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RAC Event: “Beyond CanWarn” Q&A Event – Wednesday, June 28

Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC), the national association for Amateur Radio in Canada, is pleased to present two upcoming “Beyond CanWarn” Weather Spotter Workshops for Amateurs and non-Amateurs. In addition, a special “Beyond CanWarn” Q&A Live Event will also be held to close off this year’s training session.

Severe storms can occur  at any time of the year. Spring and summer thunderstorms can flare up suddenly and race along at speeds in excess of 80 km/h. Large hail, damaging winds, flash floods and tornadoes are all linked to severe thunderstorms. Large-scale fall and winter storms can deliver significant impacts over a broad area. Heavy snow, freezing rain, rain and strong winds can occur with these storms.

Volunteers are trained to look for clues in the sky as to which spring and summer storms may produce damaging weather. They can also report information like hail size and any damage that has resulted from the passage of a storm.

For fall and winter storms, volunteers can report things like occurrences of freezing precipitation and snowfall amounts.

These volunteers come from all walks of life: Amateur Radio operators, first responders, government employees and members of the general public with an interest in providing a service to others.

Reports are passed on via Amateur Radio to a network controller who triages the reports and sends the significant ones on to the forecasters of the Ontario Storm Prediction Center in Toronto.

In Ontario, their reports are sent to the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre (OSPC) in Toronto through social media and/or a special email address. These timely reports can help the forecasters better understand the nature of a given storm and help to tailor the messages they send to the public about them.

“Ground-truthing”

The Canadian Weather Amateur Radio Network (CANWARN) is a volunteer organization, of Amateur Radio operators, who report severe weather when they see it to Environment and Climate Change Canada. What they do is called “ground-truthing”.

They confirm on the ground what satellites and radars see in the atmosphere. When Environment and Climate Change Canada’s weather centres issue severe weather watches or warnings, they alert the CANWARN volunteers at the organization’s regional stations in the affected areas.

The volunteers contact other CANWARN members to inform them a watch or warning has been issued and ask them to report signs of approaching severe weather. These include lightning, hail, cumulonimbus clouds or as they are known in the trade CB’s, and funnel clouds, which if they touch down are then called tornadoes.

Q&A Live Event: June 28

In this special online live, zoom event, Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist, and Jason Tremblay, RAC Community Services Officer, will discuss a number of topics including:

  • the current climate crisis
  • El Niño effects for this year
  • the adaptation of CanWarn and Beyond CanWarn training programs

Following the presentation there will be a Question and Answer session with the participants.

Date: Wednesday, June 28

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Cost: There is no fee for this event.

Registration: Please see the information provided below.

Registration Information for Q&A Event

Q&A Live Event:

Date: Wednesday, June 28

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Beyond CanWarn logo

About the Presenters:

Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist:

Geoff Coulson is a Meteorologist with 37 years experience including 35 years with Environment Canada as an Operational Forecaster, Trainer, Outreach Officer and Warning Preparedness Meteorologist (WPM).

As a Meteorologist, he provided a variety of clients with weather information from media to other levels of government and the private sector. He managed the CanWarn Storm Spotter Program in Ontario and was a member of the Provincial Flood and Forecasting Committee for several years.

Since his retirement, Geoff has continued to provide weather presentations and has returned to Environment Canada on a part-time basis to help with specific projects. Recently, he began to learn to play the digital piano. His wife is very happy the digital piano has a headphone jack.

Jason Tremblay, VE3JXT, RAC Community Services Officer:

Jason Tremblay, VE3JXT, has served as RAC Community Services Officer since January 1, 2020. He received his Amateur Radio certification in 2014 and served as the Emergency Coordinator for the Barrie and South Simcoe ARES team for three years and as the District Emergency Coordinator for the Lakes District in Ontario for two years.

Jason’s focus has been on promoting and educating his local communities about Amateur Radio and the benefits of the service in our community. He previously served as the Director of Community Services for the Barrie Amateur Radio Club and served as its Vice-President and worked with the public and community groups and other organizations for public and educational events.

Jason’s background is in Emergency Services and Security. He previously volunteered with St John Ambulance and with the Red Cross as an Instructor and a member of Disaster Services, where he “learned about working with others and the critical need for great support and defined training systems”.

YORK CIFAL logo horizontal

CIFAL York is part of UNITAR’s global network of training centers for knowledge-sharing, training and capacity-building for leaders, local authorities and civil society. Established in 2020 as a partnership between UNITAR, York University and York Region, CIFAL York started its operation in June 2021 as the first CIFAL Centre in Canada.

RAC 30th Anniversary logoCIFAL York envisions a more sustainable, inclusive and equitable world, empowering communities to overcome global challenges, while integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals for shaping a better future. CIFAL York is dedicated to serve as a hub for knowledge exchange and capacity building among government officials, the private sector, academia and civil society.

CIFAL York works towards a global outreach and positive change through bridging gaps and facilitating a range of inspirational training and research opportunities across five focus areas which are: Disaster Risk, Emergency Management and Humanitarian Actions; Health Development, Environment and Climate Change; Entrepreneurship, Digital Technology and Economic Development; Equity, Diversity and inclusion; and advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. For more information please visit: https://www.yorku.ca/cifal/

Auxiliary Communications (AuxComm) covers a wide range of Amateur Radio techniques and systems that could potentially be used during an emergency or disaster situation. The new RAC Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) recognizes that disaster response management and telecommunication standards are mandated by Canadian federal, provincial, and territorial legislation and regulations and by international agreements.

While the focus of non-government organizations will continue to be disaster relief operations, the role of the new RAC Auxiliary Communications Service will be to provide certified communications operators to supplement communications for local emergency management groups and non-government organizations and provide backup radio operators when required. ASC teams are in essence an integrated unpaid member of the sponsoring agency.

Beyond CanWarn logo

 

Zoom video iconHow to Participate in the Event:

Zoom information:

Zoom link: https://adric-ca.zoom.us/j/67694945840

Meeting ID: 676 9494 5840

Passcode: 237808

One tap mobile:

+14388097799,,64062120205# Canada

+15873281099,,64062120205# Canada

Dial by your location:

  • +1 438 809 7799 Canada
  • +1 587 328 1099 Canada
  • +1 613 209 3054 Canada
  • +1 647 374 4685 Canada
  • +1 647 558 0588 Canada
  • +1 778 907 2071 Canada
  • +1 204 272 7920 Canada

Find your local number: https://adric-ca.zoom.us/u/gcbHiTCPEp

Below are some links that describe how to use Zoom and how to join a meeting like the “Beyond Canwarn” event.

Background Information about CanWarn

CanWarn Nets

CanWarn nets operate under three (probably self-evident) states of alert.

Condition Green: Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect.

This is the basic state when the net is in operation and taking various weather reports from spotters. The frequency is available for regular traffic but conversations should be kept brief so the Net Controller or spotters can break in if new information becomes available. This is the time to ask “silly” questions.

Condition Yellow: Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Tornado Watch in effect.

This is an alerted state of the net with the NCS only requesting and receiving specific reports from certain spotters such as Hail larger than marble sized; damaging winds; wall clouds; funnel clouds or any other unusual weather events. The frequency is under Net Control.

Condition Red: Tornado Warning in effect.

This is the highest state of alert, usually prompted by confirmed sightings of active wall clouds or funnels. No general radio traffic is allowed on the frequency under condition Red. Only reports of wall clouds, funnel clouds, or tornadoes are accepted by net control.

Resources

National Weather Service Spotter Guide:

https://www.weather.gov/media/bis/Weather_Spotter_Field_Guide.pdf

National Weather Service Spotter Glossary:

https://www.weather.gov/oun/spotterglossary

Environment Canada Lightning Safety:

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/lightning/safety.html

WeatherCAN App:

Environment Canada launched a weather app called WeatherCAN available for both Apple and Android devices. This app represents the most direct way to receive their various severe weather watches and warnings.

The app can be found in the app store on your Apple or Android device.

More information on the app can be found at:

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/weather-general-tools-resources/weathercan.html

Links

Previous Information

Weather Spotter Workshops: May 18 and June 14

The Weather Spotter Workshops events will be hosted by RAC Community Services Officer Jason Tremblay, VE3JXT, and will once again feature special guest Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Geoff Coulson as described below.

Both events will be held online via Zoom and are identical so you can just pick the one that works best for you. Please see the Registration section below for more information. They are available to everyone: Amateurs and non-Amateurs.

In these special events, Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist, will discuss topics including the basics of thunderstorm formation, the types of damage severe thunderstorms can produce and what to look for in the sky. Winter severe weather will be touched on as well.

Safety tips for you and your family and how to report weather to Environment and Climate Change Canada will be covered in these training sessions.

The training also provides ways that storm reports can be provided to Environment and Climate Change Canada and several safety tips to keep storm spotters safe.

Dates: Thursday, May 18 and Wednesday, June 14

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Cost: There is no fee for this event.

Registration: Please see the information provided below.

Q&A Live Event: June 28

In this special online live, zoom event, Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist, and Jason Tremblay, RAC Community Services Officer, will discuss a number of topics including:

  • the current climate crisis
  • El Niño effects for this year
  • the adaptation of CanWarn and Beyond CanWarn training programs

Following the presentation there will be a Question and Answer session with the participants.

Date: Wednesday, June 28

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Cost: There is no fee for this event.

Registration: Please see the information provided below.

Registration Information for Workshops and Q&A Event

May Workshop:

Date: Thursday, May 18

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

 

June Workshop:

Date: Wednesday, June 14

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 

Q&A Live Event:

Date: Wednesday, June 28

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada)