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Digital Net Announcement
Hall County and surrounding area Skywarn spotters were asked to activate by the Hall County EMA director last night. We activated the WE4EOC station 29 January 2010 at 19:00 hours with a test of the equipment. At 20:00 hours we initiated a Hall ARES/Skywarn informational net that ran at 20:00, 20:30 and 21:00 hours. Based on information reported by our assets and an amended weather report issued by the National Weather Service for Hall County, the EMA director made the call to stand down our local activation.
The NWS issues special forecasts to local EMA's, the D.O.T. and other public services entities. The amended report suggested that the event was not going to be as significant for Hall County as first predicted. Thus, we officially deactivated the WE4EOC station at approximately 21:10 but continued to test the equipment with NBEMS and phone simulated emergency traffic. At 22:00 hours the EMA was deactivated but the director was continually updated by 911 and had any reports of hazardous conditions been reported we would have been reactivated. The EMA director expressed thanks for our support of the local community.
We stood down our assets with the caveat that if the NWS changed the forecast for a more likely ice event we would reactivate our spotters. This never happened and at this point the NWS is not showing any active advisories, warnings or watches. I appreciate the people that participated in last nights event. We aided the EMA in making a critical desision in whether or not to keep the office staffed during the night.
Hall ARES/Skywarn also activated and participated in a net this past Sunday, 24 Jan 2010, when a vortex/tornado signature was reported over South Hall. We activated our spotters via the LARC 146.670 machine within minutes of the initial report and maintained an eye on the sky for a couple of hours. We were able to pass one report into the NWS on local street flooding which culminated in a flood warning for Hall County. We also opend the WE4EOC station for that event.
While we generally only activate for severe weather when a WARNING is issued by the NWS, we will sometimes activate at our discretion or the EMA directors request for WATCH's and ADVISORIES. Please remember that next week is severe weather awareness week and we will be participating in a field exercise to monitor the Hall County tornado sirens. Pleas check our discussion board as www.HallCountyARES.com for more information. As a reminder here are the levels of hazard awareness situations:
WARNING: A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent or likely. A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property. People in the path of the storm need to take protective action.
WATCH: A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so. A watch means that hazardous weather is possible. People should have a plan of action in case a storm threatens and they should listen for later information and possible warnings especially when planning travel or outdoor activities.
ADVISORY: An advisory is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent or likely. Advisories are for less serious conditions than warnings, that cause significant inconvenience and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life or property.
All Hall County and surrounding area Skywarn spotters are being asked to activate and be prepared to help with tonight's storm. The EMA director has asked us to keep alert for accumulating ice and snow on roadways, trees and power lines. I will be activating the EMA radio station at some time between 1800 and 1900 hours this evening. If any of the other EOC response team members feel they are capable of making it safely to and from the EMA we might could use a relief operator. I will be preparing to spend the night if necessary.