Severe Weather Outbreak Report for Friday May 31st, 2002
by: Robert Macedo, ARES SKYWARN Coordinator for NWS Taunton
This Severe Weather Outbreak will be known for having history repeat itself.
Exactly 4 years ago to the same day, the most widespread severe weather outbreak
to grip the region over the last several years occurred on May 31st, 1998. While
this outbreak was not in the caliber of its predecessor 4 years ago in the NWS
Taunton County Warning Area, the event will be known for its widespread nature
and for spreading significant wind damage and hail across the region.
This outbreak was well forecasted by local weather forecast offices and the
Storm Prediction Center which highlighted the region in a Slight Risk for
Severe Weather three days out and cited the possibility for an upgrade to
moderate risk in later outlooks. This allowed for several days preparation for
spotters and coordinators to be prepared for this outbreak.
On Friday May 31st, the activity started in the NWS Taunton County Warning Area
with a Severe Thunderstorm Watch posted for the region until 8 PM. The NWS Taunton
ham station was manned by Carl Aveni-N1FY, Phil Mclaughlin-KB1CYO, and myself. For
the first time ever, a IRLP link was used between the 147.105 Wilbraham Repeater
and the 145.39 Scituate, Mass. Repeater through the efforts of Western Mass. SKYWARN
Coordinator, Ray Weber, KA1JJM, Scituate, Mass. Repeater owner Bob Callahan, W1QWT
and his control operator, Steve Johnson, KC1HO. Contact was maintained with MEMA
Framingham and Tom Kinahan, N1CPE, the Massachusetts State RACES Radio Officer via
the 53.31 Mount Wachusett 6 Meter Repeater.
Severe Thunderstorms made their way into Southern New Hampshire, Northwest Massachusetts
and Western Connecticut first with Severe Thunderstorm Warnings posted in Cheshire and
Hillsborough counties of New Hampshire and later in Litchfield County, CT and Franklin
SKYWARN was active in New Hampshire with Bruce Bohannon-WA1YZN and Marc Slater-KB1DFE
both on frequency using the 443.350 Pack Monadnock Repeater. After a period of inactivity reports came streaming in with numerous reports of trees and wires down in Walpole, Gilsum, Alstead and Sullivan, NH between 4 and 4:15 PM. At the same time, a powerful severe thunderstorm moved across New Hartford, and Canaan, CT. Dime Sized Hail was reported in Canaan, CT at 4:10 PM and Quarter Sized Hail fell in New Hartford, CT at 4:15 PM. As the storms moved through Hartford County CT and into Eastern Cheshire and Hillsborough Counties, repors of Pea Sized Hail were received in Jaffrey, NH at 4:33 PM, West Hartford and Simsbury, CT at 4:35 PM and Manchester, CT at 4:45 PM. As the storms went through Tolland County
Connecticut in the town of Ellington, large branches were blown down on Route 83 with
Quarter Sized Hail reported as well. The time of these reports were estimated at 4:45 PM
per a spotter that later reported this via email. SKYWARN was active across Connecticut
through the efforts of Dixie, KD1UK, for Litchfield County CT on the 145.37 Torrington, CT Repeater. This repeater utilized a 440 Mhz Repeater link into Vernon, CT which allowed of timely upstream reporting from Litchfield County CT into the NWS Taunton County Warning Area.
Roger Jeanfaivre, K1PAI, Jim McBride, KD1LD, and Harvey Broverman, K1PZS were active with
SKYWARN on the 147.000 and 147.225 Soapstone and Killingly CT Repeaters. Also active was Bernie Dubb, KB1DGY, who assisted with gather information on both repeaters and worked with John Buco, N1EGS from Rhode Island SKYWARN as activity moved through the area.
As the storms moved in Franklin County, at 4:45 PM through the IRLP link, Ray Weber,
KA1JJM, reported Wires Down in Bernardston, Mass. As the storms made there way into
Hampshire County, numerous reports of Larger trees and wires down were reported in
Northampton, Mass., Hadley Mass. Hatfield, Mass. and Easthampton Mass. in a timeframe
from 5:00-5:45 PM. A 52 MPH measured wind gust was reported out of Northampton, Mass.
as well. Wires were also reported down in Springfield, MA with trees reported down
on the 'northern finger' of Holyoke, Mass. that borders Northampton at 6:10 PM. Damage was
widespread and significant in the Hampshire County area including a couple of
large trees down on houses. Tom Kinahan, N1CPE, and the MEMA Framingham dispatchers at the
request of NWS Taunton also found numerous other reports of trees and wires down in Plainfield
and Worthington, Mass. at 4:45 PM, Huntington, MA at 4:55 PM and Pelham, Mass. at 5:25 PM. These reports were relayed using the 53.31 Mount Wachusett 6 Meter Repeater. The damage across Hampshire County was significant enough to be a cover story on the Hampshire Daily Gazette which is the newspaper in the Northampton area. SKYWARN was active on the 146.985-Greenfield and 146.940 Mount Tom Repeaters in Western Mass. SKYWARN was also active in Worcester County through the efforts of Tom Pratt-N1KKY through the Worcester-Templeton Linked Repeater system utilizing the 145.37-Templeton and 146.925-Worcester Repeaters.
Across Southern New Hampshire in Hillsborough County, and extreme Northern Worcester
and Northern Middlesex Counties of Massachusetts, more reports of hail and wind damage were received. In Manchester, NH at 4:50 PM, large branches were down with a couple of small trees down in neighboring Hooksett, NH. At 5:10 PM, N1JDK, Steve, reported Dime Sized Hail in Bedford, NH, Large trees and power poles were blown down in Milford, NH at 5:30 PM and in Nashua NH wires were blown down at 5:35 PM. In Winchendon, Mass at 5:35 PM, trees were blown down from severe thunderstorms that went through that area and these set of storms resulted in more trees and wires down on Elm Street in Townsend, Mass at 5:58 PM per KB1FXP-Ray Dean who roamed much of the Northeast Worcester and Northwest Middlesex County corridor. The Winchendon
Mass report was completed through a relay from MEMA Framingham dispatchers and Tom-N1CPE operating at the bunker and utilizing the 53.31 Mount Wachusett Repeater.
In Litchfield, NH, Large branches and wires were blown down at 5:35 PM. In Jaffrey, NH, Small branches were blown down with 1/4-1/2" hail at 5:35 PM and in Wilton, NH at 5:45 PM, large trees were blown down. Trees and wires were also blown down in Merimmac, NH at 5:50 PM. All
reports were received through the 443.350 Pack Monadnock Repeater. This activity in Hillsborough County, NH eventually moved through Extreme Northern Essex County where WA1ESU-Joe at Newburyport Emergency Management reported trees and wires down in Amesbury and Salisbury Mass. at 6:05 PM. Pea Sized Hail was also reported in this activity as it went through the same area. The report from Newburyport Emergency Management was received via
the 53.31 Mount Wachusett Repeater.
Across Connecticut, activity increased in this area with a second set of Severe
Thunderstorms that went through the area. In New Hartford, CT at 5:55 PM, Golf Ball
Sized Hail was reported via the Torrington-Vernon, CT linked repeater system. As
the storms made their way into Northern Hartford County, Pea Sized Hail was reported
in Windsor Locks, CT at 5:59 PM with trees blown down in Windsor, CT at the same time of
5:59 PM. In East Windsor, CT, Pea Sized Hail fell with Dine Sized Hail reported in West
Hartford and Vernon CT at 6:15 PM and Pea Sized Hail repored in Tolland and Broad Brook, CT
at 6:20 and 6:45 PM respectively. All reports were forwarded from Roger-K1PAI and Harv-K1PZS
via the IRLP link between the 147.105 Wilbraham, Mass. Repeater and the 145.39 Scituate,
Mass. Repeater. In Ashford, CT at 6:30 PM, trees and wires were reported down per a report received from John-N1EGS through Bernie KB1DGY.
Across Northern Worcester County, more activity went through the area but it remained sub-severe with pea sized hail reported in Gardner, Mass. at 6:58 PM and Pea Sized Hail reported
in Ashburnham, Mass. at 7:05 PM. Reports were given through the Worcester County SKYWARN
Net on the 146.925-145.37 linked repeater system where Tom-N1KKY was continuing to run the
net on that frequency.
Rhode Island SKYWARN was active through the efforts of Martin-N1JMA and John-N1EGS. Storms
weakened as they moved through Providence and Kent Counties in Rhode Island but Pea Sized
hail was reported in West Coventry, RI at 8:18 PM and lasted less than one minute.
Follow-up damage reports were received through the work of Tom Kinahan, N1CPE, and the
MEMA Framingham dispatchers as Numerous trees and wires were reported down in Berkshire
County in Beckett, Lanesboro, Lenox, otis, Egermont, Alford, Stockbridge, and Cheshire Mass
along with Ashfield and Conway, Mass. in Franklin County Mass. around 6:30 PM. Reports
were forwarded by Tom over the 53.31 Mount Wachusett Repeater.
The SKYWARN Activation was secured at approximately 9:30 PM. All wind damage noted
was from microburst and straight line wind activity and no tornadoes were reported. A
HEARTY thank you to all of the SKYWARN Coordinators, Net Controls, and Spotters who
gave their time and reported the reportable and severe critieria weather to NWS Taunton.
Special thanks also to the MEMA Framingham dispatchers and Tom Kinahan-N1CPE for digging
up further reports of wind damage from the region.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org