August 10th, 2000 Severe Weather Outbreak Report
Severe Weather Outbreak Report from Wednesday Night August 9th
and Thursday Morning August 10th, 2000
by: Robert Macedo, ARES SKYWARN Coordinator for NWS Taunton
...Severe Weather During Wednesday Night August 9th Gives Way
to a Long Lived Dangerous Nocturnal Supercell on Thursday Morning August 10th...
A very unique severe weather event occurred during Wednesday Night August 9th
and Thursday Morning August 10th. A nocturnal severe weather event, the
most dangerous type of severe weather event due to the lack of public
awareness of nocturnal severe weather in Southern New England, would take
shape across portions of Southern New England.
It was a hot and muggy week across Southern New England. There had been
a couple of Slight risk outlooks for severe weather forecasted by the
Storm Prediction Center earlier in the week but no severe weather occurred.
On Wednesday Night and Thursday Morning, a cold front was expected to make
its way through Southern New England. The timing of the front was going to
be during the evening and morning hours of Wednesday Night and Thursday Morning.
Typically, this time of day is not conducive to Severe Weather in New England but
the jet dynamics associated with this cold front would offset the loss of daytime
heating and result in a dangerous nocturnal Supercell as the night wore on.
Initially, the severe weather threat time was from 7 PM-Midnight and then a new
Special Weather Statement issued by NWS Taunton stated that the severe weather
threat for Southern New England would be anytime between 1 AM-5 AM across the
The SKYWARN paging network kept spotters and coordinators posted throughout the
night on the severe weather threat. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was posted until
1 AM for much of New York and Berkshire County Mass. and Litchfield County CT.
Ops at NWS Taunton were started at 7:30 PM as I went to the NWS office at Taunton's request.
Severe Thunderstorms erupted across New York State with Golf Ball Sized Hail and
wind gusts over 60 MPH reported in the Bingamton area. This weather moved into
Rennselear County NY and Berkshire County Massachusetts.
A band opening alowed us to keep constant contact with this region for upstream
reporting for NWS Taunton. The 146.91 Mount Greylock Repeater was initially out
of reach to start the evening and N1KKY-Tom Pratt provided liaison work for
several hours during the night until the band opening allowed us direct contact
to the 146.91 Berkshire County SKYWARN Net as the evening wore on. The 53.31, Mount Wachusett
6 Meter Repeater was utilized for some of this liaison work in CT and Western Mass. throughout
The first cluster of Severe Thunderstorms went through Rennselear County New York and
Berkshire County Massachusetts with Severe Thunderstorm Warnings posted. Stephenstown New
York had Dime Sized Hail at 10:05 PM with Hancock, Mass. reporting Penny Sized Hail. Don
Horton, N1ISB acted as Net Control, with KA1JJM, Ray Weber acting as liaison. Ray received
the report from Hancock, Mass.
This cluster of storms died off after heading into Western Hampshire and Western Franklin
Counties of Massachusetts. A new cluster of storms then formed and continued eastward
tracking over a similiar area of Rennselear County New York and Berkshire County
Massachusetts with Nickel Sized Hail reported again Stephenstown New York at 11:55 PM
with wires down on Highland Avenue in Pittsfield Massachusetts.
At this point, no severe weather had really reached the County Warning Area of NWS Taunton.
Most of the first part of the evening was spent getting upstream reports in the counties
just to the west of NWS Taunton's area and forwarding those reports to NWS Albany NY.
At this point, I was reluctant to take any chances in case the 'full potential' of this
severe weather situation was realized. Therefore, I requested that Mike Leger, N1YLQ,
join me at NWS Taunton. He did not have to work until later in the evening on Thursday
and if things got very heated, his assistance may be needed to help out with ham
operations at the weather office. The prime risk time for severe weather had not been
reached yet and one of the largest thunderstorms of the year was taking shape in Southeast
New York with its eyes set on Northern CT, Northern RI, and Southeast Massachusetts.
A large thunderstorm, known as a supercell, took shape in Dutchess County New York. The
storm went into Litchfield County Connecticut and weakened slightly. It then moved into
Hartford County and then intensified slightly. It was near the threshold for a Severe
Thunderstorm Warning and the Warning was issued for Eastern Hartford and Tolland Counties
in Connecticut. Right after the Warning was issued the storm intensified further. On the
next scan of the radar the storm became an intense supercell.
The 147.000 Soapstone Mountain CT SKYWARN Net was active thanks to the efforts of K1PZS,
Harvey Broverman and KD1LD, Jim McBride. A spotter in Tolland CT went through a part of
the storm and reported winds estimated 40-50 MPH and that an umbrella and lawn furniture
were blown into his pool. Following that, numerous reports of hail up to Golf Ball Sized
were received in Tolland and Ellington CT. On the next scan of the radar, tremendous
rotation was seen and a Tornado Warning was posted for Eastern Windham and Providence
Counties in RI.
Pages went out to coordinators in RI to immediately activate SKYWARN in Rhode Island.
The storm was extremely dangerous at this point in time. The radar showed that the storm
was capable of hail 3.25" in diameter as well as a tornado. KB1CMD-Joe Farrington and
N1EGS-John Buco were on the air within 10 minutes of the Tornado Warning issuance on the
146.76 Scituate, RI Repeater. Several minutes after that, N1XRS-Tony who was monitoring
the frequency phoned Martin Mendelson, N1JMA, Rhode Island ARES SEC who was up and
monitoring the situation and he jumped on the 146.76 Scituate, RI Repeater.
There have been other severe weather events that I have been involved with and worked on
but for the first time since I've done SKYWARN, I was a bit scared by this situation.
A tornadic weather situation is rare in New England to begin with and having this
situation during the middle of the night when people were sleeping was a huge concern.
Would people hear the warning after it was issued? If a tornado occurred, would there
be loss of life due to the lack of weather radio alert receivers by the public?
Mike, N1YLQ, assisted with giving me pertinent radar information and forecaster thinking
as I directed where reports were needed through the duration of the supercell.
In Smithfield RI, wind gusts were estimated at 60 MPH with trees, branches and leaves
reported down on Logee Street along with multiple wires down as well all in Woonsocket,
RI trees and wires reported down in Smithfield RI at 3:37 AM.
John, N1EGS, headed up to the Foster and Gloucester RI area to look for damage already done.
Mike, N1YLQ stated to me that the storm was moving east at 60-70 Knots at this point and
that no one could chase to catch up to it. The storm was also dangerous being at night
that no chasers were used to 'core punch' the storm, all mobile hams that came on
the frequency were used to find damage already done by this very dangerous storm.
John found trees down across the Route 100/102 intersection closing the road. With
numerous large trees reported down on Route 44 West and also on Route 100 towards
Burrillville, RI. Also, along the side of Route 102, there was Golf Ball Sized Hail
in Foster RI that accumilated along the side of the road. Quarter Sized Hail was also
reported in Burrillville, RI later in the day. Further reports of poles and 4-5" diameter
trees down were reported in Smithfield, RI with high tension wires down in Lincoln, RI.
Golf Ball Sized Hail was also reported in Smithfield, Cumberland and Lincoln, RI. Route
116 in Smithfield, RI also had 10-12" diameter trees down. In Cumberland, RI, Rick Tellier,
SKYWARN Spoter # 00-86, took a picture of several hailstones with a ruler measuring some
of the hailstones on a blue mat. Some of the hail stones were near or slightly over
2" in diameter.
An after action storm report from Ralph Nahigian, KE1GL, revealed that over 12 roads
were closed in Smithfield, RI and that there was one injury to a police officer as a
tree fell on to his car destroying the vehicle. Ralph is a ham operator and works for
the Smithfield, RI Fire Department.
With this being at night, there was no way to know whether the damage was done by
straight-line winds or a tornado, and because of this tornado warnings were issued
along the path of this extremely dangerous storm. The storm was now moving into
Northern Bristol County Massachusetts. The storm was headed right for the NWS Taunton
Forecast Office and for the first time ever since I've operated at NWS Taunton,
the forecasters ordered that the ops floor be cleared of all personnel in case the storm
had a tornado pass over the forecast office. Strong winds estimated up to 60 MPH buffered
the weather office as we headed for the interior area of the building. The ops floor
was cleared for about 5 minutes. Winds made whole trees go in motion. No hail fell at
the NWS Forecast Office.
Just to the north of NWS Taunton in Norton, Massachusetts, Ed Capone, N1LTP, employee
for the co-located Northeast River Forecast Center and ham operator reported Golf
Ball Sized Hail at his house and stated that the storm produced hail at the start
of the storm which is very unusual. At this time, we were monitoring the 146.76
Scituate RI and 147.18 Bridgewater, Mass. Repeaters, along with brief monitoring
of the 146.895 Walpole Repeater where Norfolk County SKYWARN was active.
W1JOE, Joe from the Brockton area along with Ray, N1KXJ who was coming home from work
were in the storm and prepared to go out to within the Brockton, Bridgewater area to
look for wind damage. Numerous reports of trees down came in across West Bridgewater
and Brockton Massachusetts. N1WAI, Ted McCaw reported Golf Ball Sized Hail in
Easton, Massachusetts. Carl, N1FYZ, founded further wind damage in the Brockton
and Whitman area with power out across much of the city of Brockton. N1EDM,
Bob reported power outages across portions of Whitman as the aerial extent of
the power outages was determined.
Several area hospitals were under emergency power after the supercell had passed.
Mike Leger, N1YLQ, took the bulk of these reports as I worked to assist the forecasters
in putting the reports into Local Storm Reports that needed to be issued by NWS Taunton.
The Supercell continued to move east to the Plymouth area where large branches and wires
were reported down per KA1VAX, Betsy Sproles and finally moved off the coast of Massachusetts.
Inspite of the widespread pockets of wind damage across the path of the supercell and from
spotter reports what appeared to be a 50 mile long, 2-5 mile wide path of Golf Ball Sized
Hail, no damage linked to a tornado could be found. Numerous cars had dents from the hail
along the path of this supercell, including cars in Ellington, CT, Lincoln, RI, Cumberland RI,
Norton and Easton, Massachusetts. Several damage surveys were done in Rhode Island and
Southeast Massachusetts. One damage survey was done by NWS Taunton Meteorologists in
Rhode Island with other damage surveys done by amateur radio operators in the Brockton,
West Bridgewater, Massachusetts area, the Walpole Massachusetts area and the
Foster-Gloucester-Burrillville Rhode Island area. Damage in all areas were produced
by microburst type activity in pockets but in pockets covering the entire path of
the supercell. The damage survey in the Brockton/West
Bridgewater area was completed by Carl, N1FYZ. The damage survey of the
Foster-Gloucester-Burillville, RI area was done by John Buco, N1EGS. Wind damage found
by Roger Turner-W1ZSA in Walpole was not detected until a couple days after the event
with numerous trees and large branches down. One large trunk of tree was taken down
and destroyed a garage at a resident on 277 Pleasant Street. Much of this damage
occurred between 2:30 and 4:15 AM across this entire region. A HEARTY thank you for
the sincere dedication of these hams to do these surveys a few days after the storm passed.
More thunderstorms formed across South Coastal Massachustts and some were severe.
Hail fell at ML Baron, KA1WBH's location. The hail was reported as around pea sized
and then a view of the videotape provided by ML Baron showed some hail of Dime to
Nickel sized that occurred with the storm. No strong winds occurred. The hail occurred
between 5:25 and 5:35 AM. Also ML received major lightning damage to his location
damaging computers and some radio equipment.
On Martha's Vineyard, a Severe Thunderstorm moved through that area with reports of
large branches and trees down in Edgartown, Massachusetts per Jeff Baker, N1PRM and
this occurred between 6:15 and 6:30 AM Thursday Morning.
The 11 hour SKYWARN Activation ended at 7 AM as the threat of severe weather ended and
myself and Mike Leger, N1YLQ, exhausted but happy that the amateur radio network
did its job well inspite of the time of day left NWS Taunton.
A HEARTY thank you to all the spotters that phoned in reports and to all those who
checked into the SKYWARN Nets that morning and all of the valuable reports that
were received throughout the event and after the event. All of this information
will help weather forecasters continue to grow their understanding of New England
Severe Weather in a unique and rare situation, during the late night/early morning hours.
The reports also helped to protect life and property. Special THANKS to all who supported
A picture archive of the wind damage and hail will follow in the coming weeks at the
Eastern Massachusetts ARES/RACES/SKYWARN home page. Special thanks to all spotters
and coordinators who provided pictures of damage from this storm.
Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
SEMCARES Emergency Coordinator
Pager #: (508) 354-3142
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 1-800-445-2588 Ext.: 72929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: email@example.com
Packet Address: KD1CY @ AA1FS
Back to the Eastern Mass. ARES/RACES/SKYWARN homepage