As many of you know, WARN was activated by the National Weather Service on Sunday 5/24/98 at about 4:30 P.M. for severe weather occurring in the Cincinnati Tri-state area. A few SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNINGS were issued in the area, as well as an URBAN AND SMALL STREAMS FLOOD WARNING for Hamilton County.
Yours truly was the Net Control Operator. I was paged about 4:30 by Vern, WD4EEB asking if I could take net control duties. I left immediately and Vern ran the net until I got to our control station at WLW radio. My car was pelted with 1/2″ hail on I-75 near Hopple Street. Our control station is on the 4th floor looking southeast. I have to tell you that we had an awesome view of a vivid lightning display. Cloud to ground strikes were occurring several times a minute. Even though lightning is not a reporting criteria, it was nevertheless very impressive. In fact, our host, WLW, was knocked off the air for a while by lightning.
Most of the reports received were of hail ranging from 3/4″ to 1″ on the west side of Cincinnati. Storms also moved across Campbell County and Clermont County. A few reports of POSSIBLE rotation were received. Luckily, other spotters in the same vicinity were able to view the clouds in question clearly from other angles and indicated no SUSTAINED rotation was present. This is exactly the way the system is supposed to work. A large number of field spotters can view storms from all sides and we can provide verified reports to the NWS. Remember, tornado and funnel producing clouds will exhibit SUSTAINED rotation for a number of minutes, so keep an eye out for this.
The net was closed about 7:30 as severe weather left the area or dissipated. Steve – N8TFD arrived toward the end of the net, in case it went longer. Thanks to everyone who participated. This was a very good net. Most, if not all of the reports received met severe weather reporting criteria.
One point of clarification. We occasionally hear questions why the net is not activated when people have vivid cloud to ground lightning. Lightning is not a severe weather reporting criteria. It is also not a criteria for activating the net. Remember ALL thunderstorms contain lightning. They are all dangerous in that regard, severe or not.
Thanks again to participants in Sunday’s net.