Yes, as I look outside, I still see snow. Nevertheless, severe weather season is rapidly approaching. I want to take this opportunity to bring the list up to speed on a few items.
First, for Amateur Radio Operators in the 17 county WARN area of responsibility surrounding Cincinnati, we are back on our weekly net schedule. Starting immediately, we will meet on the 146.88- repeater every Wednesday at 19:30, Cincinnati time. As in previous years, our secondary frequency is 14709+. Being the beginning of the season, the first couple of weeks will probably be spent reviewing our reporting criteria and radio procedures. We encourage all Amateur Radio Operators in our area to check in. The use of the 440MHz system in KY is still being worked out for this year.
Secondly, this is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Indiana. There are two statewide tornado drills scheduled for Wednesday, March 5. The first will be 2:00-2:30pm EST. The second will be 7:00-7:30pm EST. During these drills, schools, public agencies, media outlets and others will test their readiness. Amateur Radio Operators are encouraged to participate by checking into their normal nets. WARN expects to be on the air for both Indiana drills. The net frequency will be the usual 146.88- (unless unexpected problems move us to a backup frequency. It’s a test for us too!) I have been told that stations in Ripley County, IN can check into their regular net on 146.805-, for relay through WARN to the NWS. Stations in KY and OH may also check in for this event.
Next, March is Severe Weather Awareness Month in Kentucky. A statewide tornado drill is scheduled for Tuesday morning, March 11. We do not know the exact time as of now. The event is similar to the Indiana drills detailed above. WARN net control should also be on the air for this drill.
More information on Ohio’s Severe Weather Awareness event will be sent shortly.
Finally, now would be a good time to review your own preparedness. Make sure people in your family, at your place of employment, and schools are aware of what steps to take in the event severe weather approaches. Make sure you have proper equipment and supplies. Especially important is a NOAA weather radio. Battery powered weather radios and broadcast radios are your best bet on getting the latest severe weather information, even if power is interrupted.