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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 09-22-2018, 8:58 PM
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I understand budgets, but when a government agency advertises a service, especially an emergency service, there had better be backups to backups. There is zero excuse for NWS to not have a technician on duty or other resource to fix their transmitters. The transmitters are still down as of right now.
I don't think the people in charge of the purse strings share the same fervor as those on the line.
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Old 09-22-2018, 11:51 PM
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I have always found our NWS notifications to be sub-standard. Often by the time I receive the alert the storm is already overhead, and I live in a major metropolitan area. I follow them on Facebook and sometimes their reports are 10 or 12 hours later. With current technology we should have something better. I get alerts on my smartphone from the County EMA but they get their info from the NWS.

My local weather spotter amateur frequency can provide useful information most of the time, but it is voluntary as well. I had a tornado miss me by less than a half mile this year and the first report was on the ham frequency. I was looking in the opposite direction until I heard the report, turned around and saw it. We were under a thunderstorm warning but no tornado alert until the NWS was notified by the Skywarn station. The damage had already been done by the time any tornado alert or warning was issued.

I always got my best storm Intel, just like breaking news, by listening to Police and Fire communications. I can follow the storm as it moves through the area by the dispatched locations of the damage and alarm calls (as well as actual reports by emergency personnel) as it moves through the area.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 09-23-2018, 1:10 AM
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Originally Posted by rescue161 View Post
I understand budgets, but when a government agency advertises a service, especially an emergency service, there had better be backups to backups. There is zero excuse for NWS to not have a technician on duty or other resource to fix their transmitters. The transmitters are still down as of right now.
The technicians are subject to the same weather you were. Travel would be close to impossible. Backup generators and batteries at sites will only work so long. Antennas rated for 100 mph winds could be destroyed. Link antennas can be spun off path.

There can be several layers of redundancy that get damaged. While it's possible to harden sites to survive any hurricane, at some point the money runs out and you have to declare that it's done.
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Old 09-23-2018, 5:58 AM
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Well, we made it through the storm. My wife and I remained in our house during the event and although I've been through many hurricanes and typhoons, this one stands out as one of the worst.
First question: What evacuation orders were in effect for your area? What were the terms of those orders? What expectations do people who ignore evacuation orders have regarding government assistance, of any kind, during and immediately after a storm of this magnitude?

I'm not saying that you ignored a legal evacuation order, but I'm trying to understand why you stayed put, tried to ride out the storm, and then presented a picture of a failed government resource to keep you informed about the storm that you chose to ride out.

I'm from central Indiana. We don't have hurricanes (relatively long term events with relatively long advance notices). But, we do have tornadoes (relatively short term events with relatively short notices). I've had tornadoes touch down within 2 miles of my house. Luckily, I didn't lose contact with the outside world during these events.

Second question: You mention NWS Radio, local TV stations, the Internet, and your cell phone as sources of information. I did not see a mention of local or area broadcast FM or AM radio stations. Were they still on the air? Were you able to receive them? Were they providing weather information?
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Old 09-23-2018, 6:52 AM
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I would love like nothing else to house their transmitter and back-haul to their data center, but I don't own a tower. I'm not affiliated with WCTI other than we volunteered to help them with their Weather Radio Wednesday. We are an amateur radio group for Onslow County. Our repeaters are on a fairly low tower ~270 feet and on the hospital at 150 feet. I don't know where the WCTI transmitter is located, but I'm sure it would cost more to do a fresh instal than it would be to repair the damage at the current site.

There was an evacuation in place, but we remained behind for several reasons. I'm not complaining about the after-effects of the storm. We knew full well the consequences of our staying. My gripe is with a service that is provided for short-term notifications (tornados) that did not operate at all. It still isn't working even after the area is fully populated with the people that did evacuate. Another member mentioned a station in NY that has been offline for almost a year. That is unacceptable. At this point, I am not going to waste any more time on promoting NWS infrastructure and will toss the NWS radio in the garbage as it is unreliable.

We were using a jam-box, but we could not pick up anything for our local area. It was like most of the transmitters were set to play a satellite downlink as it was all music. We did hear a Wilmington station, but they were only reporting on that area. It was very frustrating.
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Old 09-23-2018, 7:38 AM
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Quote:
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There was an evacuation in place, but we remained behind ... We knew full well the consequences of our staying. My gripe is with a service that is provided for short-term notifications (tornados) that did not operate at all.

We were using a jam-box, but we could not pick up anything for our local area. It was like most of the transmitters were set to play a satellite downlink...
So you were in an area where no one was supposed to be, and then complain about failed infrastructure in said area. (Which is part of why the area was supposed to be evacuated.) That really casts doubt on your assertion that you knew, and understood, the consequences of your choice. To me, this sounds like taking a trip into the Sahara, and complaining about the heat, and lack of water.

I am glad that things did not go any worse than they did, but you chose to stay in an area with no governmental services available during an event.

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Old 09-23-2018, 9:19 AM
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It really doesn't seem reasonable to stay behind in an evacuation area and then gripe about failed infrastructure.
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Old 09-23-2018, 11:16 AM
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Here is the Communications Status Report for
Areas Impacted by Hurricane Florence
September 14, 2018

From Cell Sites to Broadcast Stations
https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachme...C-354079A1.pdf

September 15th
https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachme...C-354105A1.pdf
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Old 09-23-2018, 2:05 PM
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I stayed behind for many reasons that I'm not going to go into here. The fact of the matter is that the infrastructure is still in a failed status and the evacuation order has long been lifted. Now, if a storm hits and people are mistakenly relying on NOAA for alerts, then they will not get those alerts. Do you not see that as a problem?
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Old 09-23-2018, 2:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rescue161 View Post
I understand budgets, but when a government agency advertises a service, especially an emergency service, there had better be backups to backups. There is zero excuse for NWS to not have a technician on duty or other resource to fix their transmitters. The transmitters are still down as of right now.
First I am glad you and your family are safe and accounted for.

With the amount of Federal taxes I pay, I am astonished that the current ideology is that cellphones should replace independent, hardened infrastructure with minimal points of failure of NOAA weather radio.

It is ABSURD to suggest that reliance on commercial cellular for life safety alerts be the solution. The commercial carriers operate in a commercial regulatory vacuum, and they have no legal accountability to provide service especially during such disasters. This is where a properly staffed and funded agency like NOAA is supposed to provide the essential service when we, the taxpayer and citizen, have funded it.

NOAA's reliability has been waning in the past years. I'm not trying to stir a political discussion, but it goes without saying cutting funding to agencies like this results in EXACTLY what you (and others) unfortunately experienced. A loss of a critical and independent alerting service when you needed it most.

Something to think about come October 3rd during the "Presidential Alert Test". Wonder if your local NOAA site will be back online by then?
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Old 09-23-2018, 2:45 PM
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Originally Posted by krokus View Post
So you were in an area where no one was supposed to be, and then complain about failed infrastructure in said area. (Which is part of why the area was supposed to be evacuated.) That really casts doubt on your assertion that you knew, and understood, the consequences of your choice.
You do realize that most NOAA stations are for large coverage area, so many others in areas not affected may still be lacking the service and not even know a transmitter is off the air? For example, Atlanta NWS radio is primarily on a transmitter on Stone Mountain and carries the SAME messages for the metro Atlanta area. A tornado could be in Paulding county, headed towards me in Cobb county, but if KEC80 if down, my alert radios won't work?

Maybe this is also a design omission on part of these receivers that lack an RSSI display or to show an "out of range" if the signal from a local NOAA station is lost or degraded to the point where it's not usable so the user is at least aware their receiver is inoperable. None of my SAME receivers have this function. Unless you depress the "weather" button like the OP did, you'd never know the transmitter is knocked down.

His choice to stay in HIS home should not be an excuse for a vital service going down for days with no backup power or facilities. There are many cases where someone might not be able to leave. At the end of the day, these NOAA outages also occur during other times with outages lasting weeks and months. This is not acceptable. Period.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 09-23-2018, 3:04 PM
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Quote--With the amount of Federal taxes I pay, I am astonished that the current ideology is that cellphones should replace independent, hardened infrastructure with minimal points of failure that SHOULD comprise the NOAA public alert transmitter network.

Funny You Mention That if you look at the 2 links i posted above (#28) N.Carolina on the Sept 14th when the storm made landfall a total of 330 Cell Sites were Out of Service of 5,772

On the 15th the Report was the Count was a Total of 1,063 were Out of Service Out of 5,790 Reported

So Yah People are Brainwashed in Cell Reports and the Social Media aspects alone

Like you said NOAA has been on a downward spiral in the last few years and to try and get any real good info on transmitters on their webpage is a joke

On the Map I only see 2 Txmitters covering N.Carolina--honestly there should be at least 4 for a good overlap--there should be moer frequencies opened up for coverage areas in stead of just the usual 6/7/8/---If you look at the maps you will see alot of wattage downgrades which dont help matters at all and these downgrades come from the fcc-who should know better---the way i see it the weather spectrum is gonna be auctioned off and radio noaa is gonna be a thing in the past with the cell cartels being the big partner in the airwaves---Perfect example (first net)

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Old 09-23-2018, 3:22 PM
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OTOH, by the time of yesterday's report, the FCC was reporting that only 1.2% (66 out of 5,718) of cell sites in the disaster area were still offline. It would be interesting to review the FCC reports for each day after the hurricane made land fall and then plot out the number of sites offline each day. I'll leave that exercise to someone else.

All but two TV transmitters in the disaster area were back on the air. Several FM broadcast transmitters were still off the air.

In many cases, NWS Radio transmitters are co-located on TV or FM broadcast towers. If the tower is down or the transmitter shack or the land-lines/fiber optic cables going to the transmitter shack sustained significant water damage, it could be a while before anything at that site is back on the air.
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Old 09-23-2018, 3:40 PM
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The OP has stated that he is in Onslow County. The NWS Radio coverage maps show that the northern and eastern parts of Onslow County are covered by the New Bern transmitter while the southern and western fringes are covered by the Winnabow transmitter. Unfortunately, both New Bern and Winnabow are currently off the air.

As reported earlier, New Bern, KEC-84 on 162.400 MHz, "is out of service due to flood damage to the transmitter from Hurricane Florence. We do not have a date for return to service."

NWS goes on to say "People in southern Duplin and Onslow Counties can try the Wilmington, NC transmitter (KHB-31) operating on a frequency of 162.550 MHz, which is programmed by the Wilmington, NC NWS."
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Old 09-23-2018, 3:46 PM
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Quote:
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First I am glad you and your family are safe and accounted for.

With the amount of Federal taxes I pay, I am astonished that the current ideology is that cellphones should replace independent, hardened infrastructure with minimal points of failure of NOAA weather radio.

It is ABSURD to suggest that reliance on commercial cellular for life safety alerts be the solution. The commercial carriers operate in a commercial regulatory vacuum, and they have no legal accountability to provide service especially during such disasters. This is where a properly staffed and funded agency like NOAA is supposed to provide the essential service when we, the taxpayer and citizen, have funded it.

NOAA's reliability has been waning in the past years. I'm not trying to stir a political discussion, but it goes without saying cutting funding to agencies like this results in EXACTLY what you (and others) unfortunately experienced. A loss of a critical and independent alerting service when you needed it most.

Something to think about come October 3rd during the "Presidential Alert Test". Wonder if your local NOAA site will be back online by then?


This is exactly the point. I love my technology, but wide area high wattage FM broadcast stations should be much harder to knock offline than cell sites. What good is it for FEMA to tell me to keep a weather radio on hand if there’s nobody on the other end? http://www.fema.gov/news-release/201...-weather-radio
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Old 09-23-2018, 4:17 PM
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...wide area high wattage FM broadcast stations should be much harder to knock offline than cell sites.
They still need power, either from power lines which may be down or generators which may be flooded or out of fuel (or aren't reliable because there's no money in the budget for regular testing and maintenance), and they still need a wireline or fiber optic connection which may be cut or flooded making it impossible for them to be programmed by the NWS forecast office.
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Old 09-23-2018, 4:33 PM
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They still need power, either from power lines which may be down or generators which may be flooded or out of fuel (or aren't reliable because there's no money in the budget for regular testing and maintenance), and they still need a wireline or fiber optic connection which may be cut or flooded making it impossible for them to be programmed by the NWS forecast office.


Yep. One site vs the dozens or hundreds for cell coverage. Completely funded by the federal government as a public warning system. Out of our tax dollars. I support it 100% if someone says I need to pay $1 more per year to make this work 99.999% of the time. If every taxpaying citizen paid $1/year for this that’s $141 million dollars. Mass notification should NEVER be underfunded.


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Old 09-23-2018, 4:40 PM
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The problem with that is that politicians would use the money for something else. And thank you MTS2000des for the kind words and for understanding.
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Old 09-26-2018, 10:17 PM
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Reading through the thread just reinforces in my mind the importance of the AM band for emergencies, due to its nighttime propagation. NOAA and local stations can go off the air, as well as local power grids in times of natural emergencies.

Here in the PNW it's not hurricanes but the big earthquake that we shall have to worry about. I think those in affected areas with working AM radios will at least be able to stay informed. NOAA, FM, TV in affected areas may be off the air due to various factors (lines down, towers down, etc). Even a FEMA sponsored report suggested that nighttime AM radio would be the only emergency information source right after the big one.

Glad to hear the OP made it through safe. Sorry to hear about all the flooding and damage.
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Old 10-21-2018, 6:30 PM
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OR better yet never rely on technology. Rely more on the human factor. Use your senses, use your mind. You stated you couldn't find any tarps? Why don't you have several stored away? You are in a hurricane and severe storms region. You should also have more gas OR get yourself an LP run generator [they can last longer]. I am sure you already have thought of these by now or you should be. What would you do if the entire grid went down for weeks? or all communications were gone [terrorism you know] EVERYONE needs to think outside the box and THINK about such stuff.
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