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  #121 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2012, 4:41 AM
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Every spotter, ARS/GMRS licensed or not, should be aware of the potential for severe weather affecting them. And if they observe criteria weather, they should report it. I can call it in via an 800 number if I don't happen to have a radio with me.
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  #122 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2012, 8:23 AM
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Originally Posted by PJH View Post
I thought the NWS espotter stuff was for NWS use..so would make sense to me, vs needing to annouce it commerical and non-commerical use.
What I'm saying is that the information doesn't flow to all sources with eSpotter. And the infrastructure is falling by the wayside, which is why many offices don't use it.

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Not against it, but I think I'd have more faith in the espotter getting right to the NWS without the middlemen in the way
There are actually less middlemen with SN It goes directly onto their radar screen for whatever program they are using. Plus it goes right to the EMA for any needed siren activation, and the media for any public dissemination.

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Of course the phone is the best way anyways
Ehh - you must never have tried it during a big outbreak
  #123 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2012, 8:34 AM
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It should be noted that rdale is heavily involved with spotternetwork's senior leadership which is why he pushes it so hard.
Which nets me $0.00, and when you include all the time I spend in training, development and review (especially from those who whine when they get a suggestion for improving their reports in the future) it's a loss for me. So you are correct, I'm heavily involved and I push it hard because it's the right thing to do.

Last edited by rdale; 05-08-2012 at 8:50 AM..
  #124 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2012, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rdale View Post
There are actually less middlemen with SN. It goes directly onto their radar screen for whatever program they are using. Plus it goes right to the EMA for any needed siren activation, and the media for any public dissemination.
Whose radar screen? Does it show up on the forecaster's screens at the NWS?

Whose EMA office? I know my EMA Director doesn't see it. Also, my EMA office does not activate the sirens. They are activated by the county dispatch center when NWS issues a warning.

I see a lot of generalizations being made this thread that are certainly not universal.
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  #125 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2012, 12:34 PM
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Spotter Network reports and positions are overlayed on several RADAR programs and APPs. The most common are Gibson Ridge (GR Level 3 / Earth etc), Storm Lab, PYKL3 and RADARSCOPE. EMAs & Skywarn groups can use this data to co-ordinate their spotters.

I for one am a big fan of SN it is easy to use and you can't make a report unless you pass the test. Skywarn does not require a test of skills only that you can use a phone or a radio.

In addition e-Spotter is no longer in use at MEG & MRX with many more abandoning the system. The sad part of all this is there is no universal system to report severe criteria because not all NWS offices watch SN or take it seriously.

My personal observation is that EMAs are becoming more hostile to spotters and chasers and for good reason. Many are thrill ride - reality TV types looking for a jolly and are out there screwing it up for those of us that really care. Many EMAs in my circle are good at their jobs and major team type players but there is a core of managers that look upon us weather geeks as "self deploying weather militia". One way to mend this rift is to weed out the yahoos by requiring a test to verify competence and then be allowed to report severe criteria, the other is cooperation between EMA & chasers with a, "We want your reports and expertise but please follow our guidelines" attitude.

IMHO SpotterNetwork is the only system even remotely poised to make this work and potentially bring together a LOT of resources and save a LOT of lives but only if we can make a standard that everyone agrees on and we can all put our egos aside long enough to get it done.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by krokus View Post
NWS is part of NOAA, so both are correct, in that regard.

SkyWarn nets are activated locally, sometimes at the request of the local NWS office.
No.


Just No.


You can call in reports any time if you see something reportable whether or not there is a warning. So in reality, a spotter is always "activated" by default.

NWS Does not activate spotters. Maybe the call in volunteers to take reports over the radio. Sometimes they sponsor a ham radio club, but never do they "activate" spotters.

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  #127 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2012, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rdale View Post
What I'm saying is that the information doesn't flow to all sources with eSpotter. And the infrastructure is falling by the wayside, which is why many offices don't use it.
Sure it does. It shows up in NWSChat like it is supposed to for the people who need the information, NWS, EMA, Media, etc. Not every ambulance chaser needs to know every tree down or every funnel cloud.

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Originally Posted by rdale View Post
(especially from those who whine when they get a suggestion for improving their reports in the future)
Like wading into a flooded highway to get exact depths instead of estimated depths?

Does SN still use their ranking system? Silver, Gold, etc? That was probably the worst decision ever made.



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  #128 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2012, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by UNIT105 View Post
There are professional I mean professional Storm Chasers out in this country who make a living off tracking and filming storms.... Look at their vehicles compared to yours....
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Originally Posted by WX4EMT View Post
My personal observation is that EMAs are becoming more hostile to spotters and chasers and for good reason. Many are thrill ride - reality TV types looking for a jolly and are out there screwing it up for those of us that really care.
These are exactly the types of people that give spotters a bad name. Reports from 'professional chasers' would be almost completely disregarded in our area.

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Originally Posted by PJH View Post
Again, skyward "nets" infer the ham radio crowd. What about the non-radio people?
Everyone here is attached to public safety in one way or another and report in to Dispatch and/or EM. Our people are activated by Dispatch at the direction of EM.
  #129 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2012, 1:31 PM
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Originally Posted by W9RXR View Post
Whose radar screen?
Anyone running GRLevelX, PYKL3, RadarScope, StormLab, you name it.

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Does it show up on the forecaster's screens at the NWS?
Yes.

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Whose EMA office? I know my EMA Director doesn't see it.
THat's his choice. I can't think of any reason he wouldn't be on NWSChat, but I know many EMs aren't there for public safety, they are there for a job before retirement.

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They are activated by the county dispatch center when NWS issues a warning.
The dispatch center can see it if they want to. It's free.

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I see a lot of generalizations being made this thread that are certainly not universal.
I disagree - if the option is there, and since the option is free, there is no reason it isn't universal.

Last edited by rdale; 05-08-2012 at 1:38 PM..
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  #130 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2012, 1:36 PM
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Originally Posted by burner50 View Post
It shows up in NWSChat like it is supposed to for the people who need the information, NWS, EMA, Media, etc.
Oh goodness... NO IT DOESN'T. E-Spotter reports go only to the NWS. Nobody else. Sometime well after the fact the forecaster may manually send it over, but it's not automatic. If the met doesn't, that report gets filed in the eSpotter archive never to be seen again.

SpotterNetwork is automatic. No human intervention. I'm not sure what you mean about ambulance chasing.

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Like wading into a flooded highway to get exact depths instead of estimated depths?
Nobody asked you to do that. Remember that since SN is mostly a one-way tool, you need to describe things in a way that someone not there is clear on. So if you say "Flash flood, water over road" unless I personally know you and can vouch for your abilities - that's a bad report. If you say "Flash flood, water up to the door handles, 3 cars stranded along I-44 near Wacousta Rd" then you've nailed it. I as a forecaster know exactly what is happening.

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Does SN still use their ranking system? Silver, Gold, etc?
Not those terms - people got their panties in a bunch instead of actually taking the time to understand. We need a way to delineate a 20-year storm spotter from the 17 year old who just watched Twister and cheated on the test (yes, those do exist.) GIving added weight to the 20-year vet is a good thing.
  #131 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2012, 2:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rdale View Post



Not those terms - people got their panties in a bunch instead of actually taking the time to understand. We need a way to delineate a 20-year storm spotter from the 17 year old who just watched Twister and cheated on the test (yes, those do exist.) GIving added weight to the 20-year vet is a good thing.
But wait... According to your previous posts, all SN reports are from trained spotters who have passed a thorough exam before being allowed into the system and the contents of said reports should be taken as fact and disseminated to all local media outlets and public safety sources as well as anyone else who might be looking at a computer.

As far as displaying on EVERYONES screen who happens to be looking at a radar, that is only the case if they seek out the correct address and update their software accordingly.

I made this argument to Tyler Allison a couple years ago. Some people will do whatever it takes to attain a higher "rank". You can see it kn these forums. People will post in every topic they can find because they think that of they can get that post count over 10,000 then their social status will somehow increase in the world.

No human intervention is one of the biggest drawbacks. When somebody gets on there and states that a tornado just demolished a building, the media is going to run with that onformation. Then other people come forward with twister tales and the alarmists and sensationalism just takes off... When in reality, a couple pieces of tin flew off the roof of an old barn in some wind...

It is cases like this and the ones I have previously mentioned why SN reports are mostly disregarded unless a similar report comes in via the conventional channels.

You stated that SN is one way... This is yet another reason i dont like it. When you call on the phone, the peraon on the other end can ask questions and get details... Same thing with the radio. When i call in, I can use the identification number that i was given by the NWS and they know what kind of training i have recieved and they have my contact information. On SN, they know that the person has passed a 10 question quiz.

SN is kind of a neat social tool for spotters to see each other on a map, but that is just about the end of its usefulness.
  #132 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2012, 5:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rdale View Post
What I'm saying is that the information doesn't flow to all sources with eSpotter. And the infrastructure is falling by the wayside, which is why many offices don't use it.
What other sources? If it goes directly to the NWS who actually issues the watches/warnings and everything in between, what else is needed? The point is to get information to NWS fast and directly to that office handling the area. I don't see what the issue is?

Going the SN way or other avenues benefits the weather wacker community and to a point the for-profit media outlets (I will say there are some great weather orientated news stations, but thats not the general point).

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There are actually less middlemen with SN It goes directly onto their radar screen for whatever program they are using. Plus it goes right to the EMA for any needed siren activation, and the media for any public dissemination.
How would there be less? Espotter submission -> NWS. Other sources as well as SN... Submission -> SN/other servers -> ? -> NWS client software. Correct me if needed, but I think a single pipeline to the NWS is better than the information going thru a third party server or three.

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Ehh - you must never have tried it during a big outbreak
Never had a problem, maybe I am lucky.
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  #133 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2012, 9:12 PM
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What other sources? If it goes directly to the NWS who actually issues the watches/warnings and everything in between, what else is needed?
Upstream EMs preparing, media outlets who can instantly disseminate, you name it. The point is to get the information to the public as quickly as possible. eSpotter doesn't facilitate that.

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Going the SN way or other avenues benefits the weather wacker community and to a point the for-profit media outlets
Not sure what the wacker part means. If someone is waiting on a SN report to know where to go to see a bad storm, he is FAR behind the 8-ball and it's probably good that he chases where the storm already hit.

And I agree - weather information should benefit the media. Far and away most people get their weather information from those outlets. If you're a spotter that has interest in public safety, you want that information getting to the public. Media is the fastest way.

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How would there be less? Espotter submission -> NWS. Other sources as well as SN... Submission -> SN/other servers -> ? -> NWS client software.
Espotter submission goes to NWS regional servers then to AWIPS display at NWS offices (that participate.) End of the line.

SN submission goes to SN server then to AWIPS display at NWS offices / GR2AE display at NWS offices / TV outlets / EMAs / NWSChat / GRLevel3 / PYKL3Radar / and any other outlet that wants it. Also archived for future use. Tracked so that questionable reports can be followed up.. Time delay is the same. A single pipeline to all partners at the same time with the same information is highly advantageous. Remember that NWS and TV and EMs are there to serve the public. I realize not all spotters are out for the same reason, but I would think most are reporting so that lives can be saved. When life-saving information is immediately disseminated, that can happen.

When you submit a wedge tornado report on eSpotter, or call NWS on the phone, it takes 30 seconds to 3 minutes or more to show up so that media can alert and EMs can sound the siren again. When you do it on SN, the media has it in seconds and the EM can press the button in seconds. In tornado events - seconds can save lives.
  #134 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2012, 9:22 PM
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But wait... According to your previous posts, all SN reports are from trained spotters who have passed a thorough exam before being allowed into the system
Yep. But I've seen the same spotters walk away with a Spotter ID number after taking a 2-hr class put on by NWS, and they make the same bad reports. What can the NWS do with that guy calling it in? Nothing. He can keep calling in, or he can change his name, or if his ID is 22-313 he can make it 22-314. With SN - that guy never reports again through it.

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As far as displaying on EVERYONES screen who happens to be looking at a radar, that is only the case if they seek out the correct address and update their software accordingly.
Not sure what that means. If you want SN info, it takes 5 seconds to set up. You never have to update anything. If you don't want it, don't set it up. If you are in a chatroom, you get it automatically.

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I made this argument to Tyler Allison a couple years ago. Some people will do whatever it takes to attain a higher "rank".
I've not seen that happen. I suppose it could, but so far it hasn't.

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No human intervention is one of the biggest drawbacks. When somebody gets on there and states that a tornado just demolished a building, the media is going to run with that onformation.
If the storm looks like that is what it's capable of doing, then yes. No different than if Joe Public calls the media or NWS from under that exact same storm and says the tornado demolished a building.

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It is cases like this and the ones I have previously mentioned why SN reports are mostly disregarded unless a similar report comes in via the conventional channels.
Again - I don't see your name in nearly as many NWSChatrooms as I'm in, and I don't see that attitude showing up. If it's a questionable report, people will openly question it before acting. No different than when 911 calls us up to say the public reports a tornado. If you can pull up a time and chatroom I'd love to read the archives. I'm certainly not here to say if could never happen and I'm willing to look at your evidence.

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When you call on the phone, the peraon on the other end can ask questions and get details...
Exactly. Which wastes time and can cause confusion with exact locations (not everyone gives out good info, and not every NWS official knows every intersection in their CWA.) If your SN report is perfect, then any question the NWS met could ask is already answered. That's why the quality scale has "acceptable" (you did a good job) and "perfect" (there is no question what you are seeing.)

Quote:
SN is kind of a neat social tool for spotters to see each other on a map, but that is just about the end of its usefulness.
Sometimes I too wish that we still lived in the 80's and ham radio ruled the day. But you gotta put your pocket protector away and realize that this new-fangled Internet thing is going to be more than a passing fad. Sorry.
  #135 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2012, 9:26 PM
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What I am finding, is that your justifing the use of alternate means of communications, but can you cite any realworld verifiable information that this occurs?

I also of the thought that you believe that there are a bunch of emergency managers, county/state/local dispatch agencies actively using any of the above and are always actively watching such information.

In my professional history, I saw very little - if any - of this occuring. At one state police agency, the HQ staff would send via teletyle any watches/warning that were issued by the NWS to all connected departments in the state (basically police departments). There was no use of any other sources. Another county had weatherbug on the CAD computers and if it had an alert, the county would broadcast such warning.

Most state and regional centers that I have personally been involved in, or have visted on offical busness operated this way. Most emergency managers are/were a volunteer fire chief or someone locally elected/appointed with little to no experience usually dealing with little to no budgets. At the most, the county/local dispatch center activated sirens (if any) based on actual NWS weather radio warnings.

Sure there are places that are using other means, but I don't think it is as common as you may think or imply that is occuring. In speaking with others in the media, most of them (for warnings) utilize the NOAA alert radios or Weatherbug.

I don't see a bunch of Gary England's in the world with helicopters, mobile spotters with live HD streaming video as the norm using SN, NWS Chat and GR Level 3/2 all over. Those stations are the exception and not the norm.
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Old 05-10-2012, 6:09 AM
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During the outbreaks in KS last month some of the rooms had over 100 EMs, NWS users, media and more in them. Even in my area there are a good dozen+ onboard. Every TV station I know of is in them too, and this isn't a big sevwx state.

You are correct though... If its a retired police chief who doesn't care much about public safety, they won't be here. If its a local access TV station, they aren't there. It still is a good idea to share your sevwx reports.
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Old 05-10-2012, 7:26 AM
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No.


Just No.


You can call in reports any time if you see something reportable whether or not there is a warning. So in reality, a spotter is always "activated" by default.

NWS Does not activate spotters. Maybe the call in volunteers to take reports over the radio. Sometimes they sponsor a ham radio club, but never do they "activate" spotters.

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Old 05-10-2012, 7:37 AM
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Whose EMA office? I know my EMA Director doesn't see it. Also, my EMA office does not activate the sirens. They are activated by the county dispatch center when NWS issues a warning.

I see a lot of generalizations being made this thread that are certainly not universal.
In my county, the ham Skywarn net is held on the repeater that the county EMD maintains. This repeater is also used for ARES and RACES. The net is monitored or directed by EM personnel.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:53 AM
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Again, your talking about ham radio guys vs ordinary folks. Does your local authorities utilitze them on a call out basis as well?
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Old 05-11-2012, 5:40 AM
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How are your area's spotters notified, if at all? If a sudden storm pops up during the day when most people are working or at school, and may not be able to watch the sky, or watch/listen to TV or broadcast radio, how are they notified, if at all?
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