Oswego County News Release
Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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May 7, 2009

New Oswego County Skywarn Coordinator Leads Weather Watchers

Passing of the torch - Judy LaMay, KC2SUM (center), accepts the Skywarn clipboard and paperwork from retiring coordinator Brien Mathews, KA2AON (left), as John Darling, K2QQY, Radio Officer for Oswego County Emergency Communicators, looks on.

Fulton - A new “Skywarn” coordinator is continuing the tradition of solid reporting during severe weather in Oswego County.

Judy LaMay, KC2SUM, became the Oswego County Skywarn Coordinator May 1 as Brien Mathews, KA2AON, retired after many years in the post. LaMay will coordinate the efforts of the Oswego County Emergency Communicators as they relay information about severe thunderstorms and other severe weather to the National Weather Service.

Skywarn spotters assist the National Weather Service in making decisions about weather warnings and tracking path of severe weather. Many, though not all, spotters trained by the National Weather Service are amateur radio operators who transmit their observations by radio.

”For many years, Brien was the voice heard on the amateur radio frequencies taking reports of severe weather conditions and using a combination of radio and telephone, and relaying them to the National Weather Service,” said John Darling, K2QQY, Radio Officer for the Oswego County Emergency Communicators. “Brien was thanked for a job well done during the OCEC/RACES meeting recently as he turned over the paperwork to Judy.”

The Oswego County Emergency Communicators have participated in the National Weather Service's Skywarn program for over 25 years. Amateur radio operators and others have attended classes for severe weather spotting held by the National Weather Service, and are trained to identify severe weather characteristics.

“While the National Weather Service has a number of devices for detecting severe thunderstorms such as Doppler radar, satellite, and lightning detection networks, the most important tool for observing thunderstorms is the trained eye of the storm spotter,” a spokesperson for the federal agency said. “Storm spotters are an indispensable part of the severe local warning program.”

“Weather radar may show that an area is experiencing a heavy rain when, in fact, hail and high winds are being observed on the ground,” Darling noted.

Volunteer amateur radio spotters in the region use a network of repeater antennas to provide weather reports to the National Weather Service's Buffalo forecast office.

The Oswego County Emergency Communicators' participation in the Skywarn program was a key element in the StormReady designation Oswego County received from the National Weather Service.

“Judy brings not only her amateur radio operating capabilities to the position but also her desire to help keep her neighbors and community safe whenever severe weather is imminent,” Darling said. “We look forward to quiet, clear weather under her leadership.”

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