Monday, April 27, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
WFAA TV (Dallas) report and blog re Wildfires:
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Like the rest of the country, shivering from a very late series of cold fronts & blizzards, DFW had it's second latest freeze this morning. Average last freeze is March 13th. Latest freeze on record is April 14th. This morning it was 30 at my house, heavy frost on my car windshield, and the pansies looked dead - later recovered. UPDATE: officially it only got down to 36 at DFW airport. The NWS does indicate that Arlington, however, dropped down to 30.
Friday, April 3, 2009
The Cowtown - Marathon on February 28th: It was 34 at race start and the winds were howling through downtown Fort Worth straight out of the north at 35+ mph. The RACES coordinator assigned me as radio operator to the Half Marathon Press Van (call sign eventually trimmed down to "Half Press," but without a media representative it was just me and the driver in his warm pick-up truck. We drove out to the Split where racesr divide and those running the Half Marathon head back downtown. After the bulk of the runners had passed, we were asked to follow one of the wheelchair participants back to town, then were sent out to locate the position of the last runners in both the Marathon and Half Marathon. I was back at the RACES Net Control trailer by 11am, long after most of the Marathon Runners had completed the race. It was mid-40's and the wind was still gusting over 40. PHOTO: The Bass Brothers' compound is on the other side of the wall:TESSA CONFERENCE - March 14th: I didn't make it after all.
SEVERE WEATHER / RACES DEPLOYMENT: I've activated twice in the past 2 weeks to log RACES severe reports at the EOC. In both cases storms did not significantly impact Arlington. The ones on March 30th stayed well north, dumping golfball to baseball size hail on the Texas Motor Speedway (where RACES members are stationed for just such an event) and across the northern portions of Tarrant & Dallas Counties. The RACES Net for this storm seemed somewhat disorganized and as soon as it became clear that the storms would stay well north, I essentially quit logging. A small cell to our southwest moved across southern Arlington with heavy but brief rains. As soon as it moved out of the County, we shut down the OEM/EOC. I got home about 12:30 a.m. Depending on the traffic lights, it takes me 5 to 7 minutes to drive to the OEM. Getting ready takes me a bit longer, so if I'm aware weather is moving in, I'm already watching its progress online and try to get ready ahead of time, just in case. The RACES Net is not activated until and unless the NWS issues a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Tarrant County, at which the RACES Net and various local OEM's and the Arlington EOC also activates. Not a problem during business hours. Most storms, unfortunately, come through here later in the day. RACES members are well aware of predicted storm formation, watch the weather updates and then the storms as they approach from hundreds of miles away. Those doing storm spotting typically deploy before a warning is even issued in order to be in place as storms approach the county. RACES members are also located a some of the local television stations, who do a superb job with weather events, in order to advise on-air meteorologists of spotter reports in real-time.
FIRST WEDNESDAY Siren Tests - March/April: Radio problems with the one on 4th March resulted in the need to switch to the "back-up repeater," which I did not have pre-programmed into my radio. Although I could hear traffic perfectly, it wasn't until just before the end of the 20 or 25 minutes test cycle that I became aware that no one could hear me. Unfounded negative comments were made specifically using my name by a couple of guys speculating on matters that were untrue. It takes a lot to make me angry, but being publically accused as being the culprit for problems I had nothing to do with ... Let's just say I'm reconsidering participation in radio activities if deliberate negative public speculation, which should never have been made an issue on air, even IF they had been correct, are the sort of stuff that goes on.
I did, however, put aside my rare royally PO'd miffedness long enough to participate in the April 1st siren test. Although all the sirens sound (hopefully), only a few can be visually observed each month due to the number of volunteers who do this versus the 49 sirens scattered around the City of Arlington. This month I observed siren #16, which is located on the southwest side of the large UT Arlington Sports Complex. UTA holds its warning tests on the same day just prior to the city test. As I was waiting, I could hear their undulating electronic siren wail as well as the spoken warnings and instructions that are broadcast all over campus.
ARES - Amateur Radio Emergency Service
CERT - Community Emergency Response Team
EMST - Emergency Management Support Team
EOC - Emergency Operations Center - part of the OEM
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
NWS - National Weather Service
NWS FWD - National Weather Service - Fort Worth/Dallas
OEM - Office of Emergency Management
PSE - Public Service Event - ARES Net
RACES - Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services
TESSA - TExas Severe Storm Associaton