June 2000 Meeting
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WEB SITE http://www.sffma.net


Meeting was called to order at 7:45 Pm by JASON SWIFT KE4KYY with 15 present. This was to be a short meeting due to the program that will follow the meeting. There was an introduction of those present. Jason reported that the Picnic almost broke even. A lot of people were served, and Lee had to run out to buy some more food a few times. It was a very nice picnic, and the weather was just right. We suggest that the picnic be held about the same time, next year. The treasurer, SCOTT POWERS KF4FIK gave his financial report and we are happy to say that the club is financially sound. We do owe some insurance payment, so a motion was made by JASON and seconded by JOE AC4TV to pay the bill. Motion passed unanimously.

We must inform you that this was absolutely the last meeting at the old EOC. SAM KQ4MR is trying to make arrangements at the DAVE and MARY ALPER JCC for spae to have the meeting. Nothing as yet decided. LEE and JASON are working to get a meeting room in South Miami. We must keep inmind that the membership base is in South DADE, and moving the site to far North, will hurt attendance and membership. As soon as we ind out where we will meet, you will be the first to know.

REPEATER REPORT the 147.000 is working fine. The repeater had a PA problem, which fortunately was inexpensive to repair, and If we dont work it to death, it should last a long time. The repeaters are not easy to get to being up on the CH 6 tower, so we should use it judiciously. The range is excellent, we get as far as the lowerkeys, but we cant receive any communications from there. It is recommended that we put up a special antenna to correct that. RAY KD4BBM reports The 146.760 works fine. We have hopes to link the 76 with 6m, and 440 frequency. JASON recommends we have a Technical meeting very soon to iron out some of the problems.

CARL KA4HLO the 220 is ok, no one ever uses it. I know we need a controller, and as soon as the New EOC is worked out, he will take care of it. FIELD DAY, as of now it doesn't look like we are going to have one. At this point due to the time, the meeting was set aside for the main program of the night. +++++++++++++++++ We had TOM MURRAY and RUSTY PFOST of the National Weather service as our guest speakers. Both work for the NWC out of the Miami office at the Hurricane Center at FIU in Miami.The topic of the program was The SKYWARN program. Florida has a rather large share of the tornado's that ocur every year. Maybe not as violent as those in the TORNADO ALLEY, but people do get killed and property damages run into the millions of dollars. It is rare that we ever get F4 tornadoes, but we have had some bad F3's. (120 mph winds) Some real bad ones with fatalities and lots of damage occurred in DADE 1925, 1926 in Palm Beach, 1956 in Broward, 1958 in Palm beach, 1959 in DADE, 1965 in broward, and many more in the ensuing years, in fact in Dade in 1997.

Mr Murray says that a HAM presence at the NWC is desperately needed. Right now they dont have any. As in the hurricane center, it would be great if tornado reports can be called in so they can track them on radar. The life span of a tornado is relatively short and difficult to spot on radar. But with the newer dopple radar, we have made breakthoughs in traking. In fact this is the purpose of this meetings, to get tornado spotters who can communcate with the NWC, so we know where to look for them. Also it can save lives by enabling instant awareness to the populace so they can take shelter. We recommend that everyone have a NOAA radio to alert them to danger, in fact, they should be as numerous as smoke detectors. There are those that will alert you when they maybe in Broward, but there are more sophisticated ones that can alert you when they are in your zip code area. It depends what you want to pay for them. Fortunately, the 146.760 repeater is alerted by the NWC as starts transmitting data as soon as it is triggered. It was also stated that if you tune to Channel 2 and watch the picture, when a tornado is near, the picture gets quite snowy. Also it was observed, that on a warm humid winter day with an approaching cold front , can trigger Tornadoes. Thanks to the newer DOPPLER RADARS, early precise warnings can be given. BUT it still takes human spotters to make the system work.

What is needed are spotters, but you have to know what to look for. The NWC does give training sessins for this. In fact those who were at the meeting became Skywarn observers, and will be mailed their authorization. The first thing to observe, is your own safety first. The trick is in observing the clouds and interpreting their meaning. A tornado to be born, needs MOISTURE, INSTABILITY AND SHEAR. Shear causes lift and starts an up/down circulation going. The tornado will begin up in the sky and may work its way down to touching the ground (causing damage) and then going back into the clouds. Unfortunately, in florida we dont have adequate shelters for tornados and hurricanes. We have to realize that our building code does not work, and we have to look out for our own good. If I ever have to build again, I most certainly will create a concrete and steel safe room.

We were shown a video on the different cloud formations. ie. Anvil, barberpole, wall clouds. We have all seen some of these cloud formations. Seeing one doesn't mean a tornado, but it can. At the end, I will list some websites where you can access NWC and see some of these pictures.

Supposing you were watching a cloud formation of a storm that is building and about to pass overhead, and you noticed a hooked portion at the bottom come down and head toward the ground. Would you know what you saw, and who would you call? You just saw a tornado come to life and head down to the surface to do damage and worst. Know it or not, you became a tornado spotter, and you would call the National Weather Center. The call is free. 1-800-850-5058. You would tell them where you are, and the direction you are looking. Also what you are seeing, estimate distance and direction storm is moving, wind speed where you are. Remember, Your Safety comes first. At the weather center, your informstion would be checked out on radar. This is important to your weather people in understanding tornadoes.

As a spotter, you will be exposed to dangerous weather conditions. One of them is lightning. In a tornado conditon there will be lightning and you must not make yourself a target. Dont stand under a tree, in fact dont make yourself the highest object in your vivinity. Get down on the ground and crouch up into ball. You should also seek shelter inside a building or your automobile.

If you are in your home when a tornado arrives, TAKE SHELTER!!! IF YOU HAVE A CELLAR OR A SAFE ROOM , get there. You can get under a sturdy table , or an inside room, or in a small room, or in a doorway. If the storm is an F4 or F5, the best for safety is a cellar. We have all seen pictures of the big ones, and we know what can happen.

The sooner you call, the sooner the alarms can be triggered, and the sooner people can take shelter. This can mean the difference between life and death. There are NOAA radios available that tcan be triggered on by NOAA. As I said, if you are tuned to the 146.760 repeater, you will hear the emergency bulletins as soon as they are sent. Look at the features of the radio, Some will alert in a wide area, not necessarily yours, and the better ones can be made to trigger in your zip code area only.

WIND SPEED ESTIMATES 25 to 31 MPH----large branches in motion, whistling telephone wires. 32 to 38-----Whole tree is in motion 39 to 54----Twigs break off, walking is difficult. 55 to 72----Damage to antennas, shallow trees uprooted 73 to 112--broken windows, roofs damaged, trailers overturned 113+ Roofs tornoff houses, large trees uprooted, weak buildings and trailers destroyed.


WEBSITES FOR SPOTTERS glossary for storm spotters www.nssl.noaa.gov/~nws/branik2.html

NWS HOME PAGE www.srh.noaa.gov/mia

National SKYWARN HOMEPAGE www.skywarn.net

STORM SPOTTERS GUIDE www.nssl.noaa.gov/~nws/spotterguide.html



Rick, N4PBF is published once again the the Miami Herald:

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