On April 18, 2012, representatives from the National Weather Service Office in Jackson, KY attended the Region 4 ARES Meeting in Paintsville, KY. During the meeting several local amateur radio clubs were presented with a Public Service Award for outstanding service in providing timely storm reports, which were vital to the National Weather Service operations during the historic March 2, 2012 tornado outbreak. The following clubs were represented at the meeting and given the NWS Public Service Award:
Pictured (left to right): Brian Prater KY4BP (representing Pike County ARES Group), Fred Jones WA4SWF (representing Big Sandy Amateur Radio Club), Gary Oliver KK4CZO (representing Letcher County Amateur Radio Club), Wayne Hensley AF4YJ (representing Harlan County Amateur Radio Club), John Hager N4KJU (representing Amateur Radio Community Services), Johnnie Brashear KY4JLB (representing Kentucky Mountains Amateur Radio Club), and Tony Edwards KJ4FYM, Warning Coordination Meteorologist NWS Jackson, KY.
Amateur radio is a vital service to the community during a disaster. On March 2nd, when land-line and cell phone communications were lost to the tornado ravaged areas of Magoffin, Johnson and Martin Counties, amateur radio was one of the only ways to communicate to the outside world.
The National Weather Service in Jackson has developed a key partnership with several area amateur radio groups. During severe weather events, area hams participate in a SKYWARN net relaying reports of severe weather to a net control operator, who then relays this information to NWS Jackson via 2-meter radio and/or internet chatroom. On March 2nd, local hams not only reported the weather that was affecting their local area during the event, but also worked late into the evening relaying reports of damage and other information to emergency responders and NWS Jackson.
We want to thank all area amateur radio operators for their service during the March 2nd event, and other recent winter weather and severe weather events!