CANWARN New Brunswick activated for blizzard

Submitted by admin on Fri, 2015/02/20 - 08:00

At the request of the Environment Canada's Atlantic Storm Prediction Centre (ASPC), CANWARN New Brunswick was activated on Sunday, February 15, 2015.

Blizzard warnings, Storm Surge warnings and Winter Storm watches had been issued for all parts of the Province, and snow began in western regions late on Saturday night and intensified with strong winds through the day, creating white-out conditions and heavy blowing, drifting snow which continued into the night and during Monday in eastern regions.

Using the International Repeater Group (IRG) linked repeater system, CANWARN nets were held hourly from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm on Sunday, and radio amateurs from around New Brunswick participated.   Over 140 condition reports were forwarded to the ASPC over the course of the net, including reports gathered on the daily IRG Weather Net.

Taking shifts as net controllers were Rick MacMillan (VE9MTB), Stephen Moore (VE1BCL) and Al Thurber (VE1RG).  Net manager Sterling Carpenter (VE9SK) thanked everyone for participating, and noted that Environment Canada passed along their appreciation for the valuable data.

"We really owe a lot of thanks to the amateurs who provide this on-the-spot information, it helps ASPC "ground-proof" weather conditions, and fills in the gaps of their automated observation system," said Carpenter.

He noted that it shows the best side of amateur radio in service to the public.  "Many of the participants braved the elements several times during the day to gather real-time information and it all helps ensure that accurate weather warnings are passed along to the public."

CANWARN (CANadian Weather Amateur Radio Network) is a network of volunteer amateur radio operators who observe and report both winter and summer severe weather conditions. Reports are passed on via amateur radio to a net controller to the Environment Canada Atlantic Storm Prediction Centre (ASPC) in Dartmouth. This information is then passed directly to the forecasters for incorporation into the forecast.  CANWARN New Brunswick was formed in January 1994, and operates using the call sign VE9WZF. 

The International Repeater Group was formed in 1974.  With support of its members, Environment Canada, N.B. Departments of Public Safety, Transportation and Infrastructure and the Emergency Measures Organization, the IRG now operates on a modern digital microwave linked system of twenty-five repeaters covering all of New Brunswick and providing linking to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and coverage to parts of Maine and Québec.