Ice Storm SKYWARN Activation Report from November 16th and 17th, 2002
by: Robert Macedo, KD1CY, ARES SKYWARN Coordinator for NWS Taunton
SKYWARN was activated three times over the span of two days as an ice
storm gripped much of the region causing tree and power line damage
and loss of power across portions of Massachusetts and Connecticut.
SKYWARN was activated at 7:30 PM Saturday Evening November 16th based
on a coordination call with Glenn Field, KB1GHX, Warning Coordination
Meteorologist at NWS Taunton. A Winter Storm Warning was posted at
that time for Franklin and Northern Worcester Counties of Massachusetts
and Cheshire and Hillsborough Counties of New Hampshire with a Winter
WX Advisory for the rest of Worcester County, Western Middlesex County,
Hampshire and Hampden counties of Massachusetts and Hartford County of
Connecticut. Activation was requested to determine the where the
rain-freezing rain-snow line was located, amount of radial ice
accretion, snow and rainfall amounts around the region.
The IRLP link was setup from the 448.175 Framingham Repeater to the
147.105 Wilbraham Repeater to allow contact into Western Massachusetts
and Northern Connecticut. Ray Weber, KA1JJM, was on frequency along
with Eric Tuller, N1QKO, who monitored throughout the event despite
a terrible cold and Jim Bernotas, N1VMH. Roger Jeanfaivre, K1PAI,
from CT SKYWARN was also activated during this event to determine
the extent of icing and the rain-freezing rain-snow line in
Connecticut. Also activated was Tom Pratt, N1KKY, covering the
Worcester-Templeton linked repeater system as well as providing
liasion work into Cheshire County NH. SKYWARN nets were also
activated in Northeastern Massachusetts with Bill Ricker,
N1VUX, montioring the 146.64 Waltham Repeater despite suffering a
bad cold of his own, and Mark Roope, W1MAR monitoring the
146.625-Haverhill Repeater. Also, N1WAS, Charles provided weather
observations from the Heavy Hitters Traffic Net on the
Waltham Repeater and observations from the 146.97-Paxton Repeater.
Reports came streaming into NWS Taunton with a rain-freezing rain
line determined to be roughly from Southern Hampden County through
to Central Worcester, Central Middlesex County and cutting through
interior Essex County Massachusetts during the 7:30-9 PM. No
significant radial ice accretion reports were received and snowfall
amounts remained roughly around a Dusting-2" across the region with
the highest amount of snowfall of 3" reported in Savoy, Massachusetts.
After 9 PM, precipitation became heavier and evaporational cooling
from the heavier precipitation resulted in temperature falls across
the region. This changed plain rain in places like Springfield and
across the Southern Worcester County corridor into Freezing Rain
which fell moderately for a time across these areas. Precipitation
reports across Southern New Hampshire remained snow with some snow
and sleet mix in some areas. This resulted in less of an icing issue
across Southern New Hampshire and more issues with icing across
portions of Massachusetts and later into Connecticut as the cooler
temperatures oozed southward across the area. Precipitation remained
all rain from roughly just east of the 128 corridor and about 15 or
20 miles south of the Mass. Pike across Rhode Island and Southeast
Massachusetts based on observations. Reports were all collected from
the SKYWARN repeaters that were active.
Across Connecticut, Roger-K1PAI, reported similiar temperature falls
with Northern and Western parts of Hartford County reporting freezing
rain and temperatures that dipped below freezing. Temperatures hovered
just barely above freezing at Roger's location in Whethersfield, CT
as of the time of their last report. Roger reported that places such
as Morris and Goshen, CT had power outages as icing started to
become significant in Litchfield County CT. Nets were active on the
147.090 Glastonbury and 145.45 Newington CT Repeaters since the
147.000 Soapstone Mountain Repeater was down. Between these power
outage reports and ice accretion reports that were received
between the 11 PM-1 AM timeframe, it became clear that this ice
storm was going to cause damage over parts of the region but the
question was how much damage.
At 10:56 PM via the Paxton Repeater, KB1GNC-Bob reported 3/8" icing
at an elevation of 900 feet and at 10:57 PM, another station in
Worcester, Mass. at an elevation of 1,100 feet reported 1/4-1/3"
radial ice accretion. In North Brookfield at 11:05 PM, 1/4" radial
icing. In Framingham, Mass. at 11:39 PM, 1/4" radial icing was
reported and 1/4" radial icing was reported in Holden, Massachusetts.
Other icing reports included 1/8" radial icing in Monson, West
Springfield and Brimfield, Massachusetts at 11:45 PM and 12:05 AM.
Reports were fielded from the 146.97 Paxton Repeater and the
IRLP link through the efforts of Charlie, N1WAS, and Ray, KA1JJM.
During this timeframe, precipitation changed from Freezing Rain to
sleet in a lot of areas. Tom Pratt, N1KKY, working with N1NNT, Peter
on the Keene, NH Repeater reported that most of the precipitation
falling there was in the form of snow with some sleet. Similiar
reports were received in Franklin County, Massachusetts from Jim
Bernotas, N1VMH via the 146.985-Greenfield Repeater and from
W1MAR-Mark Roope from Southeast NH and Western Essex and
Northeast Middlesex Counties from the 146.625-Haverhill
Repeater. Precipitation started turning to
sleet and even some snow as far south as Springfield by 12:30-1 AM
but this was only temporary as precipitation changed back to
freezing rain. During this timeframe, we transferred the link from
the Framingham Repeater to the 145.39 Scituate, Mass. Repeater. Ops
were then suspended until 7:30 AM Sunday Morning, where the first
light at dawn would reveal how significant any damage might
be in the region. Winter Storm Warnings for icing were expanded
to include the area from I-495 West through the Berkshires of
Massachusetts and Hartford and Tolland Counties of Northern CT.
Ops were reactivated at 7:30 AM with the IRLP link to the Wilbraham
Repeater activated and tied into the Framingham Repeater on 448.175
MHz. At 7:35 AM, Ray Weber, KA1JJM, reported that there were large
branches and wires down in West Springfield due to the icing with
1/4" radial ice accretion at his location. In Granville, Massachusetts,
2/3" radial ice acretion was reported and the entire town was without
power. In Downtown Worcester, Charlie, N1WAS reported 1/4" radial ice
accretion and that report was gathered from the 146.97-Paxton Repeater.
In the town of Southwick, 1/2" radial ice accretion occurred with tree
limbs and wires down and between 25-50% of the town was without power.
In East Longmeadow and Wilbraham Massachusets, 1/4" radial ice
accretion was reported. In Granville, Mass, telephone wires were
down along sections of Route 57 and caused phone outages in Tolland
and Granville, Mass. Reports of 2" of sleet in Greenfield, Mass. and
1" of ice and slush in Lancaster, Mass. were also received. Also
reported from Granby and Hartland CT were 1/2" radial ice accretion
reports and trees and wires down with power outages. Reports also came
in of 1/4" radial ice accretion in Agawamm Mass. and 1/8" radial ice
acretion in the city of Northampton, Mass and in Stafford, CT. All
of these reports were received from the IRLP link with Ray
Weber-KA1JJM, Eric Tuller-N1QKO and Jim Bernotas-N1VMH soliciting
reports via the 146.94 Mount Tom and 146.985-Greenfield Repeaters.
Reports were then relayed from the Western Mass. ARES HF Net with
reports of 1/8" radial ice accretion in Westfield, Northfield,
Shrewsbury and Northboro, Massachusetts. These reports were relayed
by Tom, WA1NVS, on the 146.925/145.37 Worcester-Templeton linked
Repeater system. There was a Western Mass. ARES Net that began on
the 146.97 Paxton Repeater at 9:30 AM by Dennis Zonia, K1VSG,
Western Mass. ARES Section Emergency Coordinator.
Paul-W1GGL reported both on the Western Mass. ARES Net and on the
53.31 6 Meter Mount Wachusett Repeater that there was 1/3"-1/2" radial
ice accretion in Sutton, Mass. with large branches and wires down
a tree down blocking the Central Turnpike in Sutton. 1/2" icing
was reported in parts of Spencer per K1RMS-Jim of Spencer Emergency
Managemner. 1/2" icing was reported in Holden, Mass in the higher
elevations. Reports of 1-1.5" of snow were received in Clinton and
Steling. Mass. 1/4-5/16" icing was reported in Templeton, Mass.
Across Worcester Mass. 1/8-1/2" radial icing was reported depending
on location and elevation in Worcester. In Marlboro, Mass, 1/2"
icing was reported with large branches down. In Shrewsbury, Mass.
at an elevation of 600 feet, Kevin, K1KWP reported 1/3" radial
ice accretion. In Rutlan, Mass, N1RWC-Matt, reported 1/4" icing in
Rutland, Mass. In Westboro, Mass, 1/4-1/2" radial icing with 2-4"
branches down was reported by K1RDD-Doug. In Princeton, Mass, 1/4-1/2"
radial ice accretion was reported with wires down on Estes Road. In
Gardner, Mass. there was 1/4-1/2" icing and large branches down.
In Sterling, mass. 1/4" icing and small branches were down. In
Westminster, Mass. 1/2" icing was reported. In Dudley, Mass, 1/2"
radial ice accretion was reported with multiple large branches and
one whole tree down. All reports came from the 146.97-Paxton Repeater
and a majority of reports came from the Western Mass. ARES Net run
by Dennis-K1VSG. Also, PJ-N1PJ, did a drive through many of the areas
of Princeton, Gardner and Westminster, Mass. and was responsible for
some of these reports. Thanks to PJ, Dennis and all spotters for all
their important reports during this timeframe. Up to 18,000 people
were without power across Massachusetts from the icing.
On the 146.64 Waltham Repeater, Eastern Mass. SEC, Mike Nielsen,
W1MPN, montiored the frequency along with Bill Ricker, N1VUX, and
Mike did a drive through over parts of Northwestern Middlesex County
during the late morning and afternoon hours. At his home in Hudson,
Mike had 1/3" radial ice accretion. In Acton, Mass, 1/4" icing
was seen with 1/2" icing in Stow and Littelton Mass and 1/4" icing
in Ashby Mass. Special thanks to Mike, W1MPN, for doing this ride
through Western Middlesex County Mass. Also, Ron-KA1KCU, reported
1/4" icing and numerous 1-2" branches down with a 5 hour power outage
in Sudbury, Mass.
By 2:00 PM, precipitation was down to drizzle or pockets of freezing
drizzle. Ops were secured but were going to be pending a restart
Sunday Evening as the next round of precipitation was expected to
make its way through the region with possible additional icing.
SKYWARN Ops were reactivated by 7:30 PM across the region as the
next round of precipitation began moving through the region. The
IRLP link was again reactivated and net ops began in earnest. Bernie,
KB1DGY, from CT SKYWARN contacted NWS Taunton and let us know that
in Litchfield County CT, over 100,000 people were without power and
that they activated the CT ARES Emergency Phone net on 3965 KHz which
is on the 75 Meter HF band. We responded by checking into the net,
inquiring information from the net out of Western Hartford County
CT and then assisted with weather logistical information from NWS
Taunton to the net. Contact was made with the CT ARES Net Controls
and also with CT State ARES Section Emergency Coordinator, Allen
Pitts, W1AGP to provide weather info to the affected areas. A report
of trees and wires down from icing in Bristol, CT was obtained
from this net.
Roger Jeanfaivre, K1PAI, liaisoned with NWS Albany during this
operation. Through the IRLP link system, Ray Weber was in contact
with Dana, KB1AEV, who was operating the repeater from the
Torrington CT Repeater by being right at the site. Lightning with
"thundersleet" affected the area per Dana's report and the
thundersleet was tracked on NWS Taunton radar out of the area and
other enhanced areas of precipitation monitored for lightning. The
big concern for the region was that strong winds would occur before
appreciable melting of ice would occur causing more power outages
on Monday. Luckily, this did not happen except for one major
trunk power line that went down on Monday but people were rerouted
successfully with only a short disruption of power. Reports from the
affected area revealed mostly rain with pockets of freezing rain and
sleet so no significant additional icing occurred. This was the
first time HF was used in a SKYWARN Activation and it was tremendously
Across Worcester County Massachusetts, icing still continued in this
area with a large tree down on wires and 1/2" radial icing still
reported in Holden, Massachusetts with a power outage. In Liecester,
Mass, most of the town was without power with large branches up to
1 foot in diameter knocked down from the icing. Reports were obtained
via the 146.97-Paxton Repeater and the 146.925 Repeater. Special thanks
to PJ-N1PJ for doing another ride around town to view damage and icing
reports as well as to the other spotters who checked in on frequency.
Michael Baril, N1PSE, did a tour of the region on Monday and found
icing of 1" in Paxton, Mass and the town there was without power for
3 days. The wind from the next day did complicate matters in Worcester
County with a brief spike in power outages to near the same level that
was seen on Sunday Morning.
The Sunday Evening SKYWARN activation was secured at 11 PM as
widespread significant icing was not expected overnight. SPECIAL
THANKS to all SKYWARN Coordinators, ARES Operators in CT who worked
through the weekend into the early work week, and all SKYWARN Spotters
that gave reports during this event. It was a long duration event
where the most significant impact was felt in higher elevations of
Worcester County, Mass, across Southwest Hampden and Western Hartford
Counties in CT and hardest felt across Litchfield County CT. Luckily,
major metropolitan areas stayed just warm enough to avoid the
significant icing seen in rural towns and th higher elevations or
this event could have been far worse for the region.
Below is the report that Mike Baril put out on this event and a couple
of SKYWARN Net logs received from the Waltham Net:
I've been listening for the past 2 days to Paxton DPW (also Paxton
Light & Power) and they've had just about every tree down in town.?.
I just got back from spending about 3 hours driving through
Paxton, Rutland, Holden.
As I drove North up Rt 122 from Worcester into Paxton, passing the
Worcester Airport entrance on my left, things went from snow on the
ground to heaving icing everywhere. As I got to the intersection of
Rt 56 & Rt 122, I checked out the icing - about 1/2" of icing. As
I drove up into the highest elevations in Paxton & Rutland I observed
trees with over 1" of icing. Mt Asnebumskit summit had about 1.5"
Driving through Paxton looks like a war zone - seriously. I've never
seen it that bad. There are so many trees down, wires down everywhere,
trees hanging over the road very low; just waiting to break and fall. It was
Totally amazing to see such ice damage everywhere.
Currently now, the entire town is without power due the 2 large (over
2' in diameter) have fallen and knocked out the feeder wires that
feed the town's distribution point. They have, I guess declared a
local state of emergency, as they have 15 bucket & tree truck come
in mutual-aid to assist with the major damage. They contacted MEMA
for these resources. Mutual-aid is MA Electric's buckets trucks,
Littleton Power & Light, Boylston Light Dept and private tree
Huge trees/wires down areas (Paxton):
* Pleasant St (Rt 122)
* Reservoir Rd (Rt 56)
* Birchwood Rd
* Maple St
* Holden Rd (Rt 31)
* Major tree/wire damage on West St (Rt 31)
* Indian Hill Rd
* Marshall St
* Asnebumskit Rd
They have their Paxton Center School opened up right now as town
shelter for those who can't stay at home w/ no power. Fire, police
and DPW have been patrolling the streets since yesterday morning and
Well, hope this helps.. Just thought I'd share my thoughts &
Mike Baril N1PSE
Central MA Public Safety
Waltham SKYWARN Net Report:
64 KD1CY/WX1BOX already on 64
11/16/2 7:59PM ka1kcu 30F 1/4" frz snow n.sudbury, lt.r atm
11/16/2 8:00PM n1vux mid dorcester lt.r
11/16/2 8:01PM kc1fc hingham 40.3F 0.2" in guage, heavy misting,
wind NE. est 15-20
11/16/2 8:03PM kb1fba w.rox 39F lt.r
11/16/2 8:03PM ka1kcu lt.ZR now on cleared surface . N.Sudbury.
no radial yet, but starting.
11/16/2 8:09PM [NWS copied]
11/16/2 8:09PM -> 23/EM2MN
11/16/2 8:12PM n1lrt R @ Boston Charles R Park; Phone. Newbp/Glos
11/16/2 8:13PM wa1zkh so boston lt.ZR
11/16/2 8:14PM w1hai ZR natick 33F
11/16/2 8:14PM n1vsj littleton 29F IP 0.5" on ground
11/16/2 8:17PM n1adf medford lt.R 33F
11/16/2 8:17PM kb1hki stoughton 37F mixed R
11/16/2 8:25PM -> 64
11/16/2 8:25PM @8:05ish k1kec/m haystack obs
@Groton/Westford/Tyngsboro; 0.5" on grass; 0.05mm/hr,
24G7; -3C -4Cdp. S/R mix.
11/16/2 8:30PM passed.
11/16/2 8:30PM corr 0.05mm/h k1kec
11/16/2 8:35PM broken id
11/16/2 8:37PM ka8scp linked. westford. just N of Haystack. 29.7F N.
Mixed ZR/IP 0.75" S on gr. passed
11/16/2 8:41PM ka8scp R.Guage froze.
11/16/2 8:42PM kb1fba w.rox. unchanged -- still reading 39F,
up 0.5F, still lt R.
11/16/2 8:44PM kb1fqg maynard ??mixed/switching IP/ZR, mooshy
coating on roads. 0.25-0.5 mix on grass.
11/16/2 8:52PM k1kec/m brookline NH (Hillsbo/nr Pepperell/Townsend)
-- ZR atm, 0.75" on grass. N.
11/16/2 8:55PM passed
11/16/2 8:55PM n1xji tewksbury Rain or IP ... heard IP at 7pm.
can't tell P-type well.
11/16/2 8:57PM kb1ibg R; 44F. somerville.
11/16/2 8:58PM n1hwa Danvers R 38.3F up (low 34F S/R at 3pm)
11/16/2 9:00PM ka1kcu N.Sudbury 30F R some ZR lt cting tree br.
11/16/2 9:10PM passed
11/16/2 9:10PM n1fcr waltham lt.R incr? 32F .
11/16/2 9:19PM Spotter line says 0.75 ice in Billerica. Refute?
11/16/2 10:00PM Updated statement from NWS ...
11/16/2 10:04PM k1qz/m 35F mobile , R waltham 128 (Steve)
11/16/2 10:06PM kb1fba w.rox; R Lt/Mod. up 40.6F.
11/16/2 10:07PM n1fcr R 33F up S.Waltham by river
11/16/2 10:08PM k1qz Rt2 W. 32F dropping heading west
11/16/2 10:09PM kb1ibg R sommerville. 45Fup (?)
11/16/2 10:09PM n1xji Lt.R might be icing ,tewks hosp
11/16/2 10:10PM w1gmf 43.7F R Abington
11/16/2 10:23PM passed
11/16/2 10:23PM k1qz/m rt2 not quite 495 IP+ZR. RT2@27. 31F Steady.
will switch to Templteton past 495, enroute Gardner.
11/16/2 10:26PM passed
11/16/2 10:27PM passed NCS to KD1CY & QRT N1VUX
11/17/2 11:05AM sudbury ka1kcu 0.125" ice on branches. 2" branches down,
numerous. power out 3am - 8am wind is knocking ice off.
Monitored, never got more than 1/8, decreasing?
11/17/2 11:06AM kb1bg Q.
11/17/2 11:29AM k1oiq/m 35 road, 39 side of vehcile
wet roads. Rt 2 x41 Entering Boxboro. Came down from Nashu.
11/17/2 11:31AM n1vsj/m Rt2 Acton 35F 1/8" radial icing. R. back roads
slush. did drivearound littleton, only ver minor street
flooding, no damage.
11/17/2 11:42AM Read latest WSW Message.
11/17/2 11:45AM WC1A/m dreary and r. trains.
11/17/2 11:57AM wa1gep/m ht boston. trains.
11/17/2 12:03PM ka1kcu sudbury found some 1" branches with 1/4"
ice remaining, that had fallen from height. 0:10 ago. passed
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)
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