide have participated in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills since 2008. The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is now held on the third Thursday of October each year.  If you missed this year’s ShakeOut, there’s always next year.  In the meantime, here are some tips on how you and your family can be prepared:

Get Prepared for Earthquakes
• Do a “hazard hunt” for items that might fall during earth
quakes and secure them.
• Create a personal or family disaster plan.
• Organize or refresh your emergency supply kits.
• Identify and correct any issues in your home’s structure.
• Other actions are at www.earthquakecountry.org.

N1CLH: On the Air and In the Air

N1CLHMost of the time, when thinking about amateur radio, we usually consider the location of the person on the other side of the microphone as either being inside their ham shack, driving down the highway, or walking around while talking on their HT. It’s not often when we look up into the friendly skies while trying to make our next contact. That may change in the near future as one of our own Skywarn participants earns his private pilot certificate.

By day, Conway Hawn, N1CLH, practices law in Houston, Missouri. For the past year, during his spare time, he has been working toward meeting the requirements to obtain his private pilot certificate. This entails passing a medical exam, obtaining between 40 and 80 flight hours, passing a written exam, passing an oral exam, and passing a “check ride” with a Designated Pilot Examiner.

“I’m hoping it will take me about another 6 to 12 months to obtain my certificate,” says Hawn who lives 2 1/2 hours round trip from the nearest flight instructor. This long drive, when factored in with his work schedule and other factors, only leaves time for about three lessons per month.

N1CLH took his first solo flight in September in a Cessna 152. “It was a blast!” says an enthusiastic Hawn who has been interested in aviation since he was a young child. “My interest was rekindled last year when I attended a field trip with my son at the local airport,” he says.

With all of his attention focused on learning whatever topic his instructor is trying to teach, N1CLH has not yet had a chance to operate amateur radio from up in the air. He says that may change after he has earned his private pilot certificate. Right now, Conway Hawn, N1CLH, uses his Yaesu FT-1XD HT to monitor local airport traffic on the VHF AM aircraft band. Once he’s in the air and has the ability to operate, he says that we can certainly expect to hear him operating from his aeronautical mobile right here on the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn repeater system.

Fall Weather Preparedness Tips

Most of us may think of fall as a relatively calm season bursting with color from beautiful foliage, filled with laughter and fun from hayrides and corn mazes, and stuffed to the gills with turkey and pumpkin pie.  It’s understandable for us to assume that tornadoes only happen in the spring and hurricanes only form during the summer.  For the most part, these assumptions are correct. However, as we’ve been reminded this week, hurricanes and tornadoes are indeed a fall weather hazard too.  In addition, wildfires, intense winds, flooding, droughts, early season snow and more can also occur during the fall months.

Along with keeping our amateur radio equipment ready for emergency use, we should also get ready for fall weather with the following preparedness tips from the National Weather Service. Stay safe this fall!

1. Know Your Risk: Check the Weather Forecast Daily

Start your day with weather.gov, whether it’s on a computer, phone or social media. Check the forecast before you leave home so that you’ll know what to expect during the day.

2. Take Action: Prepare for Weather Hazards

To be weather-ready, it takes more than just knowing the forecast. You must be prepared for it. Get ready with an emergency supplies kit and a family communications plan. An emergency supplies kit is merely a box containing vital supplies that you may need during an emergency, such as food, water and medicine, while a family communications plan lists alternative ways of getting in touch during an emergency.

3. Be A Force of Nature: Share Your Weather Preparedness Story

You are influential. Take a photo of your emergency supplies kit and share it on social media, or simply go next door and talk to the neighbors about what to do if a storm strikes. Building a Weather-Ready Nation is a job for all of us. If you’re looking for things to share, see the info-graphics and social media plans in the sidebar. They’re free to take and share with your family and friends.


NWS Hazards Simplification Project

National Weather Service Hazard Simplification Project

The National Weather Service is striving to support a “Weather-Ready Nation” by ensuring you are aware of and prepared for the variety of weather and water-based hazards we experience across the country every day. One factor in supporting this awareness and preparedness is to make sure their messaging is as clear and focused as possible.

For decades, the NWS has used the Watch, Warning, and Advisory (WWA) system to alert users of forecasted hazards. In many ways, the WWA system has been highly effective in protecting life and property. With that said, as they have collected feedback during the course of this project, they have learned that some users find the WWA terms confusing. Also, users are sometimes confused about how to interpret and distinguish among the large number of individual WWA “products” (e.g., Wind Advisory, Flood Watch, Winter Storm Warning).

Based on this initial feedback, and with support from social and behavioral scientists, NWS is exploring alternatives for more effectively communicating our hazard messages. The NWS says it is not making any changes to the operational system at this time but that they are carefully considering a number of options, as follows:

  • Keep the current WWA system as is;
  • Make small to moderate changes; or
  • Make a transformational change to the WWA system.

Given that the WWA system has been in place for a very long time, the National Weather Service says it will be important to weigh any and all new ideas carefully, and to consider making initial small improvements while they continue to investigate the possibility of larger change. To support both efforts, the National Weather Service is collecting public comments on these options as they move forward.

Visit their new “Hazard Simplification” webpage at http://www.weather.gov/hazardsimplification/ and let your voice be heard.  You can read more information about this project and participate in an online survey.