Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 15th North Texas Tornadoes / Weather Channel features Arlington OEM and Sirens

Granbury tornado: EF4
Cleburne tornado: EF3

At least 6 fatalities, dozens injured, 7 still unaccounted for. 

Link to NWS Preliminary Map pinpointing location of 10 tornadoes along with radar images and a few photos. There may have been more than 10. [UPDATE: 5/16 8:44p.m. CST) 17 tornadoes - see latesed NWS update.) Most counties in this area were under tornado warnings at some point during the evening. RACES activated at request of NWS at 1835. I was called into the Arlington EOC to serve as Net Control for K5OEM and passed on RACES and NWS updates to the EM several seconds before they were officially announced and the same info passed on by media, who get their heads up from the same source. Thankfully for us, but so unfortunate for others, the worst of the weather stayed just west in Parker County and southwest or south in Hood and Johnson Counties. And to the Northwest as well. (See Maps of North Texas) Because most severe activity remained out of county, Tarrant County RACES members primarily stood by, though a few headed in the southern section headed toward the storms in Johnson County (Cleburne). Also see Mike Smith Enterprises blog for additional radar images and information.

The Weather Channel recently did a piece on the Arlington Siren System and interviewed Chief Carrol of the Arlington Fire Department, Irish Hancock - Emergency Manager, and Kwa Heri Harris - Emergency Management Coordinator. This is the OEM and some of the people I do volunteer work for and with assisting with siren tests, severe weather and sometimes public service events.

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Abbreviation Key

AARC - Arlington Amateur Radio Club
- Amateur Radio Emergency Service
- Community Emergency Response Team
EMST - Emergency Management Support Team
- Emergency Operations Center - part of the OEM
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
- National Weather Service
NWS FWD - National Weather Service - Fort Worth/Dallas
OEM - Office of Emergency Management
- Public Service Event - ARES Net
RACES - Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services
- TExas Severe Storm Associaton