Saturday, August 24, 2019

Amateur Radio Operators Assist Southlake During Severe Weather

The National Weather Service (NWS) has a volunteer program consisting of storm spotters called the NWS SKYWARN program. These storm spotters identify and describe severe storms in their area and relay that information to the National Weather Service in the DFW area.

Did you know that there are a few SKYWARN volunteers in the City of Southlake that work out of the DPS Headquarters building in Southlake every time a threat of severe weather rolls around?  At a moments notice they respond, fire up their amateur radio equipment, view the radars and are ready to relay any pertinent weather information that could impact the community, such as high winds, tornadoes, and hail.

North East Tarrant Amateur Radio Club (NETARC) members, Ken McMillion and David Barnes watch the weather on radar and chat with other storm spotters stationed across Texas and Oklahoma. They communicate with each other about what they are seeing by use of ham radio and in addition to the radar, it helps them understand what the storm is actually producing before it gets to Tarrant County. The volunteers then relay any vital information to the local emergency management office. “I could not do my job without them, they are a true asset to the community.” said Amanda Meneses, City of Southlake Emergency Manager.

If a disaster were to strike, knocking out internet, telephones and radio communications, the volunteers who are also ham radio operators could help build a new line of communication.  “When all else fails, ham radio works” said Meneses. “After a large storm if all means of modern communications were down, we would step in with amateur radio operators to provide that service so that the responders would have communication”

The North East Tarrant Amateur Radio Club (NETARC) is based in Southlake, Texas, and draws its members from Grapevine, Keller, Colleyville as well as many other cities throughout the Northeast part of Tarrant County, Texas. The club was founded in 1999 and formed by the merger of the former Grapevine and Southlake Amateur Radio Clubs.